Arizona payments closing employee’s comp loopholes for firefighters nears closing step

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Arizona firefighters have been filling testimony rooms at the state capitol for several years, reporting on their cancer battles and experiences of denying workers compensation.

But this tireless struggle may soon end.

There are two mirrored bills running in both the Arizona House and Senate this legislature that could solve the problem that firefighters continue to face.

State Senator Paul Boyer is sponsoring one of them.

He introduced the original suspected cancer legislation back in 2017, which he believes has been exploited as some cities and insurance companies continue to ask a question a firefighter cannot answer.

That question is, what fire caused you cancer in your career?

Both Boyer’s Senate bill and MP Kevin Payne’s bill in the House would no longer allow the question to be asked.

Both acts are identical. The idea of ​​creating two mirrored bills is to get the legislation to Governor Doug Ducey’s desk asap.

Regardless of which invoice is received there first, it is expected to be the legally signed invoice.

“This tightens the language to ensure the firefighters are covered,” Boyer told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Boyer’s version was passed by Senate 22-8. Payne’s bill went through in the house with 60: 0. Both bills are in their final hearings and are expected to hit Ducey’s desk soon.

During a 2019 interview on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s “Fighting Fires and Cancer” special series, Ducey said firefighters who were denied health insurance “pissed him off”.

Ducey added, “There is a law for a reason” and said the loopholes needed to be closed.

The International Association of Firefighters says cancer is the leading cause of death among firefighters today.

While firefighters were most often diagnosed with asbestos-related cancers 30 years ago, leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma are more common today.

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