NEWTOWN, Conn. -- State Reps. J.P. Sredzinski (R-Newtown and Monroe) and Mitch Bolinsky (R-Newtown) voted in support of a measure that will expand coverage for firefighters who suffer from cancer caused directly by their job.
Under the legislation, HB 5262, a new “Firefighters Cancer Relief Account” will be created and run by the Connecticut State Firefighters Association and will be used to provide wage replacement benefits for eligible firefighter cancer victims and to pay associated administrative costs.
The account will be funded by diverting $0.01 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.
The measure was passed out of the House of Representatives after years of collaborative work on the concept by firefighters, legislators and municipalities.
“It is imperative that we care for those who have time and time again risked their lives for us,” said 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 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."
The bill will now be sent to the state Senate where it awaits further action. The legislative session adjourns at midnight on May 4.
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