May 14, 2019

Pueblo, CO – Two of Senate President Leroy Garcia’s bills to support first responders and the families of service members were signed into law by Governor Jared Polis today.

SB19-65, Peer Assistance Emergency Medical Service Provider

Senate Bill 65 will give EMS providers the support and resources they need to face the challenges and traumas of their everyday work.

“I have personally seen the toll that such a physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding career can have, both over the years and following particularly dark incidents. In the past, EMS providers have lacked the support systems that could help them face such challenges. But that changes today with the signing of this new law,” said President Garcia.

84 percent of first responders – including firefighters, police officers, EMTs, paramedics, and nurses – had experienced a traumatic event on the job, according to a 2017 study by the University of Phoenix. The peer assistance program will give EMS providers critical education, support, and counseling when they face chemical dependency, mental illness, or anything else as a result of their work.

For more information on SB19-065, please visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb19-065.

SB19-174, Dependent Tuition Assistance Program Eligibility

Senate Bill 174 would make it easier for dependents of certain service members and first responders (including deceased or disabled National Guardsman, prisoners of war, those missing in action, police officers, firefighters, and sheriffs) to be eligible to receive state tuition benefits before receiving federal benefits.

“Both of these bills give back to the people who put their lives on the line to protect us all,” said President Garcia. “Today we have made it easier for dependents who have lost a parent protecting our nation to receive tuition assistance, and this is one of the biggest ways we can support them.”

For more information on SB19-174, please visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb19-174.