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PTSD bill named after late Cleveland firefighter among bills becoming Tennessee law New Year's Day

Chattanooga Times Free Press - 12/28/2023

Dec. 28—NASHVILLE — Tennessee firefighters working at smaller departments could become eligible for workers' compensation for job-related post-traumatic stress disorder under a new law, named for a late Cleveland firefighter, that takes effect New Year's Day.

While most of the hundreds of measures passed annually by the General Assembly take effect immediately or July 1, the "James 'Dustin' Samples Act" is among 23 measures becoming law Jan. 1.

Samples was a Cleveland Fire Department captain. He took his own life Dec. 11, 2020, following a yearslong mental health and financial struggle with PTSD, according to his widow, Jennifer Samples, and Samples' colleagues.

Under Public Chapter 465, if a firefighter is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by a mental health professional as a result of responding to one or more incidents outlined in the law, then the injury is presumed to have occurred in the line of duty and is compensable under the workers' compensation law.



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