Florida Senate - 2021                                    SB 1422
       By Senator Thurston
       33-01742-21                                           20211422__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to communicable and infectious
    3         diseases; amending s. 112.181, F.S.; defining the term
    4         “infectious disease”; providing a presumption to
    5         specified workers that an impairment of health caused
    6         by an infectious disease happened in the line of duty;
    7         requiring certain actions in order to be entitled to
    8         the presumption; revising the vaccine requirement for
    9         specified workers if such vaccine is approved by the
   10         United States Food and Drug Administration; providing
   11         an effective date.
   13  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   15         Section 1. Section 112.181, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   16  read:
   17         112.181 Firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical
   18  technicians, law enforcement officers, correctional officers;
   19  special provisions relative to certain communicable and
   20  infectious diseases.—
   21         (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   22         (a) “Body fluids” means blood and body fluids containing
   23  visible blood and other body fluids to which universal
   24  precautions for prevention of occupational transmission of
   25  blood-borne pathogens, as established by the Centers for Disease
   26  Control and Prevention, apply. For purposes of potential
   27  transmission of meningococcal meningitis or tuberculosis, the
   28  term “body fluids” includes respiratory, salivary, and sinus
   29  fluids, including droplets, sputum, and saliva, mucous, and
   30  other fluids through which infectious airborne organisms can be
   31  transmitted between persons.
   32         (b) “Emergency rescue or public safety worker” means any
   33  person employed full time by the state or any political
   34  subdivision of the state as a firefighter, paramedic, emergency
   35  medical technician, law enforcement officer, or correctional
   36  officer who, in the course of employment, runs a high risk of
   37  occupational exposure to hepatitis, meningococcal meningitis, or
   38  tuberculosis, or an infectious disease and who is not employed
   39  elsewhere in a similar capacity. However, the term “emergency
   40  rescue or public safety worker” does not include any person
   41  employed by a public hospital licensed under chapter 395 or any
   42  person employed by a subsidiary thereof.
   43         (c) “Hepatitis” means hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis
   44  non-A, hepatitis non-B, hepatitis C, or any other strain of
   45  hepatitis generally recognized by the medical community.
   46         (d) “High risk of occupational exposure” means that risk
   47  that is incurred because a person subject to the provisions of
   48  this section, in performing the basic duties associated with his
   49  or her employment:
   50         1. Provides emergency medical treatment in a non-health
   51  care setting where there is a potential for transfer of body
   52  fluids between persons;
   53         2. At the site of an accident, fire, or other rescue or
   54  public safety operation, or in an emergency rescue or public
   55  safety vehicle, handles body fluids in or out of containers or
   56  works with or otherwise handles needles or other sharp
   57  instruments exposed to body fluids;
   58         3. Engages in the pursuit, apprehension, and arrest of law
   59  violators or suspected law violators and, in performing such
   60  duties, may be exposed to body fluids; or
   61         4. Is responsible for the custody, and physical restraint
   62  when necessary, of prisoners or inmates within a prison, jail,
   63  or other criminal detention facility, while on work detail
   64  outside the facility, or while being transported and, in
   65  performing such duties, may be exposed to body fluids.
   66         (e)“Infectious disease” means any condition or impairment
   67  of health caused by a disease declared a public health emergency
   68  in accordance with s. 381.00315.
   69         (f)(e) “Occupational exposure,” in the case of hepatitis,
   70  meningococcal meningitis, or tuberculosis, or an infectious
   71  disease, means an exposure that occurs during the performance of
   72  job duties that may place a worker at risk of infection.
   73         (2) PRESUMPTION; ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS.—Any emergency
   74  rescue or public safety worker who suffers a condition or
   75  impairment of health that is caused by hepatitis, meningococcal
   76  meningitis, or tuberculosis, or an infectious disease, that
   77  requires medical treatment, and that results in total or partial
   78  disability or death is shall be presumed to have a disability
   79  suffered in the line of duty, unless the contrary is shown by
   80  competent evidence; however, in order to be entitled to the
   81  presumption, the emergency rescue or public safety worker must,
   82  by written affidavit as provided in s. 92.50, verify by written
   83  declaration that, to the best of his or her knowledge and
   84  belief:
   85         (a) In the case of a medical condition caused by or derived
   86  from hepatitis, he or she has not:
   87         1. Been exposed, through transfer of bodily fluids, to any
   88  person known to have sickness or medical conditions derived from
   89  hepatitis, outside the scope of his or her employment;
   90         2. Had a transfusion of blood or blood components, other
   91  than a transfusion arising out of an accident or injury
   92  happening in connection with his or her present employment, or
   93  received any blood products for the treatment of a coagulation
   94  disorder since last undergoing medical tests for hepatitis,
   95  which tests failed to indicate the presence of hepatitis;
   96         3. Engaged in unsafe sexual practices or other high-risk
   97  behavior, as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and
   98  Prevention or the Surgeon General of the United States, or had
   99  sexual relations with a person known to him or her to have
  100  engaged in such unsafe sexual practices or other high-risk
  101  behavior; or
  102         4. Used intravenous drugs not prescribed by a physician.
