Assigned to COMPS                                                                                                                          AS ENACTED








Fifty-Third Legislature, First Regular Session





occupational diseases; workers' compensation; presumptions)




Establishes a presumption of compensability for a firefighter's disability or death caused by certain cancers.




Injured employees, as well as dependents of deceased employees, are entitled to receive workers' compensation from accidents arising out of and in the course of employment (A.R.S. § 23-1021). Accidents arising out of employment include occupational diseases that are due to conditions of a particular trade, occupation, process or employment, and not the ordinary diseases to which the general public is exposed (A.R.S. § 23-901).


A presumption is a legal inference that a fact exists, based on the proven existence of some other fact, that shifts the burden of production to the opposing party (Black's Law Dictionary, 8th Edition). Laws 2001, Chapter 192 established the presumption that a firefighter's disability or death resulted from a compensable occupational disease if caused by brain, bladder, rectal or colon cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, aden carcinoma or mesothelioma of the respiratory tract. The firefighter must have passed a physical examination before employment, been assigned to hazardous duty for five years and documented their exposure to a known carcinogen. Laws 2003, Chapter 47 extended this presumption to peace officers.


Pursuant to A.R.S. § 23-1102, a person that advocates for a legislative proposal that establishes a presumption of compensability or mandates that an insurer deem that a condition has arisen out of employment must submit a report to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee for consideration by a Committee of Reference (COR). On December 6, 2016, the Senate Commerce & Workforce Development and House of Representatives Insurance COR held a public meeting to review a proposal establishing the presumptions contained in H.B. 2161.


The COR recommended that the Legislature consider a comprehensive review of any causal relationship between the firefighting profession and cancer in the 2017 session. The COR encouraged stakeholders, including the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA), to craft a proposal that balances scientific evidence supporting the presumption with cost impacts on the insurance system and local governments. The COR also recommended that the parties review ways for the ICA to systematically evaluate existing presumptions to verify that current science supports their continuation.

There is no anticipated fiscal impact to the state General Fund associated with this legislation.




1.      Adds, to conditions presumed to have arisen out of employment, any disease, infirmity or impairment of a firefighter's health caused by:

a)      buccal cavity and pharynx cancer;

b)      esophagus cancer;

c)      kidney cancer;

d)      large intestine cancer;

e)      lung cancer;

f)       malignant myeloma;

g)      multiple myeloma;

h)      non-Hodgkin's lymphoma;

i)       prostate cancer;

j)       skin cancer;

k)      stomach cancer; or

l)       testicular cancer.


2.      Requires a firefighter to have received a physical examination, reasonably aligned with the National Fire Protection Association Program, to qualify for presumptions.


3.      Allows presumptions to be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence that there is a specific cause of cancer other than an occupational exposure to a carcinogen.


4.      Requires, for denial of compensability, evidence that exposure to cigarettes or tobacco products outside the scope of employment is a substantial contributing cause of respiratory tract cancer.


5.      Limits application of new and existing cancer presumptions to conditions diagnosed within 15 years of a firefighter's or peace officer's last date of employment.


6.      Contains technical and conforming changes.


7.      Becomes effective on the general effective date.


Amendments Adopted in Committee of the Whole


·         Adds a Statute of Repose.








House Action                                                              Senate Action


HEALTH        2/9/17     DPA/SE     9-0-0-0              COMPS          3/20/17     DP     6-2-0-0

3rd Read          2/21/17   DPA           54-4-2-0            3rd Read          5/4/17       DPA  27-3-0

Final Read      5/4/17     DP              52-7-1-0


Signed by the Governor 5/22/17

Chapter 318


Prepared by Senate Research

May 25, 2017