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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Original Author: Cross, Steven
Co-author: Cunningham, Betsy
Hodge, Elisha
Grubbs, John
O'Hara, Stephanie Allen
Voss, Peter
Pannell, Donald
Date of Material: 08/31/2023

Laws and regulations--Tennessee
Personnel--Health and safety--Wellness programs

James "Dustin" Samples Act, Public Chapter 465, Report with Recommendations for Tennessee Municipalities

Reviewed Date: 08/31/2023
In collaboration with the Tennessee Fire Service Coalition and the Tennessee Professional Firefighters Association, the 113th Tennessee General Assembly passed HB0976/SB0856 on April 21, 2023. Governor Bill Lee signed the legislation on May 17, 2023. Known as the “James ‘Dustin’ Samples Act” (Act), this legislation became effective on May 17, 2023, for purposes and promulgating rules and will become effective on January 1, 2024, for all other purposes.

The Act establishes a rebuttable presumption that eligible firefighters that have been diagnosed with PTSD by a mental health provider because of responding to one or more incidents with at least one of the factors listed in the Act are presumed to have incurred PTSD in the line-of-duty, and such PTSD is compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Law compiled in Title 50, Chapter 6 of the Tennessee Code. The presumption is rebuttable if it is shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the cause of PTSD was non-service-connected risk factors or non-service-connected exposure.

The Act was named for Captain James “Dustin” Samples, who worked with the Cleveland, Tennessee Fire Department. Captain Samples suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Main Document(s):
file 2023-James Dustin Samples Act-MTAS_0.pdf