SB 95, also known as the "Line of Duty Act," was sponsored by Sen. Fred Quayle (R-Suffolk) with a similar bill sponsored in the House of Delegates by former Virginia State Trooper Bill Carrico (R-Independence).
The bill is good news for those who constantly put their lives on the line for fellow Virginians. In part, the bill reads:
Provides that a state police officer who incurs a work-related injury in the line of duty shall receive supplemental short-term disability coverage providing income replacement for 100 percent of the officer's creditable compensation for the first six months and, pursuant to a certification by the Superintendent of State Police, based on a medical evaluation, that the officer is likely to return to service within another six months up to one calendar year. At the end of the one-year period, the officer would be eligible for supplemental long-term disability benefits, which provide income replacement at 60 percent of the officer's creditable compensation.Currently, an eligible employee may received short-term disability benefits for a maximum of 125 days before receiving the 60% long-term disability benefits.
After signing the legislation into law, Governor McDonnell remarked:
“Virginia’s law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day they report for duty. It is their selfless service and heroism that helps to ensure Virginia’s streets and neighborhoods remain safe. Understanding the dangers of their job, it is critical that we provide adequate support should they be injured in the line of duty. SB95 enables our state police to fully recover from line of duty incidents and have financial security while doing so. Our state police officers are some of the finest men and women serving Virginia. It is important we do everything we can to adequately provide for them in times of need and help them recover and return to work.”Del. Bill Carrico, who knows all too well the dangers that face State Troopers on a daily basis, added:
“Virginia State Police officers are there for us, every day and every hour. When they need us, we should be there for them. With this legislation we are extending short term disability benefits, but, more than that, we are extending the thanks of a grateful Commonwealth. Public safety is the foremost priority of government, and this legislation further demonstrates that we will not forget that simple truth in Virginia.”The need for such legislation was even more evident after the harsh winter of 2009-10 when over a dozen State Police officers were injured on the job.
Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent, was grateful as he noted, “On behalf of the state police, I thank the patrons who enabled this legislation to become a reality for our sworn law enforcement personnel.”
Cross-posted at The Washington Examiner