Bills approved in Senate Committees aid firefighters and police officers

Senate committees approved two separate bills this week aiding firefighters and police officers.  Senate Bill 1442 creates a presumption that any conditions or impairments of full-time firefighters caused by certain occupational cancers occurred while on the job, and establishes eligibility for worker’s compensation benefits. The cancers include non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, colon cancer, skin cancer or multiple myeloma.

Eligible firefighters must have been exposed to heat, smoke, and fumes; or carcinogenic, poisonous, toxic or chemical substances during the course of five or more consecutive years of employment with a fire department.  The legislation also requires that eligible firefighters seeking to utilize this presumption must pass a pre-employment physical exam and submit to annual occupational cancer screenings during the course of employment.  An eligible firefighter may file a medical claim pertaining to any condition or impairment of the cancers listed in the bill for up to five years after the most recent date of exposure. 

The second bill, Senate Bill 793, applies to professional fire fighters and police officers, raises the supplemental pay received for successful completion of their annual in-service training to $800.  Currently, full-time employed firefighters and law enforcement officers whose primary source of income is from the performance of their duties as first responders are eligible to receive a $600 annual pay supplement for the successful completion of at least 40 hours of in-service training.

There are approximately 6,848 firefighters and 14,680 law enforcement officers that would be eligible for this cash salary supplement, for a total of 21,528 individuals. 

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