The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017, S. 382. Introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the bill’s passage in the Senate brings it one step closer to being a first-of-its-kind national cancer registry specifically for fire fighters.
Last September, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed its version of the bill, which differs slightly from the Senate-passed bill. As a result, the two chambers will work to reconcile their differences before sending the bill to the president’s desk for his signature.
The cancer registry will collect detailed data on the occurrences of cancer in fire fighters to assist scientists with the specialized information they need for research to help strengthen our understanding of the link between firefighting and cancer, and which could potentially lead to better prevention and safety protocols.
“I sincerely thank the Senate leadership for taking up the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “I also thank the entire Senate for its unanimous vote bringing us one step closer to delivering this legislation to the president’s desk for his signature. The strength of the vote in each chamber demonstrates the importance of this legislation and the need to better understand cancer within the fire service.”
The IAFF will continue working with its allies in Congress to produce a final bill.
As of press time, a final bill could be considered in the House as soon as the week of June 4, 2018. Once passed in the House, the bill will be sent to the president for his signature.