WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Linemen Legacy Act to revise the Department of Homeland Security’s definition of “emergency response providers” to include utility line technicians.
The definition in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 grants first-responder status to an array of occupations such as law enforcement, emergency public safety personnel and fire and medical rescuers, but does not currently include utility linemen.
“We saw the work utility linemen did to repair Louisiana’s electrical grid after Hurricanes Laura and Delta hit our state, and we’re seeing these servants back in action sooner than we thought. As ice storms fell on our state and took lines down with them, linemen were often first on the scene to make neighborhoods safe again. They save homes, businesses and lives. Simply put, linemen are first responders, so my bill would legally add utility line technicians to Homeland Security’s list of first-responder occupations. I hope my colleagues join me in giving these heroes the recognition they deserve by moving this bill forward,” said Kennedy.
This February, winter storms wreaked havoc across the state, leaving thousands of Louisianians without power and scattering live wires around residential areas. Hurricanes Laura and Delta also destroyed thousands of Louisiana’s utility poles, lines and substations last fall, particularly in the southwest portion of the state.
Kennedy also introduced the bill in the 116th Congress, and video of the senator’s statement is available here.