Mansfield News Journal: Family of slain police officers, firefighters protected in SB 5 revision

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Mansfield News Journal: Family of slain police officers, firefighters protected in SB 5 revision

Sara Winfield told a legislative committee that Senate Bill 5 might keep her and other survivors of slain police officers from getting their full benefits.

The controversial legislation seeks to curtail collective bargaining rights of public employees. On Tuesday, Republican lawmakers added a clause to protect the benefits of surviving spouses and families of officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty. The legislation goes before the full House today for a vote.

However, one Fraternal Order of Police representative said he is not sure if the complex Senate Bill 5 language would interfere with death benefits, with or without the change.

Benefits work like this: If a police officer or firefighter dies in the line of duty, his or her spouse and children continue to get the officer’s pay, minus any benefits they get through the pension funds. If the officer’s pay would have been raised on the force, then the survivor’s benefit goes up, too. These benefits end the day the member would have retired. At that point survivors are still eligible for pension benefits.

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