Assembly approves cancer coverage for professional firemen |

Assembly approves cancer coverage for professional firemen

Geoff Dornan. Appeal Capitol Bureau

The Nevada Assembly voted Wednesday to make it clear that the state’s professional firefighters are entitled to worker compensation coverage for job-related cancer.

But lawmakers refused to extend the same coverage to volunteer firefighters.

Minority Leader Lynn Hettrick, R-Gardnerville, moved to amend AB451 to include volunteers, pointing out they face the same dangers and exposure to cancer-causing agents as professional firefighters. Douglas County’s fire fighting force is composed almost entirely of volunteers.

“If we provide this for paid professional firefighters, we should provide that same coverage for those who do the very same thing for free,” he argued.

But the amendment was defeated on the floor after Assemblyman John Oceguera, D-North Las Vegas, said volunteers are in a different situation and covered under different sections of the statutes.

That prompted Hettrick and Ron Knecht, R-Carson City, to vote against AB451 in protest.

Speaker Richard Perkins, D-Henderson, said the legislation was introduced because some worker compensation providers are giving firefighters the runaround over whether they are covered.

“The worst thing about this bill is that it’s already the law,” he said. “Our colleague (Oceguera) had to bring this bill because there are entities not following the law.”

Only Hettrick and Knecht voted against the bill, which now goes to the Senate.