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Proposed Workers’ Compensation Coronavirus/COVID Legislation Stalled in Committee

By: Mark Barnes

mbarnes@bugbeelawyers.com

Shortly after the inception of the pandemic, Ohio state lawmakers got to work proposing legislation to cover coronavirus in the workplace.  House Bills 571, 573, 605, 633, 667, and 668 propose amendments to the occupational disease provision of the workers’ compensation statute (4123.68) to include COVID-19 as a scheduled disease for first responders, essential workers, health care workers, grocery store and food processing workers, and corrections officer.  Under the amendments, COVID-19 would be presumed compensable unless there is affirmative evidence to the contrary.

Ohio lawmakers proposed these bills in March, April, and May, 2020, around the time the COVID-19 cases began to soar.  Since their introduction, the bills have remained in committee without any significant movement.  Now that the state has begun distributing vaccines, it is unclear whether these bills will become law eventually or continue to languish.

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