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March 21, 2019
Presumptive Illness Legislation
Posted On: Jan 15, 2011

Brothers and Sisters,


I wanted to update you on our quest for presumptive illness legislation. As you may or may not know the PFFI has spent nearly a decade on updating our state laws regarding occupational illness and disease. For the last three years myself, Mike Walker, Grant Hamilton, and Ron Davies have spent countless hours and long meetings trying to make Idaho the 43rd state to give our Firefighters well defined laws regarding our health and safety. Our goal was to run legislation this year that was very similar to that of New Mexico.


Last fall the IAFF sent a Doctor out to help us testify at the Industrial Commissions, Work Comp Advisory Board. We had great success and our issue was sent to a subcommittee. Walker and I felt very confident going into the subcommittee hearing but were in essence ambushed by lawyers and lobbyists for the insurance industry. After over two hours of fighting back one attack after another, we felt fortunate that the group did not make an immediate decision regarding our proposal (it would have been against it). Instead they scheduled another subcommittee meeting to allow us to gather and present some information not available at that meeting.  We left very frustrated over the lack of respect for the health and safety of our firefighters, but regrouped and prepared for the next meeting which took place yesterday.  This time we were well equipped, having our attorney Richard Owen there in person and the Doctor and an expert in firefighter safety from the IAFF attending via conference call. Our meeting had a much better ending.


I don't feel that we are ever going to get a 100% buy off from the subcommittee or the Work Comp Advisory Board, if we leave there with some support and a neutral stance, I will feel very good. Walker and I are meeting with some key players of that board and we are going to tweak the current purposed drafts that we have. We feel that it was a small success in getting the group to agree to one more subcommittee meeting where we will present our updated draft which addresses many of the objections that were raised.  Unfortunately this delays pursuing this in the legislature until next year, but it provides us a much stronger foundation to work from when we run it next session.


The over all goal is not just to have a law that grants us presumption if one of us gets cancer or has a stroke. We are pushing the fact that this change in state law will build an overall healthier work force and lengthen the lives of our firefighters. This legislation is truly one that we all need and will benefit from.



Rob Shoplock

CDA Fire Fighters
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