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Legislature approves expansion of death benefits to families of fallen officers



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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Legislature unanimously passed a bill Thursday night to expand death benefits to families of peace officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty.

HB288 would increase the lump sum spouses of officers killed in the line of duty receive from $1,500 to an amount that would equal the fallen officer’s final average salary. It would also offer continuing health coverage for the spouse, as well as the officer’s children until they either marry or reach the age of 26.

The bill would also instruct employers to designate a person to aid surviving spouses with the death benefit application process.

The House and Senate passed the bill Thursday with an amendment that would designate a trust fund to which cities can contribute. If an officer is killed in the line of duty, the cities will then share the cost.

The fund would also be open to public donation.

HB288 awaits consideration from Gov. Gary Herbert.

— Katie McKellar

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