Controversy surrounds PTSD bill for first responders

A group is pushing for a bill that would compensate first responders for wages lost during treatment for post traumatic stress disorder.

Under current law, first responders must have a physical injury to qualify for workers’ compensation, according to WTSP.

HB 227 has already received some pushback from the Florida League of Cities, a group that represents a number of Florida cities including Cape Coral.

“Unfortunately, our tax payers are ultimately going to have to fund any new benefit and so cost has to be a part of the discussion at some point. So we’re bringing up the cost associated with the new benefit,” said David Cruz, the legislative counsel to Florida League of Cities.

But Rep. Katie Edwards-Walpole, (D), of Fort Lauderdale, isn’t buying it.

“I find it distasteful, I find it lacking in humanity, and I find it just downright shameful. The position to say that this bill is not necessary,” Edwards-Walpole said.

At first the City of Cape Coral opposed the bill, but the city’s public affairs manager Connie Barron released the following statement Friday stating they initially based their decision on inaccurate information.

“Our opposition to HB 227 was based solely on information provided by the Florida League of Cities stating the PTSD benefit already was available to first responders without restriction, which was not accurate … At this time, we see no reason to oppose this legislation.”

Reporter:Oliver Redsten
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