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The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board has issued a notice of public hearing regarding proposed amendments to its Rules of Practice and Procedure. The public hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 16 in the Santa Barbara Room, Basement Level, of the Hiram Johnson State Office Building, 455 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102. Members of the public may also submit written comment on the proposed Rules amendments until 5 p.m. that day.

These changes are largely being proposed in light of Senate Bill 863 (Stats. 2012, ch. 363 [SB 863].)

The WCAB’s notice of the proposed rulemaking, the text of the proposed regulations, and the initial statement of reasons have been posted online.

Public comment will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. and will conclude when the last speaker has finished his or her presentation. Testimony will be limited to 10 minutes per speaker and should be specific to the proposed regulations. If public comment concludes before the Noon recess, no afternoon session will be held. Although equal weight will be accorded to oral and written comments, the WCAB prefers written comments to oral testimony and prefers written comments submitted by e-mail. If written comments are submitted by the deadline of April 16 no later than 5 p.m., it is not necessary to present oral testimony at the public hearing.

Comments may be submitted by e-mail to or they may be mailed to: Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, Attention: Annette Gabrielli, Regulations Coordinator, P.O. Box 429459, San Francisco CA 94142-9459. Comments also may be submitted by facsimile (Fax) at 1-415-703-4549.

The WCAB will consider all timely public comments and it encourages all interested members of the workers’ compensation community to participate in this important process.

After reviewing the proposed changes there are a few notable comments. “Nothing in the WCAB’s current Rules expressly provides that its provisions are severable and that if any provision (section or subdivision) is declared invalid, then other provisions are not affected. Amending Rule 10300 to add proposed subdivision (b) would expressly declare this intention. Amending Rule 10300 to add proposed subdivision (b) would expressly declare this intention. This is consistent with uncodified provisions of S.B. 863.”

The WCAB says “this is a strictly precautionary provision. Some workers’ compensation commentators have suggested the possibility of constitutional challenges to certain provisions of SB 863. Therefore, in the event an appellate court declares that any WCAB Rule or a statutory provision on which it is based is unconstitutional, this proposed change to Rule 10300 will minimize the impact of any such declaration. It will also minimize the impact of any appellate declaration that a provision of a WCAB Rule is inconsistent with statute or in excess of the WCAB’s authority.”