  103         (b) In the case of meningococcal meningitis, in the 10 days
  104  immediately preceding diagnosis he or she was not exposed,
  105  outside the scope of his or her employment, to any person known
  106  to have meningococcal meningitis or known to be an asymptomatic
  107  carrier of the disease.
  108         (c) In the case of tuberculosis, in the period of time
  109  since the worker’s last negative tuberculosis skin test, he or
  110  she has not been exposed, outside the scope of his or her
  111  employment, to any person known by him or her to have
  112  tuberculosis.
  113         (d)In the case of an infectious disease, he or she was not
  114  exposed, outside of the scope of his or her employment, to any
  115  person known to have the infectious disease.
  116         (3) IMMUNIZATION.—Whenever any standard, medically
  117  recognized vaccine or other form of immunization or prophylaxis
  118  exists for the prevention of a communicable or infectious
  119  disease for which a presumption is granted under this section,
  120  if medically indicated in the given circumstances under the
  121  pursuant to immunization policies established by the Advisory
  122  Committee on Immunization Practices of the United States Public
  123  Health Service and if the vaccine or immunization has been
  124  approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, an
  125  emergency rescue or public safety worker may be required by his
  126  or her employer to undergo the immunization or prophylaxis
  127  unless the worker’s physician determines in writing that the
  128  immunization or other prophylaxis would pose a significant risk
  129  to the worker’s health. Absent such written declaration, failure
  130  or refusal by an emergency rescue or public safety worker to
  131  undergo such immunization or prophylaxis disqualifies the worker
  132  from the benefits of the presumption.
  133         (4) LIFE AND DISABILITY INSURANCE COVERAGE.—This section
  134  does not apply to benefits payable under or granted in a
  135  noncompulsory policy of life insurance or disability insurance,
  136  unless the insurer and insured have negotiated for such
  137  additional benefits to be included in the policy contract.
  138  However, the state or any political subdivision of the state may
  139  negotiate a policy contract for life and disability insurance
  140  which includes accidental death benefits or double indemnity
  141  coverage for any condition or impairment of health suffered by
  142  an emergency rescue or public safety worker, which condition or
  143  impairment is caused by a disease described in this section and
  144  results in total or partial disability or death.
  145         (5) RECORD OF EXPOSURES.—The employing agency shall
  146  maintain a record of any known or reasonably suspected exposure
  147  of an emergency rescue or public safety worker in its employ to
  148  the diseases described in this section and shall immediately
  149  notify the employee of such exposure. An emergency rescue or
  150  public safety worker shall file an incident or accident report
  151  with his or her employer of each instance of known or suspected
  152  occupational exposure to hepatitis infection, meningococcal
  153  meningitis, or tuberculosis, or an infectious disease.
  155  order to be entitled to the presumption provided by this
  156  section:
  157         (a) An emergency rescue or public safety worker must, prior
  158  to diagnosis, have undergone standard, medically acceptable
  159  tests for evidence of the communicable or infectious disease for
  160  which the presumption is sought, or evidence of medical
  161  conditions derived therefrom, which tests fail to indicate the
  162  presence of infection. This paragraph does not apply in the case
  163  of meningococcal meningitis.
  164         (b) On or after June 15, 1995, an emergency rescue or
  165  public safety worker may be required to undergo a preemployment
  166  physical examination that tests for and fails to reveal any
  167  evidence of hepatitis or tuberculosis.
  168         (7) DISABILITY RETIREMENT.—This section does not change the
  169  basic requirements for determining eligibility for disability
  170  retirement benefits under the Florida Retirement System or any
  171  pension plan administered by this state or any political
  172  subdivision thereof, except to the extent of affecting the
  173  determination as to whether a member was disabled in the line of
  174  duty or was otherwise disabled.
  175         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.