COLUMBUS – The Ohio House of Representatives has approved legislation providing $11 million in funding to help Southern Ohio communities that have been impacted by flooding.The appropriation was part of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation budget approved on Wednesday, according to State Representative Brian Baldridge (R-Winchester).
The funding will help Adams, Lawrence, Scioto and 23 other counties that had received state and federal disaster declarations in one or both major flooding events that has taken place over the past 18 months.
“This is important, especially in our smaller, rural communities, that don’t have large budgets,” said Baldridge, a former county commissioner and township trustee. “I’m glad we were able to provide this support to our local communities.”
Also included in the BWC budget bill is a provision to support our first responders.
Currently, peace officers, fire fighters and emergency medical workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits or compensation after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, but only if the PTSD is accompanied by a physical injury.
The workers’ compensation budget package passed Wednesday instead makes these first responders eligible following a PTSD diagnosis, regardless of whether there is a physical injury.
Baldridge, who spent many years working as a firefighter/paramedic, said the legislation will help provide support for first responders who are often in dangerous situations.
“As a firefighter paramedic, I have seen firsthand the impact to fellow first responders that have been effected by acute or cumulative traumatic events throughout their time of service,” said Baldridge. “This is a chance to help the people who help us in our time of need.”