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State Senator Wants More Benefits For Ill Firefighters

Karen Kasler
Ohio Public Radio

A Republican Senator from northeast Ohio is trying a fourth time to get a bill passed that he says will help firefighters who got cancer while on the job.

35 states have so-called presumptive disability laws linking firefighting to cancer – and that makes it easier for firefighters with cancer who can’t work anymore to get workers’ comp and disability benefits.

State Senator Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) wants Ohio to be the 36th, but he says mayors and city leaders have raised questions about the proposal in the past.

“Their thought or their fear or their concern is the fact that the utter reality of just how much of this is going on, how much this will affect them and their premiums and what they’re paying out of pocket. “But at the end of the day, the promise was ‘you take care of our people,” said Patton.

Patton says over 60% of firefighter related deaths are tied to cancer.