HELENA, Mont. - A Montana legislative committee has voted against a bill to set up a fund for firefighters who develop lung diseases as a result of their duties.
The House Business and Labor Committee tabled the measure Wednesday after Chairman Mark Noland said firefighters chose their jobs "with their eyes wide open."
Rep. Casey Schreiner, a Democrat on the panel, said he was disgusted and the committee effectively told firefighters it's their fault if they get sick.
The measure would establish that firefighters diagnosed with certain diseases are presumed to have gotten their disease while on the job.
They would be eligible for benefits from a presumptive disease compensation fund if their claims are denied by workers' compensation insurance.
The measure by Republican Sen. Pat Connell of Hamilton already passed the Senate. The House could still revive it this session.
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