BOISE — Dozens of firefighters and other first responders celebrated a victory in the statehouse Thursday.
"There were some tears from some big men and women hugging each other that were very excited," said Dennis Doan, Boise City Fire Chief.
With 59 votes in favor and 10 votes against, the House passed Senate Bill 1028, which would require worker's compensation to cover treatment for psychological trauma sustained by first responders while on the job.
"I recently was at a fire station and a firefighter was a little curt with me almost. We went in to the office to talk about it, and he broke down and said, 'I've seen too many children die this week,'" said Doan.
Those against the bill have argued claims would be yet another expense for state taxpayers. Doan disagrees.
"Things like this have led to drug abuse, to prescription drug abuse, to alcohol abuse, because we're not taking care of it quickly and early. That is manifesting into things that are costing us money anyway," said Doan. "In fact, firefighters may leave the job because of behavioral problems, whereas if we could get some counseling early, we could actually save some money."
The bill is now on its way to its final pitstop, Governor Little's desk.
"I'm fairly confident that he will support this bill and sign it, and then it will become law on July 1."