FOP Seeks To Recognize PTSD As Workers’ Comp Injury, Faces Resistance
News 9 - April 13, 2022 8:04 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY –
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a growing problem for law enforcement officers, but it’s not covered by workers’ compensation benefits in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police president Mark Nelson said he and his team have been working on this bill – House Bill 3899 — for six years.
They said they want to find a resolution for first responders, but it’s facing resistance from one lawmaker.
“What that tells me is that [they] are going to say, ‘We support you,” Nelson said. “But when it comes to getting you the help you need and deserve, it’s a whole other conversation.”
Nelson said it’s important to treat mental illnesses like PTSD with the same weight as a physical injury.
Nelson, along with Rep. Chris Kannady, said Sen. Julie Daniels (R-Bartlesville) refuses to bring House Bill 3899 up for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee despite it having support from all state representatives.
Senator Julie Daniels told News 9 she supports both law enforcement and first responders but doesn’t think this bill is the best way to get them the help they need.
“We all know that they do a job most of us could never do,” Daniels said. “But in my view, it is a difference in the best policy to address the issue. I think better healthcare benefits, the wellness initiative of the governor, and many other things we are talking about with first responders right now is a much better way to achieve the best outcome.”
Nelson said it shouldn’t be an either/or choice: It can be both.
Thursday is the last day for bills to pass out of committee, meaning the bill could stop there.
The FOP said they will continue to push for more conversations and will look at any avenue they can with senate leadership to find a resolution.