Public Safety Duty Disability Bill Amended, Passed by Key House Committee

April 11, 2022

The measure was amended to remove references to workers’ compensation statutes, among other changes, and then passed to the House State Government Finance and Elections Committee.

A bill that would implement some of the League’s legislative priorities for addressing trends related to public safety duty disability claims passed out of the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Committee on March 30.

The bill, which was amended by the committee, was passed to the House State Government Finance and Elections Committee, where it will likely be referred to the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement.

The bill, HF 4026 (Rep. Jamie Long, DFL-Minneapolis), relates to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and would implement measures aimed at prevention, treatment, and financial support for employees and employers. The committee amended the measure to include any mental injury sustained by a public safety officer.

The bill’s provisions

Key provisions in the bill as amended include that it:

  • Requires mental health treatment before an employee can file for a duty disability for a mental injury with the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA).
  • Fully reimburses employers for the cost of a continued health insurance benefit for disabled employees or dependents of those killed in the line of duty if the employer has implemented mental injury prevention measures.
  • Requires learning objectives and preservice training that “prepare peace officers for the stressful and traumatic events that are common to policing and teach officers methods to process and cope with the stress and trauma inherent to policing.”

Workers’ compensation provisions removed

Although the bill as introduced contained several provisions pertaining to workers’ compensation, references to that chapter of law were amended out of the bill due to objections by some labor representatives.

The original bill containing the workers’ compensation provisions will be discussed on April 12 by the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC), a panel of labor and business representatives under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. The WCAC is expected to react unfavorably to the initiative since it was not vetted there prior to being introduced. Public employers are not represented on the WCAC.

Senate companion status

The Senate companion, SF 3943 (Sen. Jeff Howe, R-Rockville), has not been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Labor and Industry Policy Committee, where it was referred upon introduction. Chief authors in the House and Senate have been convening meetings of stakeholders, including the League, and are advocating for legislative action during this session.

Your help needed

The League is encouraging city officials to urge legislative support for the bill. The League has a toolkit with resources for members to use when advocating on this legislation.

View the Public Safety PTSD Duty Disability Advocacy Toolkit

For more background information about this bill, read a previous article.

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