UPDATE | 2021 WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LEGISLATION
Before the Nebraska legislature adjourned the 2021 session, it gave final approval of, and the Governor signed into law, LB 256 and LB 407. As you may recall, LB 256, introduced by Senator Matt Hansen, provides that a release may be used to finalize an agreement to resolve all issues other than future medical where the employee is eligible for Medicare, is a Medicare beneficiary, or has a reasonable expectation of becoming a Medicare beneficiary within 30 months of the settlement. This will be an excellent tool to streamline resolution of the non-future-medical portion of a claim involving a represented Medicare beneficiary. As with “First responders” and “Frontline state employees”, LB 407, introduced by Senator McDonnell, provides that “county correctional officers” in “high-population” counties may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for “mental-mental” injuries unaccompanied by physical injury if the conditions of their employment “were extraordinary and unusual in comparison to the normal conditions of the particular employment.” A “high-population” county is defined as one with more than 300 thousand inhabitants. Only Douglas County and Lancaster County currently fit that definition. The effective date for both bills will be 90 after the last day of the session, or August 24, 2021. The Legislature also adopted LR 206, an interim study resolution introduced by Senator Adam Morfeld and referred it to the Business and Labor Committee which will examine (1) statutes of other states relating to workers compensation; and (2) the efficacy of increasing the amount of payments to individuals who are awarded benefits pursuant to workers compensation statutes. Lawmakers will reconvene January 5, 2022, for commencement of the 2022 legislative session. As always, if you have any questions about any of these bills, please call or email Dallas Jones or Paul Barta.