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Winner/loser of the week in Florida politics: April 21 edition

Firefighters overcome an obstacle. Department of Corrections gets blasted.

Winner of the week

St. Petersburg firefighters work to extinguish a structure fire of a single family home located in 2017 in St. Petersburg. [CHRIS URSO | Times]

Florida firefighters. It took four years, but it looks like the state’s firefighters will get cancer classified as an occupational hazard that will qualify for full health insurance coverage, including disability and death benefits. Florida House Speaker José Oliva initially opposed the legislation, but relented after a whisper campaign suggested he was playing politics. It still has to pass the Legislature and get signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, but Oliva, is backing it now. “After many many years, this is the year it gets done,” Oliva tweeted last week.

Loser of the week

Florida Department of Corrections photo of Wakulla Correctional Institution Florida Department of Corrections located in Crawfordville, Fl

Department of Corrections. Not known for its winning ways, even last week was a tough one for Florida’s prison system of about 100,000 inmates. In a stinging 68-page order, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled Thursday night the department skimped on the health care of inmates who had hepatitis C infections because the drugs used to cure it were too expensive. Walker blasted the department for indifference that he called another chapter in its “long and sordid history of neglecting” inmates. The remedy could end up costing in the millions.