Hometown Heroes Act affording health assistance to Minnesota firefighters included in final Judiciary budget

The Minnesota Senate today approved final passage of a comprehensive Judiciary and Public Safety budget that funds core functions of government, and prioritizes the safety of all Minnesotans. Included in this bill is legislation authored by Senator Jeff Howe (R-Rockville) that addresses the alarmingly high incidence of cancer, cardiac issues, and emotional trauma facing firefighters across the state. Minnesota currently has 22,000 firefighters that stand to benefit from this important health assistance.

“I have watched many of my fellow firefighters suffer and die at the hands of cancer and heart disease—many of whom developed these health issues as a result of their frontline service,” said Sen. Howe. “These are selfless men and women that put their lives on the line to assist others. These are the folks we call when we’re in trouble, and the least we can do is take care of them when they’re ailing.

This bill will establish “Critical Care” grants for all Minnesota firefighters diagnosed with cancer or cardiac issues. These grants will provide monetary support to firefighters and will fund the development of counseling programs.

Additionally, the grant will also be used for ongoing MnFIRE Awareness training for Minnesota firefighters. This training will be provided to all firefighters in the state annually, and will focus on cancer, heart disease, and emotional trauma as causes of illness and death for firefighters.

“I was honored to carry this bill, and I hope that families of firefighters will find solace in this legislation and know that we are looking out for them. I am glad that we were able to get this funding across the finish line—these heroes deserve it,” finished Howe.