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Workers' Comp for Nebraska First-Responders Fails

JEMS.com Editor's Note: Do you think first responders who suffer mental trauma from on-the-job experiences should receive workers' compensation benefits? Read the story and comment below.

OMAHA, Neb. -- The Nebraska Legislature balked Thursday at providing workers' compensation benefits to Nebraska police officers, firefighters and other first responders who suffer mental trauma due to especially horrific experiences on the job.

Legislative Bill 1082 fell three votes short of the 25 needed to advance from second-round consideration.

In its original version, the bill would have provided workers' compensation benefits to any employee who witnessed or was a victim of a violent crime. It was narrowed during first-round debate to cover only first-responders.

Current state law bars people from getting workers' compensation benefits for mental trauma, unless the trauma is accompanied by physical injuries.

State Sen. Abbie Cornett of Bellevue, LB 1082's sponsor, said she would ask for the bill to be rescheduled but is not optimistic. The Legislature is set to adjourn for the year next week.

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