Iowa House Votes To Boost Benefits For 8649 Police, Firefighters

Des Moines, Iowa (RI) — The Iowa House has voted to ensure about 86-hundred police and firefighters who’re part of a statewide pension and disability system are covered for work-related injuries that developed over time.

Representative Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton says the bill also requires coverage for mental disorders.

(as said) “This bill is about equity and fairness for our cops and firefighters,”
Kaufmann says.

Kaufmann says the Iowa Public Employee Retirement System has the same benefits in place for state workers, teachers and other public employees. About four-thousand full-time police officers and firefighters are covered by the so-called 4-1-1 system. Nearly 46-hundred others who’ve retired or are no longer working as a firefighter or police officer get 4-1-1 benefits. Representative Dave Williams is from Waterloo, one of the 49 Iowa cities where public safety employees would be covered for phyiscal and mental conditions that develop over time.

(as asid) “So many times our public safety people go into these situations and then years later suffer the consequences,” Williams says.

Representative Mary Mascher of Iowa City says the benefit changes for these employees were approved by the House a year ago, but the bill was tabled when the legislature went on hiatus due to the pandemic.

(as said) “Our firefighters and police officers have been front-line workers throughout this pandemic,” Mascher says, “and I think we owe them a debt of gratitude in terms of their willingness to put their own lives at risk to save the lives of others.”

Just before the House voted on the bill, Representative Kaufmann acknowledged several firefighters and police officers covered by the 4-1-1 system who were in the House gallery, watching the debate.

(as said) “Those are our police officers and our firefighters that not only during the pandemic but also during the duration of their career have had our backs and are going to continue to have our backs,” Kaufmann said, “and so this is our way of saying, ‘Thank you, we’ve got yours.’“

The bill passed the House unanimously. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

The 411 system covers Ames, Ankeny, Bettendorf, Boone, Burlington, Camanche, Carroll (police only), Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Centerville, Charles City, Clinton, Clive (police only), Council Bluffs, Creston, Davenport, Decorah, Des Moines, DeWitt (police only), Dubuque, Estherville (police only), Evansdale (police only), Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Fort Madison, Grinnell, Indianola (police only), Iowa City, Keokuk, Knoxville (police only), LeMars (police only), Maquoketa (police only), Marion, Marshalltown, Mason City, Muscatine, Newton, Oelwein, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa, Pella (police only), Sioux City, Spencer, Storm Lake, Urbandale, Waterloo, Waverly (police only), Webster City and West Des Moines.)