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House Republicans Move to Restrict Firefighter Presumption

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 | 636 | 0 | 0 min read

Just over a month after Ohio's firefighter presumption took effect, some Republican lawmakers are attempting to roll back a portion of it, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Rep. Tom Brinkman

Rep. Tom Brinkman

House Republicans proposed adding a stipulation to the law, which links firefighters' cancer diagnoses to work for workers' compensation purposes: Firefighters must use their protective equipment properly while on duty. If they don't, the presumption does not apply.

"We just want to make sure folks are using the safety equipment that's provided," Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Cincinnati, chairman of the House Insurance Committee, told the Dispatch.

Not all House Republicans agree with the proposal, which was added as an amendment to House Bill 27, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation budget bill.

Rep. Mike Henne, R-Clayton, another member of the insurance committee, said he was worried about the fate of firefighters whose tanks run out of oxygen, forcing them to go without a mask, under the amendment. The slip-up might disqualify them from coverage, Clayton said.

"(The amendment) creates more questions than it does solve problems," Henne said.

The amendment also reduces the amount of time allowed to lapse since a firefighter last worked. For the presumption to apply, a firefighter must have been on active duty no later than 20 years ago. The amendment reduces that time frame to 15 years. 

House Democrats, firefighter groups and trial attorneys have come out against the amendment. 

Ohio's firefighter presumption went into effect April 6.  

View the Columbus Dispatch's story here.

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