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Relating to workers’ compensation death benefit eligibility for certain spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated
HB 2503 would allow spouses of peace officers killed in the line of duty to retain their death benefits if they remarry.
While this bill does address a sensitive topic, that does not mean it should pass without due consideration of the intended purpose of death benefits for surviving spouses and the consequences of changing the law as proposed.
The purpose of the workers' compensation death benefit is to provide a surviving spouse with a continued stable income to provide for the household of a public servant killed in the line of duty or while serving as a volunteer off the clock. This protects eligible surviving spouses from the economic impact of the loss of income as a result of the service-connected death of their spouse. As a society we recognize that these public servants and their families take great personal risks; the death benefit to surviving spouses reflects that.
However, once a surviving spouse remarries the original purpose of the death benefit is voided. The payments would transition from supporting the household of a surviving spouse to supporting the joint household of the surviving spouse and new spouse. This effectively extends the benefit to the person whom the surviving spouse remarries.
For these reasons, we oppose HB 2503 as a violation of limited government.