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Legislation that will provide workers compensation benefits for certain occupational-related cancers for firefighters or emergency medical technicians in Texas now awaits Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature.
On Monday, the Texas House and Senate signed the bipartisan S.B. 2551, which states that a firefighter or emergency medical technician who suffers from cancer resulting in death or disability is presumed to have developed it in the course or scope of employment if the individual regularly responds to the scenes involving the documented release of radiation or known or suspected carcinogens. The bill said cancers that may be presumed to be occupational include cancer that originates in the stomach, colon, rectum, skin, prostate, testes or brain, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, malignant melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. The bill passed the Senate in early May with a 30-1 vote and passed the House on May 21 with a 142-2 vote.
In addition to the cancer presumption, the bill also provides that self-insureds may establish a pool for the payment of death benefits to first responders with compensable injuries. If the bill is signed by the governor, it will take effect immediately.
A bill adopted by the Idaho Senate on Feb. 12 to allow post-traumatic stress disorder benefits for first responders under the state’s workers compensation system is drawing on a trend in presumption laws related to mental injuries, but is fairly unique because the proposed legislation includes 911 operators among those who can seek PTSD coverage.