VIDEO: A bill that would increase protections for firefighters who develop cancer or other illnesses after their time on the job has cleared its last legislative hurdle.
The Montana Senate voted 40-10 Saturday to approve an amended version of Senate Bill 160, sponsored by Sen. Nate McConnell (D-Missoula).
The House passed the latest version of the bill 89-8 last week. It will now go to Gov. Steve Bullock’s desk.
“Today was a very big day for our membership statewide,” said Joel Fassbinder, a Bozeman firefighter and president of the Montana State Council of Professional Fire Fighters.
SB 160 would let firefighters who have served for a certain number of years claim workers’ compensation benefits for several types of cancer, heart attacks and asbestos-related illnesses.
“We’re looking at these as on-the-job injuries, similar to a firefighter falling off a roof,” Fassbinder said. “It’s no different if a firefighter develops cancer on the job.”