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Protecting the men and women who protect us
by Senator Jack Wagner

As a Marine Corps combat veteran of the Vietnam War and as a former paramedic, I understand the importance of supporting our military personnel and first responders. To that end, I have introduced Senate Bill 1089 to provide death benefits for the families of National Guard members, firefighters, ambulance service or rescue squad members, and law enforcement officers who suffer a fatal heart attack or stroke while on duty or less than 24 hours after participating in a physical training exercise or responding to an emergency.

I have introduced two other bills to strengthen benefits and training specifically for firefighters. Senate Bill 1088 would extend workersí compensation benefits to firefighters for diseases caused by chemical exposure. Senate Bill 1082 would create the Municipal Firefighter Education and Training Program, modeled after a similar program that currently trains police officers.

Last spring, I fought to give military personnel the right to cancel their housing rental agreements without the financial penalty when new orders take them away from home, whether those orders are given in wartime or not. I am proud to have helped move this bill out of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and onto the Governorís desk. Fittingly, the bill became law on Independence Day 2004 as Act 65 of 2004.

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