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The Florida Senate passed legislation 38-0 Tuesday that would provide benefits to firefighters upon the diagnosis of certain cancers.
S.B. 426, sponsored by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, would provide cancer treatment, disability payments and death benefits for firefighters diagnosed with certain cancers.
Similar legislation, H.B. 857, was introduced in the House in early March, but there has been no action taken since its introduction.
Under this bill, firefighters who have served for at least five years, have not used tobacco for at least five years and are diagnosed with one of 21 listed cancers would, as an alternative to pursuing coverage through workers compensation, receive cancer treatment via a group health insurance trust fund, a one-time cash payout of $25,000 and continued health benefits for 10 years after the termination of employment.
The legislation also entitles firefighters with cancer to a disability retirement plan, at no cost to the firefighter and until the firefighter’s death, as coverage for total and permanent disabilities attributed to the diagnosis of a listed cancer, as well as death benefits to the firefighter’s beneficiaries.
The provisions of this bill would take effect July 1, 2019.
Several states, including Georgia and Mississippi, have passed laws offering lump sum payouts to firefighters diagnosed with occupational cancers as an alternative to workers compensation.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday signed into law a bill that clears the way for firefighters suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to claim a workers compensation injury if their condition results in physical or mental impairment and/or death.