NASHVILLE – (April 21) The General Assembly passed the James ‘Dustin’ Samples Act, which seeks to provide support to firefighters following a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis. This is a legislative initiative funded by the General Assembly.
Sponsored by Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) and Representative Johnny Garrett (R-Goodlettsville), the legislation makes clear that a firefighter’s PTSD diagnosis connected to one or more calls of a particularly traumatic nature is presumed to be an injury suffered in the course of employment and qualifies for resources through their workers’ compensation benefits plan.
The bill establishes a grant program to mitigate the cost to an employer providing worker’s compensation for firefighters diagnosed with PTSD. In order to qualify for the grant, employers must provide mental health resiliency training as part of their continuing education program.
The bill is named in honor of Captain James ‘Dustin’ Samples of the Cleveland Fire Department, who tragically committed suicide in 2020 after a years-long struggle with PTSD.