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First responder bills continue to trend in the 2023 legislative season



Two states have introduced bills that would clear up the red tape for first responders to file presumptive workers’ compensation claims.

Virginia lawmakers on Tuesday introduced HB 1905, which would create a presumption of death or disability from back, hip, knee and neck injuries for first responders who have worn a “duty belt” for at least five years. The bill defines a duty belt as a belt used to hold a firearm, handcuffs or other wrist restraints, baton, stun gun, portable radio, pepper spray, ammunition magazine, tourniquet and other items related to law enforcement work.

HB 1775, also introduced Tuesday in Virginia and sent to committee, would add anxiety disorders and depression to compensable psychological injuries suffered by those in law enforcement, putting such conditions on par with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of a qualifying witnessed event while in the service. Language in SB 904, introduced Jan. 5, would also add such disorders to the state̵

7;s PTSD presumption. That bill would also add dispatchers to qualified professionals, as would a separate bill filed Monday, SB 1088.

Similarly, Connecticut HB 5184, filed Wednesday and sent to committee, would add 911 dispatchers to the state’s PTSD presumption law for first responders.


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