DATE: 6.10.19 CONTACT: SENATOR GATTI STATE SENATOR...
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: 6.10.19 CONTACT: SENATOR GATTI PHONE: 318.746.0861 / 844.824.6937
STATE SENATOR RYAN GATTI’S “PTSD” BILL WINS UNANIMOUS APPROVAL BY BOTH HOUSES OF THE LEGISLATURE
Senate Bill 107, introduced by District 36 State Senator Ryan Gatti (R-Bossier City) received unanimous approval by both houses of the legislature. The bill adds post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, to the list of covered injuries under public employee benefits, allowing public personnel such as policemen, firefighters and first responders to seek coverage for their illness under Louisiana workers’ compensation. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, PTSD affects about 3.5 percent of adult Americans and that percentage is even higher for first reponders. “If PTSD is caught early enough, it is not disabling,” stated Senator Gatti. “So many of our policemen and firefighters are suffering from this illness and are not getting the treatment they need. This bill will allow them access to early professional help.”
Senate and House Committee hearings on PTSD included heartfelt testimony from Matt Kinney, Matt Lauterbach, Autry Lowry, Mark Stewart, Chad Major, Clay Morgan, and Danny Adams.
Chad Major, President of the Professional Firefighters Association of Louisiana stated,
“Friday, May 31st marks a day that all Citizens of Louisiana should be proud of. Senate Bill 107 sponsored by Senator Ryan Gatti (R) Bossier City received its final approval in the senate and is now headed to Governor John Bel Edwards desk to be signed into law. The bill provides coverage under workers Comp for police officers, state troopers, firefighters, EMS professionals and volunteers who are diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorders. Over the last several years there have been more deaths by suicide amongst these professions than there have been deaths in the line of duty. In addition, divorce rates range between 70%-80% in the first responder population. The effects of what these men and women see within the scope of their duties takes a psychological toll on each of them. They often see things that non-public safety people could never fathom. The trauma that these individuals witness either in a single event or
witnessing multiple traumatic events over a period of time is processed differently by each individual. When one of these women or men get to the point that they cannot cope with the things that they have witnessed, and they are diagnosed with PTSD by a psychiatrist or psychologist their road to recovery will now be expedited so that they can learn the coping mechanisms to address their condition and subsequently assume a normal healthy life and career. Senator Gatti has been a constant champion for those who put their lives on the line for their fellow man each and every day. ‘For God hath no greater love than this; than for one who will lay his life down for his brothers.’ Thank you Senator Gatti for being a man of God, and thank you for being an advocate for those of us who serve!”
Many stakeholders testified in House and Senate Committee. Senator Gatti would like to
thank those who came and showed their support:
Courtney Butcher Troy Prevot Gary Patureau Shane Spillman David Young Julie Cherry Jonathan Knight Corey Sharp Darrell Basco Curtis Beauregard Charles Davoli Nick Felton Jonathan Pizzolato Adam Kimble Louis Reine Brennan Hood Jason Sanchez Michael Kimble Justin Kellogg Michael Paternostro Ernest Stephens Chad Major Matthew Kinney Autry Lowry Matt Lauterbach Ed Parker Peter Robins-Brown Michael Paternostro Cynthia Posey Derek Lowe
Senator Gatti would also like to thank those who handled and protected the bill as it traveled through each house of the legislature, Rep. Stagni, who handled the bill on the house floor and Rep. Tanner Magee for amending the bill to protect first responder rights, as well as Rep. Dodie Horton, Rep. Larry Bagely, Rep. Patrick Jefferson, Rep. Kenny Cox, and Rep. Barry Ivey, all of whom spoke on the house floor to protect the bill from adverse action.
Senate Bill 107 was signed by the Governor on June 5, 2019 and will become effective on August 1, 2019. To view SB 107 and Senator Gatti’s other bills, please visit www.legis.la.gov.
Governor John Bel Edwards signs Senate Bill 107 on June 5, 2019 with Senator Gatti and other stakeholders in attendance.