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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: July 16, 2019 09:53 AM
From: Representative Timothy J. O'Neal
To: All House members
Subject: Worker’s Compensation (WC) Act – Fire/Emergency Organizations
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to amend the Workers’ Compensation (WC) Act to clarify coverage requirements for members of volunteer fire companies and other emergency services organizations.

The WC Act provides coverage for “members” of volunteer emergency service organizations when they are injured while engaged in specified activities. In many fire companies and other organizations, membership is not limited to active duty emergency responders. These “participating members” are integral to the operation of the organization – i.e. the people who donate so much of their time and talent to maintain equipment, maintain the organization’s finances, organize fundraisers – even though they do not actively respond to emergency calls. Just like the emergency responders, these volunteers perform services and raise money that local residents would otherwise have to fund through tax dollars.

Unfortunately, when one of these participating members is injured performing services for a fire company or other emergency response organization, their claims for workers compensation are often initially denied, because they are not active duty emergency responders – even if they may be entitled to coverage under the letter of the law. My legislation will clarify the WC Act to ensure that the law clearly defines those dedicated members of volunteer emergency response organizations who are entitled to WC benefits.

I hope you will join me as a cosponsor.

(NOTE: The legislation is based on SB 94, sponsored by Sens. Martin and Phillips-Hill). Please consider sponsoring this important piece of legislation.