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Georgia firefighters want override after veto of cancer legislation


Georgia firefighters still hoppin’ mad over Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto earlier this year of cancer legislation related to their work have vowed an even stronger comeback for the coming legislative session that begins Jan. 9 — including a push to override the veto.

Jim Daws, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Georgia, sent a notice Monday calling on colleagues to contact their state lawmakers to back the effort. It takes a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate to override a veto — House Bill 216 passed in March with votes above that threshold in both chambers.

“We need to hold onto our votes for this override effort to be successful,” Daws said.

The legislation would have helped firefighters get workers’ compensation benefits if they could provide “a preponderance” of evidence that their work caused cancer. Otherwise, state law considers cancer an “ordinary disease of life,” disqualifying it from claims.

Deal said he was concerned about the potential cost to local and state governments and said it was not clear how big a problem this was.

Firefighters, however, say they are exposed to carcinogens through the burning of newer materials used in the construction of homes, such as synthetic fibers and plastic.

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