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Local lawmakers tout bill expanding coverage for firefighters

Newtown lawmakers are touting a bill that made it through the state House which will expand coverage for firefighters who suffer from cancer caused directly by their job.  Representatives JP Sredzinski and Mitch Bolinsky say a new “Firefighters Cancer Relief Account” will be created and run by the Connecticut State Firefighters Association which will be used to provide wage replacement benefits for eligible firefighter cancer victims and to pay associated administrative costs. 


The bill will now be sent to the state Senate where it awaits further action. The legislative session adjourns at midnight on May 4th.


The account will be funded by diverting $.01 from the current e911 fee on phone bills into the fund. Beginning July 1, 2019, firefighters who have been working for at least five years and can show through medical screenings that they have contracted cancer through their professional environment, will be eligible for up to two years of benefits.


"It is imperative that we care for those who have time and time again risked their lives for us,” said Rep. Sredzinski. “As a public safety dispatch supervisor, I work directly with many emergency personnel, including firefighters, and have seen the toll that cancer has taken on these men and women. We have an obligation to give back to these heroes and provide for their well-being when they have been harmed in the line of duty.”


"This measure provides the reassurance of job-related cancer coverage for those brave Connecticut first responders who save lives in our communities by boldly running INTO burning buildings,” said Rep. Bolinsky. “It also represents a couple years of meaningful collaboration to create an independent, self-administered system that does not impose itself as a municipal mandate.  It's a real win-win and totally the right thing to do in the right way!"

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Rich Valdes

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