Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Worker Compensation for Auxiliary Police – General Assembly Public Hearing Testimony

Posted by Ed C on Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Howard County Delegation Bill 14-07 is being sponsored by Sen. Allan Kitttleman (R-District 9), Del. Gale Bates (R-District 9A) and Del. Warren Miller (R-District 9A)
The following are some of the highlights from the testimony given at the General Assembly public hearing held Jan 11, 2007.

Background: The bill will provide worker’s compensation coverage for Auxiliary police officers while they are performing duties for the Howard County police. The necessity of this bill arose from the case of Pieter Lucas, who was severely injured and lost a leg in a crash in Nov. 2005 while directing traffic at an accident scene. Initially, Howard County denied coverage for Officer Lucas. Officer Lucas eventually won a claim and is now covered, but he and his family are still fighting with collectors over debts incurred while the case was pending.

The outlook for this bill appears promising and the chair of the proceedings, Shane Pendergrass (D- Dist 13) stated that there was no current opposition to the bill.

Officer Lucas’s mother testified to the hardship that the family was put through by insurance companies that begin while Pieter was still in the hospital and continues to this day. She detailed how she had to fight for coverage for a special bed with Pieter’s current insurance company so that Pieter could be released from the hospital and continue with his recovery at home. What a nightmare, you don’t have coverage to stay in the hospital, but you can’t go home because you need special equipment that you can’t get either. She also testified that she continues to receive calls from collectors and received one that day. Sen. Kittleman offered to help (he is a lawyer with a background in worker’s compensation) and asked to be notified of future problems.

Those testifying in support of the bill included Officer Lucas, his mother and sister as well as the Howard County Chief of Police, William McMahon, a representative from the sheriff’s department, members of the Auxiliary police and Mickey Day, the volunteer fire chief of the West Friendship Fire Department

Chief Day stated that currently Howard County Volunteer Firefighters receive similar coverage and he made a point of mentioning that former County Executive and now Senator for District 13, James Robey did not contest Officer Lucas’s case when it went to court.

The good news to this story is that Officer Lucas is now covered and hopefully with the passage of this bill others will not have the same problems if a similar situation happens in the future.

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