Florida Senate OKs bill for firefighter cancer benefits

State / Regional
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida fighters diagnosed with cancer are close to receiving a new package of benefits under a bill passed by the Senate.

The bill unanimously passed Tuesday would provide firefighters with cancer benefits, including full cost of treatment, a $25,000 payout, disability pay and death benefits for beneficiaries. The House was scheduled to consider the bill later Tuesday.

The bill would treat cancer and cancer deaths like on-the-job injuries and deaths. It is a top priority for Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who serves as the state’s fire marshal.

It’s also a bill that failed for years. Republican Sen. Anitere Flores said some version of it has been filed since 2003. It almost died this year because the House wasn’t going to take it up, but last week Speaker Jose Oliva acknowledged pressure to pass it and allowed it to be considered.

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