House Committee approves bill backed by hero of March 2nd - WDRB 41 Louisville News

House Committee approves bill backed by hero of March 2nd tornado

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Indiana mother who lost her legs protecting her kids from the March 2nd tornado may help change Kentucky law. Stephanie Decker is turning tragedy into triumph.

Just days before the anniversary of the March 2nd tornado, Stephanie Decker came to the State Capitol in Frankfort to fight for the rights of amputees like her:  "Help me have other kids walk and play, and adults walk and play, because you don't think it's going to be you. I didn't think it would be me."

Tears from Stephanie Decker as she urged lawmakers to pass HB 376. It's a bill that would require insurance companies to pay for the most advanced prosthetics for people who lose limbs.

Decker, who lives in Indiana but is from Kentucky, lost both legs while shielding her children from debris during the March 2nd tornado.

She says she can walk now, in part, because Indiana law enabled her to afford high-tech prosthetic legs. Kentucky has no such law.

"What a way to remember a lot of people that went through a lot of things. What a way to recognize and commemorate such a day than to pass this bill," she told members of the House Committee on Banking and Insurance.

Her powerful story swayed some legislators not inclined to support the bill.  "It's just that every mandate increases the cost of insurance for everyone. But it's so hard not to vote in the affirmative for this bill," said Rep. Brad Montell, a Republican from Shelbyville.

The committee passed the bill without a "no" vote, moving it on the full House as the anniversary of March 2nd approaches.

"That makes it even more special. The fact that March 2nd is Saturday. And it's a celebration. It's a time for all of us to be happy that we're still here. It's amazing to see in one year, how far we've come in a year," said Decker.

But Decker knows there are still many steps to take before she wins this battle.  "But I'm full steam ahead. Let's go. Let's see if we can take this to the next step."

The bill is expected to clear the House. But its fate in the Senate is less certain. With just a few days left in the session, there just simply may not be enough time.

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