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Comp bills addressing firefighter cancer filed in three states


Lawmakers in three states this week filed proposed legislation addressing cancer diagnoses for professional and volunteer firefighters.

Nebraska lawmakers on Tuesday introduced Legislature Bill 501, which would amend the workers compensation law to state that any cancer resulting in either temporary or permanent disability or death is recognized as an occupational disease and compensable under the law.

Under the bill, for cancer to be compensable it must be shown that the firefighter was exposed on the job to certain carcinogens known or suspected to cause different forms of cancer.

The bill creates a rebuttable presumption that a firefighter’s cancer arose out of and in the course of his or her employment if the cancer is diagnosed during employment.

There would also be a rebuttable presumption that a retired firefighter’s cancer was also connected to employment if diagnosed within a specific timeframe after retirement.

Connecticut legislators on Wednesday filed House Bill 5857, which would make cancer in professional and volunteer firefighters a presumptive line-of-duty injury or cause of death and would make firefighters eligible for workers comp and other benefits.

Eligibility is reserved for firefighters who have served a minimum of five years and who were nonsmokers and did not have a cancer history prior to becoming a firefighter.

Mississippi legislators on Monday introduced House Bill 784, which would amend the state’s First Responders Health and Safety Act to provide that cancer benefits issued to first responders are paid by the Attorney General’s Office from funds appropriated by the legislature and no longer through money from insurance policies.

The bill would also repeal a current law that says the cost of purchasing insurance policies that provide for cancer coverage must be borne by the first responders’ employers.