Responders to receive COVID-19 hazard pay
RIDGELAND — Local law enforcement and firefighters who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for a premium hazard pay bonus of $1,000 from the state of Mississippi.
Mayor Gene McGee said the money will come from the state but it will be the city’s job to distribute.
The Mississippi Legislature passed Mississippi House Bill 1427 and Mississippi House Bill 1542 creating the “Mississippi Law Enforcement and Firefighters Premium Pay Program,” in its 2022 Regular Legislative Session that were subsequently signed into law by Gov. Tate Reeves.
The law went into effect on July 1.
Bill 1427 says the money will come from the federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.
“The federal COVID-19 public health emergency continues to create significant exposure and risk to law enforcement officers and firefighters in the State of Mississippi,” The bill reads in part.
The program will be administered by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
McGee said the payments were approved by the Legislature in the amount of $1,000. payments will be issued to police officers and firefighters who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
McGee did not say how many Ridgeland first responder were eligible for the payment but said those eligible will be identified and required to watch a video and sign an affidavit before they can receive the funds.
Bill 1427 says “eligible individuals” are defined as “all certified, full-time and part-time law enforcement officers and certified, full-time and part-time firefighters who are serving in the State of Mississippi on the effective date of this act.”
Excluded individuals include those who “received hazard pay from the Governor’s discretionary funds authorized by the Legislature from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.”
The city board unanimously approved a resolution concerning the Premium Pay Program.