|Posted:||December 5, 2022 09:59 AM|
|From:||Representative Dan L. Miller|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Insurance Coverage for All Police Officers|
|Being a police officer is not an easy job, and whether you are a full-time or a part-time officer, you take the same risks with the same level of professional expectations.
However, many of our part-time officers are not only asked to protect and serve, but to do so without health insurance benefits. This is horribly wrong. It also can be problematic. Because health insurance, disability coverage, or survivor benefits are not required, many part-time officers are forced to work multiple jobs to try to scrape together the money they need to be sure they and their family can afford to get sick. Even worse, the demands of juggling two or three jobs combined with the worry of not having appropriate insurance can lead to unnecessary stress, which, in the worst of scenarios, can lead to accidents or impaired judgment.
This bill requires all police officers in the Commonwealth to be provided health insurance, disability coverage, and survivor benefits no matter how many hours they spend a week wearing a badge.
I recognize that for some jurisdictions this change may alter budgets. Nevertheless, it is simply the right thing to do. No officer protecting our neighborhoods should have to fear the cost of their child needing an x-ray. I just cannot accept that our budget constraints should shortchange our first responders. Public safety (police, fire, and EMS) is a core (if not the core) of local municipal government. And we cannot balance our budgets on the backs of those who are asked to risk it all for us every day of the week.
It is possible that this bill would foster more discussions about increasing full time police officers and perhaps regionalization or consolidation of some forces. These are conversations that in my mind and for a variety of reasons, should occur. Accordingly, my bill as written would not to go into effect until January 2024.
Please join me in getting the backs of our women and men in law enforcement by making sure they will have these basic benefits.
Introduced as HB189