Five Things You Need to Know: 1/25, Wednesday Edition

                               

Firefighter Cancer Coverage Heats Up Legislature 

    • Florida: A Senate committee in Tallahassee is considering a bill that would provide an increase in benefits for firefighters with certain types of cancers. "The bill would create a legal presumption that firefighters who suffer from multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer or testicular cancer have contracted the diseases in the line of duty. Such a designation would increase benefits the firefighters or their survivors would receive through retirement plans," according to CBSMiami.com (The News Service of Florida contributed). Kraig Conn, Florida League of Cities lobbyist, expressed concern for the "significant fiscal impact" it would have on workers' compensation coverage. 
    • Georgia: As of Tuesday, "Key lawmakers, [Georgia] Gov. Nathan Deal’s office and local government officials are near an agreement that would make firefighters eligible for private insurance policies, rather than filing state workers’ compensation claims," writes Aaron Gould Sheinin of AJC.com. Gov. Deal vetoed legislation in 2016 after lawmakers supported coverage that would allow firefighters to file workers' compensation claims if "a preponderance" of evidence that work caused the disease, according to the article. "I stand ready to work with you, as does Rep. Micah Gravley, who carried that legislation last year,” House Speaker David Ralston told the mayors. “We have to find a reasonable solution because it's the right thing to do for our firefighters and their families.” 
Two Men Rescued from Colorado Canyon, Again 
    • Two Minnesota men were rescued from Fish Creek Canyon in Steamboat Springs by Search and Rescue volunteers on Jan. 12. One volunteer ended up with bone fractures after getting stuck in an avalanche during the rescue, writes Tom Ross of Steamboat Today. The backcountry skier and snowboarder had called to be rescued in about the same area four years ago. Routt County Commissioners were not happy. “I’m incensed that those guys had to be rescued twice,” Commissioner Cari Hermacinski said Monday. “They had no additional outdoor equipment with them, food, water, stove. Do we have a civil complaint against them? I could live with the second call if they had some equipment. I’m damn mad.” The hurt rescuer ended up with 13 screws in his arm, several broken leg bones and a head wound. According to the article, "...county officials confirmed to the commissioners that the county’s workers' compensation will cover the medical bills for rescuer Jay Bowman..." Tom Sullivan, County Manager, said Routt County Search and Rescue Volunteers are under the jurisdiction of the county sheriff when they perform rescues, which makes them covered by workers' compensation, writes Ross.   
Montana Bill Aims to Better Protect Nurses and First Responders from Assault 
    • Nurses filled the floor during testimony for House Bill 268 in Missoula, Montana yesterday to support legislation that would greater protect them from assault while they are working. The bill makes assault on a nurse or first responder a felony, which carries up to ten years in prison and a fine up to $50,000, writes Holly Michels of the Missoulian. “It’s upsetting to know that if that man had assaulted me at a park or a restaurant maybe something more could have been done,” registered nurse Caitlin Shipp told the House Judiciary Committee. Some in opposition argued that the bill could punish those who are mentally ill or didn't have the intent to hurt someone, writes Michels. RN Brenda Donaldson, who chairs Your Nurse Wears Combat Boots testified that dogs on duty are currently better protected than nurses.  
No Compensation for Medical Marijuana Use in North Dakota 
    • North Dakota lawmakers ruled medical marijuana can't be paid for by workers' compensation yesterday in an 81-9 vote. "House Bill 1156 was introduced in response to the measure approved by voters last November that legalizes medical marijuana in North Dakota for defined medical conditions," according to Forum News Service. "The bill prevents North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance, the state's workers' compensation system, from paying for medical marijuana for a workplace injury." Any wages lost because of medical marijuana use also won't be covered by workers' compensation.  
 

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