Ohio House Republicans have proposed $1000 bonus checks for first responders who worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Using federal relief money from the American Rescue Plan, the last economic stimulus law, firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMT), and police officers would receive the bonus, which is expected to cost around $83 million.
“This last year and a half have been some really difficult times for our country, and in particular, first responders and law enforcement, they have been put in some very, very difficult situations,” Rep. Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) reportedly said. “What we’re doing here in Ohio is saying, we have your back.”
Rep. Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) is a cosponsor of the bill.
“In Ohio, we strongly support our brave first responders,” he said of the bill. “The goal of this legislation is to provide a small token of gratitude to these men and women for their tireless work during the pandemic and their service each day to our communities.”
Still, the bill is receiving some blowback, claiming that it doesn’t go far enough because nurses and doctors would not receive a bonus.
Plummer explained that nurses and doctors work in an environment that is expected to be prepared for a pandemic. Police, firefighters, and EMTs do not.
“We anticipated that question, the only answer is, God bless those people, they did a great job,” Plummer reportedly said. “Maybe somebody will do that for them. The key to this was the uncontrolled environment first responders had to work in.”
The plan is modeled after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and the Florida Legislature, who included a $1000 bonus check for 174,000 first responders in that state’s annual budget.
“Supporting our law enforcement and first responders has been a top priority for my administration, and it has never been more important than over the last year. As a state, we are grateful for their continued service to our communities,” DeSantis said on May 5. “This one-time bonus is a small token of appreciation, but we can never go far enough to express our gratitude for their selflessness.”
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