Idaho's First Responders who suffer psychological injuries will now be eligible for Workers Compensation thanks to a new bill signed into law Tuesday.The process took almost a year to get both houses of the legislature and both political parties to come up with an agreement.  House Minority Leader Boise Democrat Matt Erpelding shared his thoughts on helping First Responders.

“We depend on our police, fire, dispatchers and emergency workers every day. This is going to improve their health and everyone’s safety.” Erpelding said. “This legislation is long overdue. I am grateful for the part my colleagues on both sides of aisle played in getting this bill passed. As elected leaders, we can never forget how vital Idaho’s first responders are to our well-being.”

The Senate passed the bill 31-4, while the House passed it 59-10.  Before the new law was passed, First Responders could only file for claims if there was a corresponding physical injury, reports the Idaho Press.

The new bill will help ease the strain put on the families of First Responders.  Democrat Representative Brooke Greene is married to an Ada County Sherriff's deputy.  She shares that this bill, protecting First Responders, influenced her decision to seek public office.

“As a first responders’ spouse we are the first line of defense and see the toll this job can take on our loved one. One of the main reasons I ran for office was to do something about this problem and to be a voice for our law enforcement families. On a personal level, voting for the First Responders Bill was one of the most important things I’ve done since joining the House.”

The bipartisan backers of the bill hope that the new law will expand the public's knowledge of the challenges of being a First Responder.

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