Idaho Senate Vote Eases Workers Comp for Firefighters

March 14, 2012

Senate lawmakers have endorsed a bill to better protect Idaho firefighters who contract cancer.

The Senate voted 23-10 Monday to pass legislation that would help the state’s nearly 1,000 firefighters secure workers compensation for diseases they say result from years of battling burning, smoke-filled structures.

A growing body of medical research suggests the physically demanding profession suffers disproportionately from a variety of cancers.

Boise Sen. Curt McKenzie, the bill’s sponsor, says without such a presumption in law, firefighters have little chance of getting their diseases covered by workers compensation.

Similar legislation has passed in 40 other states but has struggled to gain traction with the Idaho Capitol in recent years.

Couer D’Alene Sen. John Goedde opposed the bill. He fears other hazardous occupations will seek similar redress from lawmakers.

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