BOZEMAN - 20 years’ worth of work is coming down to one vote that will take place today in the House of Representatives.
SB160 is a bill that could give presumptive care to firefighters diagnosed with chronic illnesses because of their jobs.
The bill passed the Senate and will be voted upon Tuesday in the house where it looks like it could pass.
Montana is one of three states that does not have a presumptive care act for first responders.
Montana will be the last in the region to pass a bill giving presumptive care. Idaho most recently passed the bill.
“We’re just really trying to protect those that protect our community,” Joel Fassbinder the President of the Professional Firefighters of Montana said. “Everything within a home has some sort of chemical component usually tied to oil or a plastic and when that is offgases, we don’t know exactly what’s in those gases and those chemicals firefighters are absorbing through their skin causing some very deadly cancers.”
Currently, it's up to firefighters and first responders to prove injuries came from on-the-job work.
This bill would take the burden off the firefighters and first responders and put it on the insurance companies.
Fassbinder says the bill has a lot of bipartisan support and is looking good.
If SB160 passed, rural and volunteer fire departments will also gain presumptive care coverage.
We are waiting on a vote when we know the outcome this article will be updated.