The state Senate Appropriations Committee has unanimously approved state Sen. Sean Logan’s bill that would ensure that the families of public safety employees killed in the line of duty receive death benefits.
The bill (Senate Bill 369) now goes to the full Senate for a vote.
“I am pleased that the bill will now receive full Senate attention and anticipate bipartisan support,” said Logan (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland). My bill provides officers the assurance that their families will be okay if something happens to them. It provides a fitting, fair and tangible way to express gratitude to the officers and their families.”
Logan said his measure would guarantee killed-in-service-death benefits to all spouses or minor children of a paid firefighter, law enforcement officer and ambulance service or rescue squad member equal to the amount of the decedent’s monthly salary.
Under current law, pension and workers’ compensation payments now provide death benefits that cover a portion of the salaries of troopers, officers, firefighters and emergency personnel in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and third-class cities who are killed in the line of duty. Under this bill, the state would pick up the remaining share.
Boroughs and townships currently pay the entire cost of benefits for their police. Senate Bill 369 would shift these costs to the state. A Senate actuarial study estimates the annual cost to the state to be $9,000 for each officer killed in the line of duty.
“I am pleased by the progress of this proposal and will continue to fight for legislation that truly supports Pennsylvania’s safety personnel by adequately training, equipping, and protecting them – as well as bills that deter criminals,” Logan said.
Since 2002, 32 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty. Of these officers, nine were members of the current pension plans providing the killed-in-service benefit. The surviving beneficiaries of the remaining 23 law enforcement officers and an additional 15 firefighters were not eligible for the benefit because these public safety employees were not members of the Act 600 pension plan.
This Logan bill was introduced last session, but did not get passed in the House.