Dale Erdey

BATON ROUGE – A Senate Committee on Tuesday will address a bill by a Livingston Parish senator  which would provide benefits for firefighters and law enforcement officers with permanent and total disability resulting from a catastrophic injury sustained in the line of duty.

Senate Judiciary Committee B will discuss Senate Bill 222, authored by state Sen. Dale Erdey, R-Livingston, would mandate that eligibility would come through the approval of the Law Enforcement Officers and Firemen’s Survivor Benefit Review Board.

The bill defines “catastrophic injury” as an injury caused “by an individual having the specific intent to kill an officer who is engaged in the performance of his official duties, the direct and proximate consequences of which permanently prevent the officer from performing any gainful work.”

Under the proposed law, the employing authority would notify the Law Enforcement Officers and Survivor Benefit Review Board of the disability, the date of the catastrophic injury which led to the disability, circumstances surrounding the injury and any other information requested by the board.

It would also require the board hear and decide by unanimous vote for all claims of disability benefits within 60 days after documentation.

In the event of a denial, the officer would have one year from the date of the denial to file suit against the state through the board in the parish where the incident of permanent and total disability occurred.

Erdey sponsored the bill less than a year after multiple gunshot wounds  left East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier, a Livingston Parish resident, disabled in a police ambush that killed three officers and wounded two others. Tullier continues to make progress in rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Center in Houston.

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