COLUMBUS — A bill being introduced in the state legislature would provide COVID-19 bonuses for law enforcement and first responders up to $1,000, Rep. Phil Plummer (R-Ohio) announced this morning.
Plummer, who is a former Montgomery County Sheriff, and Rep. Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) are expected to introduce the bill on Wednesday.
If passed, the bill would provide a one-time bonus to police, firefighters, state troopers, deputies, Ohio BCI agents, jail officers and volunteer firefighters.
Those who have been continuous employees and have not been subject to any disciplinary action since March 1, 2020 would be eligible for a bonus, Riedel said.
Full-time employees would receive a $1,000 bonus and part-time employees would receive $500 under the proposal.
The approximately $83 million needed to fund the bill would come from federal money the state would need to use from the American Rescue Plan, Reidel and Plummer said.
“This is the federal dollars we have to spend,” Plummer said.
“What we’re saying in Ohio is we have your back,” Riedel said. “If you believe in respect for authority, then come to Ohio, because we do too.”
Plummer said nurses and doctors are not being included in the proposed bill.
“Law enforcement officers don’t work in a controlled environment,” Plummer said. “They don’t know what they’re getting into.”
Plummer did thank healthcare workers for their roles in the pandemic.
“God bless those people, they did a great job also,” Plummer said, acknowledging he has several family members who work in the healthcare field.
The payouts of the bonuses, if the bill passes and is signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine, would be administered by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said he wrote a letter to representatives last week asking for a bill like the one being proposed. Yost said the bill is being introduced at “pretty much light speed.”
“I’ve been around law enforcement for most of my professional career,” Yost said. “I’ve never seen morale as low as it is now.”