Legislators Kill Firefighter Benefits Bill
Montana legislators have killed a bill that would pay benefits to firefighters who develop cancer or other diseases in the line of duty. KTVQ.com reports they have fought for benefits like those that would have been provided in Senate Bill 72 for years, but some state lawmakers claim those benefits aren’t necessary, arguing that firefighters knew the risks when they took the job.
The measure would have provided firefighters in service to Montana a safety net for dealing with diseases which developed in the line of duty, including forms of cancer. Mel Holtz with the Frenchtown Rural Fire District said it’s something they’ve been working on for years. Some lawmakers, many of whom expressed their respect and admiration for firefighters, justified their opposition by suggesting that educated first responders freely chose their profession. Others rejected that attempt at justification.