Firefighter cancer bill wins final approval in state House

Firefighters who contract cancer while on the job will be eligible for extra health insurance under legislation given final approval in the state House on Thursday. 

The House voted 166-1 to send House Bill 146 to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk. 

The bill was a key priority for Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, and was sponsored by Rep. Micah Gravley, R-Douglasville

Deal vetoed a similar bill last year that would have made affected firefighters eligible for worker’s compensation insurance. 

HB 146, however, would require fire departments to offer the supplemental coverage at no cost to the firefighter. The bill would cap up-front cash payouts at $50,000 and provides salary protection for up to three years. 

The bill is a compromise among lawmakers, firefighters and city and county governments. 

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