General Assembly Update – Crossover Edition
February 7, 2023 marked an important date in the Virginia legislative calendar known as Crossover. That is the date by which bills that originated in one chamber of the General Assembly must “crossover” to the other chamber if those bills are to continue in the current legislative session. Bills that fail to cross over by that date may not be considered further under the rules set by the General Assembly.
As a result of the 2022 elections, Virginia continues to experience divided political control of government. The Republican Party holds control of the Governor’s Mansion and a majority of the House of Delegates (52-48) with the Democratic Party continuing to retain the Senate (21-19). This means that bills that pass through one chamber easily may meet resistance in the other.
Bills That Crossed Over But Have Not Yet Passed – These bills remain in consideration by the General Assembly.
HB 1408: Presumption of Compensability for Bladder and Thyroid Cancers – Would expand the presumption of compensability of certain cancers for certain employees to include bladder and thyroid cancer. (2/02/2023 Passed House 100-Y 0-N) (2/03/023 Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor)(02/13/2023 Reported from Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor 14-Y 0-N)(02/13/2023 Referred to Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations).
HB 1410: Presumption for Arson and Hazardous Materials Investigators – Expands presumptions of compensability for certain cancers to cover arson, bomb, and hazardous materials investigators. (02/02/2023 Passed House 100-Y 0-N) (02/03/2023 Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor) (02/13/2023 Reported from Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor 14-Y 0-N)(02/13/2023 Referred to Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations).
HB 1775: Anxiety Disorder or Depressive Disorder Incurred by Law-Enforcement Officers – Would provide that anxiety or depressive disorders incurred by law-enforcement officers or firefighters would be compensable under the same basis as post-traumatic stress disorder. (02/02/2023 Passed House 100-Y 0-N) (02/03/2023 Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor) (02/13/2023 Substitute bill Reported from Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor 14-Y 0-N)(02/13/2023 Referred to Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations).
HB 2418: Group Self-Insurance Associations – Would allow two or more workers’ compensation group self-insurance associations to merge as long as the resulting group self-insurance association assumes in full all obligations of the merged group self-insurance associations. (02/06/2023 Passed House 100-Y 0-N) (02/07/2023 Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor)(02/13/2023 Reported from Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor 15-Y 0-N).
SB 904: PTSD, Anxiety Disorder, Depressive Disorder – Anxiety or depressive disorders incurred by law-enforcement officers or firefighters compensable under the same basis as PTSD. Would also require employers of law-enforcement officers to provide resilience and self-care training. (1/30/2023 Passed Senate 39-Y 0-N) (02/09/2023 Referred to House Committee on Commerce and Energy).
SB 1038: Presumption for Arson and Hazardous Materials Investigators – Expands presumptions of compensability for certain cancers to cover arson or bomb investigators and hazardous materials investigators. (02/03/2023 Passed Senate 38-Y 0-N) (02/10/2023 Referred to House Committee on Commerce and Energy).
SB 1088: PTSD Incurred by Dispatchers – Allows dispatchers to claim benefits relating to post-traumatic stress disorder, in addition to law-enforcement officers and firefighters. (02/06/2023 Passed Senate 33-Y 6-N) (02/08/2023 Referred to House Committee on Commerce and Energy).
Bills that Did Not Cross Over – These bills are for all intents and purposes defeated for this legislative session, though it is not uncommon to see unsuccessful legislation revived in the next legislative session.
HB 1631: PSTD Incurred by Dispatchers – Would have expanded benefits relating to post-traumatic stress disorder to include dispatchers in addition to law-enforcement officer and firefighters. (02/01/2023 House Subcommittee recommended laying n the table 4-Y 3-N) (02/07/2023 House left in Appropriations).
HB 1905: Presumption for Law-Enforcement Officers with Back, Hip, Knee, etc. – Would have created a presumption of compensability for back, hip, knee, or neck injuries sustained by law-enforcement officers who have to wear a duty belt. (1/26/2023 House Subcommittee recommended laying on the table 10-Y 0-N) (02/07/2023 House left in Commerce and Energy).
HB 1966: Failure to Timely Pay Compensation – Would have expanded the current 20% late payment penalty to include $100 for the first subsequent instance of failure to pay to $500 for the fifth. (01/10/23 Referred to House Committee on Commerce and Energy) (01/26/2023 Stricken from Docket by Commerce and Energy 22-Y 0-N).
HB 2002: Premium Discounts for Employers – Would provide premium discounts of up to 5% to every employer certified by the Department of Education as a high-quality work-based learning employer. (1/10/2023 Referred to House Committee on Commerce and Energy) (1/26/2023 Stricken from Docket by Commerce and Energy 22-Y 0-N).
HB 2322: PTSD Incurred by Law-Enforcement Officers – Would expand post-traumatic stress disorder presumptions to include correctional officers and dispatchers and provide that an anxiety or depressive disorder is compensable on the same basis as PTSD. (1/12/2023 Referred to House Committee on Commerce and Energy) (1/19/2023 Tabled in Commerce and Energy 21-Y 0-N).
Thus far in the legislative session, proposed legislation has largely focused on expanding presumptions for law-enforcement officers, as well as extending presumptions to cover dispatchers, correctional officers, and arson, bomb and hazardous materials investigators. These proposed bills have, for the most part, easily passed their respective chambers with little resistance.
There are three sets of companion bills currently making their way through the House and Senate. HB 1410 and SB 1038 are essentially carbon copies of each other and will expand presumption coverage to include arson, bomb, and hazardous materials investigators. These bills have flown through their respective chambers with HB 1410 passing the House 100-0 and SB 1038 passing the Senate 38-0. As such, we would expect a version of these bills enacted by the end of the session.
HB 1775 and SB 904 are also substantially similar and both bills propose that anxiety and depressive disorders, as defined by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association, become compensable under the same standard as post-traumatic stress disorder. SB 904 adds a requirement that employers offer resilience and self-care training. Both bills appear to be extremely popular with HB 1775 passing the House 100-0 and SB 904 passing the Senate 39-0. Accordingly, we would expect to see a version of these enacted by the end of the session, if something does not change quickly. These seem to be the bills with the most potential to have long term negative effect for employers.
Finally, SB 1088, HB 1631, and HB 2322 all looked to add correctional officers and dispatchers to the category of employees eligible for post-traumatic stress disorder presumptions. Whereas SB 1088 passed the Senate 33-6, both HB 1631 and HB 2322 failed to make it out of House Subcommittees. Accordingly, we would not expect to see an expansion of PTSD presumptions to correctional officers or dispatchers during this legislative session.
The General Assembly’s regular session is limited to 30 days in odd-numbered years under Article VI of the Virginia State Constitution. Day 30 of this year’s session, sine die adjournment, is on February 25, 2023. Once the General Assembly’s session has concluded, we will provide additional updates.
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