Cancer benefits for firefighters enacted over League of Cities objection

A measure aiming to help firefighters in the battle against cancer (SB 426) has been signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis over the objection of some local governments as relayed by the Florida League of Cities.

Historic City News has long held disdain for the League of Cities to which the City of St Augustine belongs.  They profited this fiscal year at the expense of our city’s long-time insurance provider and servicing agency, ThompsonBaker Agency, and they amount to nothing more than a borrow pit for bad ideas that profit corrupt local politicians in cities around the state.

“Here in Florida, we look after our first responders and I am honored to sign this bill to help ensure our firefighters who are battling cancer have the tools and benefits they need,” DeSantis said.  “These men and women are true heroes, who often are the first on scene and the last to leave during an emergency.”

The bill’s supporters argue the legislation is necessary in order to ensure those seeking to be firefighters aren’t driven away by costs of treating cancer down the line.

“This marks an enormous victory for these brave men and women in their fight against cancer,” said CFO Jimmy Patronis, who also serves as the State Fire Marshal.  “Today, Florida tells every firefighter battling cancer, every firefighter afraid of getting cancer, and every child who dreams of being a firefighter, that we are in their corner. I’m proud that we can now add Florida to the list of states that provides this essential benefit for firefighters.”

Patronis has bashed the Florida League of Cities for its opposition to the measure. “Excuses for not wanting to step up and putting politics in front of our firefighters is shameful,” he said. “The League of Cities continues to show they don’t care about the first responders who protect their communities every day.”

The measure is what’s called a “presumptive cancer law”. That means should a firefighter in good health get one of 21 identified types of cancer, it is presumed cancer stemmed from his or her work as a firefighter.

While workers’ compensation typically covers on-the-job related ailments, it can be difficult to prove the direct link to cancer for firefighters. That’s because those cancers are typically a result of repeated exposure to cancer-causing agents over time, rather than the result of one, easily identifiable instance.

Local governments that employ firefighters will be responsible for the costs under the new law being dubbed by the League of Cities and League of Counties as an “unfunded mandate” in a letter addressed to the Governor requesting he veto the bill.

“In theory, it sounds like a worthwhile initiative, which is why it was met with great fanfare during the Legislative Session. However, when you dig into the details, this is a significant unfunded mandate with a widespread negative impact on property taxpayers,” the letter reads.

“The bill should be vetoed because it is grossly unresearched, and its unknown financial implications are disruptive if not disastrous to Florida taxpayers.”