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Gov. Scott in Tampa today to sign first responder bill

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Governor Rick Scott will be in Tampa today to sign a bill into law that aims to help Florida first responders who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Florida lawmakers passed the bill extending workers’ compensation benefits for first responders to include treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Florida House of Representatives voted unanimously for the legislation (SB 376) .

Lawmakers have heard stories of firefighters and police officers who have taken their own lives or can no longer do their jobs because of repeated exposure to horrific deaths and tragedies, but they don’t have benefits that include treatment for PTSD.

Right now workers’ compensation benefits only cover physical injuries.

Tampa firefighter Steve LaDue committed suicide. His sister, Megan Vila, pushed for a change to first responder benefits. “We all grieved. This was my opportunity to grieve my brother and honor him because he was my hero,” said Vila. 

The bill was the top legislative priority of Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis, who issued a statement thanking the legislature for its passage.

The law takes effect October 1.

Governor Scott will sign the bill at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Tampa Firefighter Museum located at 720 Zack Street. 

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