PTSD legislation unanimously passes Florida subcommittee

Wife of Pulse first responder addresses lawmakers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A bill offering  workers compensation benefits for first responders diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder was approved by the state Senate’s banking and insurance subcommittee Monday.

Senate Bill 1088, sponsored by state Sen.Victor Torres, (D) Orlando,  was approved by unanimous vote, but its future may not be good.

In a text to News 6 Monday evening, Alfred Yorstan, Torres' chief of staff, said they may have to start over next year.

“We have three more subcommittees and not enough time, “ Yorstan told News 6. “The only options now are to amend onto another bill or file next session and start earlier.”

Jessica Realin traveled to Tallahasee Sunday night and testified before the committee Monday evening.

Her  husband, Jerry Realin, was a Pulse first responder. He said he still suffers from PTSD after spending hours processing the crime scene and removing the dead from Pulse after the mass shooting on June 12, 2016.

“…It was difficult,” Jerry Realin said. “It took everything (out of) us, it took everything from us.”

Seven months later, Jerry Realin is still receiving treatment and, according to his treating physician, is not ready to  return to work.

Torres, a military vet and former New York City police officer, told the subcommittee that once he heard Jerry Realin’s story, he knew he had to do something.

“I know what they (first responders) are going through," he told the committee.

Two other members of first responders' families testified as well.

The bill passed unanimously and is set to head to the Appropriations subcommittee on general government.

For more information on PTSD, click here

About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.