AUGUSTA – Senate President Troy Jackson of Allagash testified in support of a bill from Rep. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth, to better protect female firefighters during a public hearing before the Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee on Wednesday. The measure – L.D. 213, An Act To Require Coverage for Female Firefighters Facing Reproductive System Cancer – would ensure female firefighters receive cancer coverage for reproductive system cancers.
Currently, prostate and testicular cancers are covered under the Workers Compensation Act of 1992, while female reproductive system cancer is not.
“The men and women who run towards a burning building while the rest of us run away deserve the same basic care and protection for health conditions developed or exposed to on the job. This is a matter of equity,” said Senate President Troy Jackson of Allagash. “It is clear to me that our state laws need to be updated to better care for female firefighters who put themselves in harm’s way to keep us all safe. I’m grateful that Rep. Millett has brought this bill forward and I hope the committee will join me in supporting this responsible reform.”
Other states already offer cancer coverage to female firefighters. Millett wants to be sure Maine’s female firefighters aren’t taking on more risk than their male counterparts by being left out of certain types of cancer care.
“They’re protecting our communities. We need to protect them, too,” said bill author Rep. Millett, “We want to make sure female firefighters get the cancer care they need. Right now, prostate cancer is protected while cervical cancer is not. This law will catch Maine up to the fact that female firefighters are serving on many Maine fire departments in 2021 and are just as deserving of cancer care as their male counterparts.”
LD 213 faces additional votes in the Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee.