Firefighters lobby for cancer presumption legislation


Two weeks ago, 7News told you about legislation local firefighters are pushing for that would recognize cancer as a work-related illness.

The first steps toward making that idea a reality have been put in motion with Senate Bill 48 and House Bill 2498.

These bills, if passed, would recognize cancer as a work-related illness for firefighters.

Firefighters are pushing for this legislation because they often inhale or absorb cancer-causing chemicals and toxins while on the job.

This week, the Wheeling Firefighter’s Union Local 12 traveled to Charleston to lobby for their cause.

They say all of West Virginia’s bordering states have some kind of cancer presumption legislation in place, and West Virginia needs to follow suit.

However, some people are worried about what it would cost the state.

“The monies actually come out of our workman’s comp which would be most times done out of our city workman’s comp. So, if we go have a disability right now, they don’t recognize it. We’re just asking that they recognize this illness so we can diagnose it, treat it, and hopefully get our firefighters back on shift,” said Local 12 President Tom Haluscak.

If passed, Haluscak says the legislation would apply to both career and volunteer firefighters.

The proposed bills will now head to committee for review.

District One Senator and Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns is the lead sponsor of Senate Bill 48. District 3 Representative Erikka Storch and District 4 Representative Joe Canestraro are sponsoring House Bill 2498.

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