Ohio lawmakers at odds over PTSD coverage for cops, firefighters

Cops and firefighters suffering from PTSD want the condition covered by Ohio’s workers’ compensation system — something the Ohio House included in the BWC budget bill but the Senate stripped out.

Now the House and Senate are at loggerheads over which version of the bill should become law.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is a state run insurance program for injured workers that pays their lost wages and medical expenses. It is funded by employer premiums and investment returns.

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Senators said they prefer to deal with the issue of covering post traumatic stress disorder as a standalone bill.

“We were very disappointed to learn that the Ohio Senate removed the PTSD provision from the Ohio BWC budget,” said the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio in a tweet. “We have been leading this effort to get first responders protected by this for years and the FOP of Ohio will not stop fighting for our members!”

Police and firefighters argue that they are exposed to trauma on the job but there is no help for them to cope with the mental toll that takes. Ohio has more than 30,000 police officers and firefighters.

The Senate also removed House-backed policy changes, such as requiring injured workers to declare their immigration status on claims forms.

Related: Injured workers may have to declare immigration status to get workers’ comp benefits

It is one of three major bills that lawmakers are trying to finish before July 1 when the new state fiscal year starts.

Legislators are expected to work through the weekend to pass the two-year state operating budget bill. The Senate and House members disagree over tax, education and health care policies embedded in the 3,200-page bill.

And senators are considering an energy bill to bail out two aging nuclear power plants. First Energy Solutions wants lawmakers to decide on House Bill 6 by June 30 so it can either start decommissioning the plants or order new fuel supplies.

Related: Ohio Senate leaders want to cut energy rates, keep nuclear plants open

Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, said the House version of the energy bill would save ratepayers money while it’s unclear that the Senate version would do so.

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