(Girdwood, AK) – Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy Saturday signed Senate Bill 131 (SB 131), providing firefighters statewide with expanded workers’ compensation disability coverage. The bill signing ceremony took place at the Girdwood Fire Department, Station 41, and was attended by bill sponsor Senator Roger Holland and members of the Girdwood Fire Department, Alaska State Firefighters Association, and Alaska Fire Chief Association.
“Alaska’s firefighters regularly risk their lives for their neighbors and community. It is important they know the State values their efforts, and Senate Bill 131 exemplifies that gratitude. With this bill, our firefighters will now have expanded workers’ compensation disability coverage should they face a cancer diagnosis and can receive impairment and death benefit payments that are commiserate with their line of work and sacrifice” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Thank you, Senator Holland, for your work on this important bill, and thank you to our firefighters for continuing to run toward danger when others run away.”
Senate Bill 131 recognizes the impact and exposure of harmful, carcinogenic chemicals which firefighters may be exposed to, adding breast cancer to the presumptive cancers covered by workers’ compensation disability. Additionally, the bill increases the workers’ compensation permanent partial impairment and death benefit payments.
“It has been my pleasure to work on behalf of the dedicated firefighters across our state to provide additional coverage for breast cancer and other cancers to the list of workers’ compensation disability coverages for firefighters who have been exposed to toxic carcinogens while in the line of duty,” said Senator Roger Holland. “Thank you, firefighters, volunteers, and first responders for your unwavering, tireless response to the many calls for help from our community. We know you are doing all you can to protect Alaskans, continuing to put yourselves in dangerous circumstances to save the lives of our neighbors. Senate Bill 131 is just a small way to support these women and men in the firefighter service.”