Lang adds to his terrible history with Ohio’s law enforcement
HAMILTON – Yesterday, State Representative George Lang (R-West Chester) and current Republican candidate for State Senator (4th District) voted against passage of HB 308, which would provide coverage for PTSD to Ohio’s first responders. HB 308 passed the House with an overwhelming bipartisan margin by a vote of 74 to 22, with Lang and the other no votes all coming from Republicans. The legislation is supported by the Ohio FOP and several other organizations representing Ohio’s first responders. Ohio’s state pension funds already provide retirement disability coverage for PTSD on a case by case basis.
This is not the first time Lang has not supported law enforcement. In 2016, then West Chester Township Trustee George Lang publicly accused his own township’s police force of using excessive force in responding to a 15-person fight at a bar. One of the individuals reportedly had a weapon. Lang made the remarks knowing that an internal review of the officers had absolved them of any wrongdoing. Three West Chester police officers sued Lang and the township for slander in 2014 over his remarks. The township settled the suit roughly two years later while Lang appealed a trial court’s decision. The township had to pay to settle the claim.
“Time and time again, George Lang seems to have an issue standing behind our first responders. There is no doubt that Ohio’s law enforcement, firefighters, and paramedics are exposed to highly traumatic experiences on the job. Just as we do with America’s military veterans, we should stand behind our first responders and demand that they get the PTSD care they need because of their service to our community. Supporting this bill is a no-brainer. Opposing it suggests you have no heart,” said Butler County Democratic Chair Brian Hester.
HB 308 provides PTSD coverage under Ohio’s Workers Compensation without a separate work-related physical injury. Lang voted against the bill joining 21 other House Republicans. All House Democrats and everyone else in the House GOP Caucus supported it. [Source: Ohio General Assembly website (accessed 2/13/20), HB 308.]
Thirty states already provide PTSD coverage to first responders. “A study by Ruderman Foundation found that police and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. . . PTSD and depression rates among police and firefighters has been found to be as much as five times higher than within the civilian population.” [Source: Dayton Daily News (11/23/19), “First responders push for law that would recognize PTSD as an acquired on-the-job condition.”]
Ohio’s state retirement funds provide disability coverage for PTSD already on a case by case basis. [Source: Columbus Dispatch (6/28/19), “Ohio Senate strips PTSD coverage for first responders from Workers’ Comp budget.”]
In 2014, three West Chester Township police officers sued George Lang and the Township for slander over Lang’s allegation they used excessive force to break up a 15-person bar fight. At least one of the individuals involved in that fight reportedly had a weapon. An internal review had cleared the officers of any wrongdoing. [Source: Journal News (3/21/2014), “Officers sue trustee, township for slander, defamation.”]
Two years later, the township paid a settlement to the officers during Lang’s appeal of a trial court ruling in the officer’s favor. [Source: Journal News (4/21/16), “West Chester Twp. trustee settles slander lawsuit.”]