Big step forward for firefighter cancer bill

Posted at 11:55 AM, Apr 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-12 11:55:27-04

A state senate committee voted Tuesday, approving legislation that will give workers' compensation benefits to firefighters battling cancer. 

The Ohio Senate Insurance Committeepassed SB27, which grants firefighters workers' compensation benefits if they are diagnosed with a cancer proven to be linked to their occupation.

During previous hearings on the bill, committee members viewed our exclusive 5 On Your Side Investigation about Ohio's failure to pass the law to help firefighters affected by cancer.

NewsChannel5 investigators found Ohio is one of just sixteen states without a law recognizing the link between fighting fires and cancer.

Our investigation also uncovered numerous scientific studies linking the occupation to the deadly disease.

“I feel almost embarrassed as the state of Ohio,” said Ohio Senator Tom Patton (R-District 24), who has tried to pass similar legislation for more than a decade.

“There’s no other disabling injury that someone in Ohio will receive while working that we don’t take care of,” he said.

The law would give benefits that include money for medical costs and survivor benefits to firefighter's dependents.

The Ohio Senate is expected to vote on the bill in the coming days.