By unanimous vote on April 21, the Connecticut House of Representatives passed HB 5262, which will expand the list of presumptive occupational diseases to include a long list of cancers for the state’s fire fighters. The legislation is expected to be heard by the Senate beginning April 26.
The Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut (UPFFA) proposed similar legislation last year, but the legislative session ended before the bill could move through both chambers and on to the governor’s desk.
“We have worked hard to address concerns of any of our state legislators and are pleased to receive the unanimous approval of the House,” says UPFFA President Pete Carozza. “We are in talks with our senators now and are hopeful that we will get support there as well.”
If HB 5262 passes, a relief fund will be created to pay out fire fighter cancer claims. To keep money in the fund, one penny from the current electronic 911 fee on phone bills will be diverted and deposited into the account. Those pennies are expected to generate $400,000 a year.
The fund will be administered by fire fighter representatives from each of the state’s fire service organizations. Those administrators will be responsible for determining who receives awards.