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Burgum signs new law on eligibility of police and firefighters for workers' compensation

Dave Thompson

A bill signed by Gov. Doug Burgum will expand workers compensation benefits for police and firefighters.

State law had required those officers to have worked in North Dakota for five years before they would be covered by Workforce Safety and Insurance for such things as cardiac events and cancer treatments. Lawmakers from West Fargo introduced a bill to make a change, after a firefighter and a police officer suffered heart attacks. Both had been in North Dakota less than 5 years -- but had experience in other states.

Burgum signed the bill Monday.

"If you've worked in law enforcement, if you've been a firefighter in another state and moved to North Dakota, you will know you're not going to have to wait five years to get the support and the coverage you need for you and your family," Burgum said at a state Capitol signing ceremony. "This is a real signal we're sending."

State Workforce Safety and Insurance Director Art Thompson said North Dakota is now the only state in the country with this benefit level for the men and women who put on law enforcement uniforms and firefighting gear.

The bill -- HB 1279 -- passed both houses unanimously. It took effect right after Burgum signed it.

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