Your tip sheet: Firefighter cancer bill up in the Senate

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Dawson County Emergency Services Deputy Chief Operations Tim Satterfield is pictured at a fire station in Dawsonville, Ga. Satterfield, who is dealing with a pancreatic cancer diagnosis has had to pay many treatment bills himself and supports the Firefighter Insurance Bill (HB 146) which would require local governments to provide insurance to firefighters including coverage for a list of cancers. John Amis/AJC

Days remaining in the 2017 legislative session: 11

The House and Senate return from two days of committee meetings for its 30th day of the 40-day session. The House’s calendar is light, but the Senate will take up legislation offering firefighters special insurance policies to cover treatment of certain cancers tied to their work.

House Bill 146, sponsored by state Rep. Micah Gravley, R-Douglasville, and backed by Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, has become a popular cause among lawmakers. Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a similar bill last year that would have allowed firefighters to file workers compensation claims if diagnosed with certain cancers.

So supporters came back this year with a tweak: Instead of workers comp claims, local governments instead would have to offer private insurance plans paying up to $25,000 upon diagnosis of certain cancers. A yes vote today won’t be final passage — because of Senate committee changes, the bill would go back to the House for review.


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