PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island lawmakers have approved a bill to award disability pensions to firefighters who develop heart conditions.
The measure was approved Tuesday during a rare fall session, sending it to Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo.
Raimondo has expressed concerns. Treasurer Seth Magaziner had urged lawmakers to reject it.
The bill says if a firefighter who worked for at least three years can’t perform their duties because of heart disease, it’s presumed that their duties caused it.
Magaziner says this would force the state to award accidental disability pensions to all firefighters with disabling heart conditions, regardless of the opinions of independent doctors or lifestyle considerations.
Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says firefighters suffer heart disease at greater rates because of the stresses of their job and it’s appropriate to compensate them.