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Bumstead bill corrects oversight in worker compensation law

LANSING, Mich. — Part-time police officers and volunteer firefighters would receive expanded worker’s compensation benefits under a bill introduced by Sen. Jon Bumstead on Wednesday.

“Police officers and firefighters in our communities face the same challenges and dangers on the job, regardless of whether they work full-time, part-time or volunteer,” said Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “It does not make sense that these brave individuals who work part-time or volunteer be treated differently for simply not being full-time public servants. They put their lives on the line for our safety just the same, and they should be given the same workers’ compensation presumptions as their full-time colleagues.”

The bill addresses an oversight in the existing law that currently covers full-time police and firefighters who are granted a presumption that respiratory illness or heart disease arose during their employment, to also include part-time and voluntary members of police and fire departments. The presumption places the burden of proof on a workers’ compensation insurance company to show the disease did not arise out of a person’s service.

Bumstead noted the same law was amended last year, but a legislative oversight left part-time and voluntary first responders on the outside looking in.

“In addition to ensuring our part-time and volunteer first responders are covered by this presumption under the workers’ compensation law, my bill will also help our police and fire departments to both recruit and retain men and women to serve in our communities, which we desperately need,” Bumstead said.

Senate Bill 877 was referred to the Senate Insurance and Banking Committee for consideration.

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