BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - On Friday, April 6, state lawmakers moved forward a bill that aims to improve insurance benefits for severely injured first responders.
Senate Bill 261 is nicknamed the "Nick Tullier Bill" after East Baton Rouge Parish Deputy Nick Tullier, who was left permanently disabled after he and several law enforcement officers were ambushed almost two years ago.
This bill provides insurance benefits to firefighters and police who are permanently disabled in a situation where there was an intent to kill a first responder in the line of duty. The author of the bill, Senator Dale Erdey, says Tullier was covered under an East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office health insurance policy, but because he can't go back to work, he had to retire. Tullier was then forced to enroll in an insurance plan through the Health Marketplace, but it expires in 18 months.
Erdey wants to make sure first responders like Tullier continue to have full coverage and have access to physical therapy after their plan ends. "That concerns all of us at the legislature, to be able to protect those that who are out there protecting us. This is just one way in which we can show our compassion," said Erdey.
This plan, paid for through the state's self insurance fund, will make sure qualifying officers will continue to have their co-pays, premiums, and deductibles paid for while they focus on recovery.
The bill will now move to the House floor.