House Republicans fail to protect firefighters who protect us
HELENA -- House Republicans had one last chance to do the right thing for the health and well-being of the many firefighters in Montana who keep all of us safe on Thursday. But they failed -- again.
Rep. Casey Schreiner, D-Great Falls, tried to blast Senate Bill 72, out of committee and onto the floor of the House, but partisan politics by Republicans resulted in a vote against Montana’s firefighters. The bill needed 60 votes to make it to the floor. It failed 55-45 with Republicans being the only no votes.
SB 72, first introduced by a Republican in the Senate, sailed through the Republican-controlled Senate as a measure to provide presumptive coverage for illnesses firefighters face due to the perils of their job.
House Democrats tried to revive the bill two weeks ago in honor of Great Falls Firefighter Jason Baker, who is battling stage four lung cancer right now. But Republican Reps. Fred Anderson and Jeremy Trebas of Great Falls who originally told firefighters they would support the legislation withdrew their support.
“Montana’s firefighters have our backs day in and day out when they risk their lives to protect ours. It’s beyond time our state has their backs,” said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “But House Republicans are once again choosing partisan politics over the life, safety and well-being of our hard-working firefighters.”