I am writing this letter to express my disappointment in Rep. Schamerhorn’s vote on Wednesday against House Bill 71.
HB 71 provides a one-time death benefit to the surviving spouse and children of a healthcare worker who died prior to June 5, 2020 because of Covid-19. The benefit is limited to three times the yearly salary of the healthcare worker or $150,000, whichever is less.
Doctors and nurses all across our State are putting their life at risk to go to work during this pandemic in order to treat people in our community. Many of these healthcare workers were forced to go to work without adequate personal protective equipment. Tragically, some of those healthcare workers sacrificed their life to do their job. The very least we can do to honor those healthcare workers who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our State is to try and ease, even a little, the financial impact on their families due to their death.
34 members of the Louisiana House of Representatives voted against HB 71. It is embarrassing that one of those Representatives represents part of Natchitoches Parish. On the other hand, I was proud of Representative Firment’s vote in favor of HB 71.
Just last month, Rep. Schamerhorn voted to give over $100 million in tax relief to oil and gas companies in Louisiana because of the impact Covid-19 on the oil and gas industry. I am not suggesting our State should not help the oil and gas industry get through this difficult situation. But if we can find the money to give the Chevron’s and Exxon’s of the world a tax cut of over $100 million, surely we can find $150,000 for the children and surviving spouses of healthcare workers who lost their life fighting this terrible virus.