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State Senator

Saud Anwar

Representing East Hartford, Ellington, East Windsor and South Windsor

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Sen. Anwar Supports PTSD Coverage for Police and Firefighters

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State Senator Saud Anwar speaks with Trish Buchanan, wife of East Hartford Police Officer Paul Buchanan and advocate for first responder post-traumatic stress disorder support, Wednesday before the Senate’s Thursday approval of legislation on the topic.

HARTFORD – The state Senate took the first step today toward providing Connecticut’s police officers and firefighters with workers’ compensation coverage for the emotional and mental injuries they suffer on the job after witnessing some particularly horrible trauma.

Senate Bill 164, “An Act Including Certain Mental or Emotional Impairments Within the Definition of Personal Injury Under the Workers’ Compensation Statutes,” passed the Senate today on a 35-0 vote; it now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The bill essentially expands the definition of ‘personal injury’ in state workers’ compensation laws to include so-called “mental-mental” injuries (a mental injury without an accompanying physical injury), as of July 1, 2019. The new provisions are expected to cover an estimated 36,000 state and local employees, including 26,800 firefighters, 8,180 police officers, 958 state police officers and 140 parole officers.

“The most significant injuries are sometimes the ones that are not physically visible,” said Sen. Anwar. “The experiences our first responders have, including our police officers, firefighters, Department of Corrections workers and EMS workers, lead them to wear pain and suffering underneath their badges. We are indebted to Trish Buchanan, wife of East Hartford Police Officer Paul Buchanan, for bringing to light the much-needed recognition and understanding of post-traumatic stress in first responders. I am honored to co-sponsor this legislation with Senator Cathy Osten; it allows us, as a state, to bring that recognition further to make sure that our police officers and firefighters are protected.”

SB 164 allows workers’ compensation benefits to be paid to police, volunteer or full-time firefighters, and parole officers diagnosed with PTS and who experience a number of traumatic events. With a last-minute amendment, the bill also requires the Labor and Public Employees Committee to study the cost and impact of adding emergency medical services personnel and certain Department of Correction Employees to the list of potentially covered employees.

 

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