The Louisiana Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee considered HB285 by Rep. Robert Billiot on Thursday morning. HB285 would provide for benefits for volunteer reserve police officers and deputies; to provide medical benefits for injured reserve police officers and deputies; as well as definitions and related matters.
The measure has already passed the House, with an amendment on the House Floor that clarifies that municipalities may offer benefits with their own discretionary funds. Previous opposition to the bill was centered upon the “shall” language in the bill, which could be interpreted to mean that municipalities would be forced to provide benefits to volunteer police officers within their already cash-strapped budgets. The workers’ comp benefits delineated in the bill do not include indemnity benefits for lost work, as the affected population is not paid.
Describing the bill as “self-explanatory” this morning, Rep. Billiot emphasized that municipalities may participate but that they will not be required to do so. With no further discussion related to the bill, it moved favorably without opposition.
The Committee meeting concluded with accolades for Senate Labor Chair Senator Neil Riser, who has led the Committee for eight years. Today was the last day that the Senate Labor Committee will meet this Session, meaning that any legislation originating in the House that has not been heard is dead for the Session. The Session officially concludes on June 6th.
Image Credit: NOLA.com