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Georgia legislators are making a fresh effort to help firefighters receive workers compensation benefits when diagnosed with cancers associated with occupational exposure after Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed similar legislation last year.
Georgia House Bill 152, introduced Thursday, seeks to amend the state’s workers compensation law by stipulating that a firefighter diagnosed with cancer must provide a preponderance of competent and credible evidence, including medical evidence, to show that his or her disease is attributable to performance of duties as a firefighter, according to a copy of the bill posted online.
The bill was read before the Georgia House of Representatives on Thursday and referred to the House Committee on Industry and Labor.
A previous Georgia bill also would have created a workers comp cancer presumption for firefighters in the state. Georgia House Bill 216, introduced in February 2016, required a medical expert to provide a preponderance of evidence that a cancer was caused by exposure to a risk factor while performing work-related duties.
Gov. Deal vetoed H.B. 216 in May, expressing concern that the legislation was too broad and could exhaust Georgia’s workers comp board because it required a relatively low standard of proof, no time limit on diagnosis and no restriction on eligible types of cancer, according to a statement published at the time on the governor’s website.
A firefighter can’t receive workers compensation benefits for prostate cancer because he failed to show that his cancer was work-related, despite a Pennsylvania cancer presumption for firefighters, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled.