With overwhelming support from Wyoming state legislators, Senate File 89 – Presumptive Disability for Fire Fighters – is now state law after Governor Matt Mead signed the bill March 3.
The new law will presume that if a fire fighter contracts cancer – or heart, lung and infectious diseases (not specifically defined), he/she is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, the legislation calls for an 11-member advisory panel made up of health care experts appointed by the governor.
“With the passage of each presumptive bill, the IAFF comes closer to its goal of ensuring protections are in place for all of our members who contract an occupational disease,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “I want to congratulate our Wyoming members for their persistence and dedication on this very important issue.”
The bill’s success can be attributed to the collaborative efforts made by the Federated Fire Fighters of Wyoming (FFFWY), the Wyoming Fire Chief’s Association and the Wyoming AFL-CIO.
It passed the Senate 28-2 and the House 53-7.
“We have been educating our state legislators for years regarding the impact of occupational diseases on our members,” says FFFWY President Joe Fender. “Wyoming is traditionally a very conservative state, so progressive initiatives are not always an easy sell. But, the timing was right to get these protections in place for our brothers and sisters.”
SF 89 becomes effective as soon as the governor signs the legislation.