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An Arizona House committee has approved S.B. 1148 already passed by the Arizona Senate that would bar pro athletes in Arizona from filing for workers’ compensation in other states.If passed, Arizona would join a number of states that have passed “reciprocity” statutes that specify Arizona workers who are temporarily working in another state must file the industrial claims in Arizona, provided that the other state has a similar “reciprocity” statute.

California does have a “reciprocity” statute. Labor Code 3600.5 that says in part “Any employee who has been hired outside of this state and his employer shall be exempted from the provisions of this division while such employee is temporarily within this state doing work for his employer if such employer has furnished workmen’s compensation insurance coverage under the workmen’s compensation insurance or similar laws of a state other than California, so as to cover such employee’s employment while in this state; provided, the extraterritorial provisions of this division are recognized in such other state and provided employers and employees who are covered in this state are likewise exempted from the application of the workmen’ s compensation insurance or similar laws of such other state.”

Twenty eight states have “reciprocity statutes that pertain to temporary employees. [Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia (with exceptions), Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana (except in construction industry), Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio (conditional), Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington (except construction), West Virginia, and Wyoming.] Theoretically, professional athletes or other temporary employees injured in any of those states would be required to file for workers compensation benefits in their home state. If Arizona concludes the passage of S.B. 1148 they would be the twenty ninth.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McComish who sponsored the bill in the Senate says that professional teams came to him with concerns that professional athletes are filing claims in California because it has more lenient rules for so-called cumulative injuries.

Lawyers for the NFL and Major League Baseball players’ unions told the House commerce committee Wednesday that players rejected both leagues’ efforts to get language in recent collective bargaining agreements banning the practice and they’re now trying to do it legislatively. A pro athlete can sometimes file in another state if they played some games there.

Nona Lee, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Arizona Diamondbacks and Rob Dalanger from the Arizona Cardinals Football Club testified in favor of S.B. 1148. The bill passed the Arizona Senate on a 6-1 vote. If passed the law would apply to claims made after the date of passage regardless of the date of injury.

A.B. 1301 was introduced a few weeks ago in the California Assembly by Assembly Insurance Committee Chairman Henry Perea (D-Fresno). If passed into law, it would limit the avalanche of workers compensation claims filed by out of state professional athletes in California,