- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A bill that would expand worker’s compensation benefits for Idaho’s professional firefighters has won Senate backing.

The bill approved Tuesday would cover illnesses linked to exposure to contaminants while on the job.

Nampa Republican Sen. Curt McKenzie says it can be tough for firefighters to prove illnesses like cancer were caused by years of breathing in chemicals while battling fires.

McKenzie’s bill would shift that burden of proof to the government.

The state would still have a chance to rebut if there’s suspicion an illness stems from something else.

Some lawmakers opposed the bill, saying it was unfair to leave out volunteer firefighters who often work in the same spaces and conditions but don’t stand to receive any benefits from McKenzie’s proposal.

The bill will now travel to the House.