- Associated Press - Monday, January 16, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Montana firefighters are again hoping legislators can pass a bill to make it easier for them to secure workers’ compensation.

Lee Newspapers of Montana reports that the legislation would make it easier for firefighters to receive coverage for lung diseases caused by their job, but the measure has failed several times in recent years. The proposal is already law in most states.

Many firefighters are denied coverage for serious illnesses because they develop from long-term exposure rather than a single incident like breaking a leg in a fall. Republican Sen. Pat Connell of Hamilton says firefighters should not have to prove that their illness was caused by exposure to on-the-job hazards because scientific evidence has shown the connection.

The bill would require coverage unless the insurer can prove something else caused the illness.

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