State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley Township) announced the Senate passage of legislation today that would recognize the increased risk firefighters face for certain types of cancers and provide these professionals the support they deserve following a career of public service.

"These dedicated public safety professionals stand ready every day to face personal danger in order to protect their fellow Ohioans," said LaRose. "I'm proud that we have come together to ensure that Ohio Firefighters exposed to increased risk of cancer while performing their duty will receive the care they deserve."

The legislation, cosponsored by Senator LaRose, would ensure that Ohio firefighters have access to similar benefits provided to firefighters in 37 other states.

Senate Bill 27 establishes a legal presumption of increased risk and allows firefighters to access benefits through the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation and Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund. Amendments added in the Senate Insurance Committee strengthened this good piece of legislation by ensuring equal access to benefits for both and male and female firefighters.

Existing law only allows firefighters who contract occupational cancers to receive disability compensation if they can prove the precise exposure that caused the illness. This task is nearly impossible given the multitude of exposures, delay in detection and latency periods of cancer. Enactment of this bill will allow Ohio firefighters to seek treatment and recovery without being hindered by unnecessary bureaucracy.

Senate Bill 27 now goes to the House of Representatives where it will receive further consideration.

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