BOISE — Gov. Brad Little signed into law Tuesday a bill that allows first responders to file for workers' compensation for treatment of work-related psychological injuries.
House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, worked for a year to put the legislation on the governor’s desk.
Previously, in Idaho, first responders could file for workers’ compensation for post-traumatic stress injuries only if there was an accompanying physical injury. That means first responders must pay out of pocket and use their own vacation time for any treatment they receive for a post-traumatic stress injury. Proponents of the bill argued that cost kept first responders from seeking the help they needed.
Under the new law, police, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders will be able to file for workers’ compensation if they could demonstrate “clear and convincing evidence of a mental injury” related to their work, according to the bill.
The legislation enjoyed a great deal of support at the Idaho State Capitol, passing the Senate 31 — 4 and, a few weeks later, sailing through the House with a 59-10 vote.