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House bill would give free insurance to survivors of first responders killed on job

  • Author: Nathaniel Herz
  • Updated: December 2, 2017
  • Published March 14, 2017

JUNEAU — The Alaska House on Monday unanimously approved a bill to guarantee health coverage for family members of firefighters and law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

House Bill 23, sponsored by Anchorage Democratic Rep. Andy Josephson, is the latest attempt at passing such legislation, which died in the Senate during a special session last year. The idea was originally introduced in the House by Anchorage Republican Charisse Millett.

The new measure would create a special fund within the state's public safety department to pay full costs of insurance for the families of firefighters and law enforcement officers who have been killed, and it would require municipalities of more than 10,000 to cover costs for families of their employees.

The House also approved an amendment from Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, to allow Alaskans to donate a portion of their Permanent Fund dividends to the survivors fund.

In the past 45 years, some 50 law enforcement officials and firefighters in Alaska have been killed in the line of duty, according to a statement from Josephson's office.

The measure now moves to the Senate.

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