The Florida House will reverse course and now hear a bill that would give firefighters cancer coverage, its leader said Tuesday, caving to days of public pressure and recent allegations that the bill had been deliberately held as payback after an ally’s contentious midterm election last year.
House Speaker José Oliva, who had previously said he objected to hearing the bill, said in a statement that the “environment has become too toxic to debate the true original disagreement.”
“Unfortunately, the debate became about whether we support our firefighter[s] — of course we do. And it became about whether it was political — of course it wasn’t,” he wrote, adding that the Legislature had in the past funded studies examining firefighters’ increased risk of cancer. ”We will move legislation forward, more so as the differences are not so great as to invite the assumptions now being spread.”