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PRINTER'S NO. 10
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
25
Session of
2015
INTRODUCED BY GREENLEAF, BREWSTER, TEPLITZ, YUDICHAK, STACK,
BLAKE, SCHWANK, BOSCOLA, HUGHES, VULAKOVICH, SMITH,
TARTAGLIONE AND RAFFERTY, JANUARY 14, 2015
REFERRED TO EDUCATION, JANUARY 14, 2015
AN ACT
Amending the act of December 16, 1998 (P.L.980, No.129),
entitled "An act providing for a waiver of tuition and other
fees for children of certain deceased police officers,
National Guard members, firefighters and correction employees
at community colleges and State-owned and State-related
institutions of higher education and for additional powers
and duties of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance
Agency and the Department of General Services," extending
benefits to certain surviving spouses; and further providing
for title of act, for short title, for definitions, for
Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program, for report to
General Assembly and for retroactivity.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The General Assembly finds and declares that it
is the intent of this act to recognize the ultimate sacrifice
made by police officers, firefighters, correction employees,
sheriffs and deputy sheriffs and National Guard members killed
in the performance of their duties by providing a postsecondary
educational gratuity for their children or surviving spouses at
community colleges and State-owned or State-related institutions
in this Commonwealth.
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Section 2. The title and section 1 of the act of December
16, 1998 (P.L.980, No.129), known as the Police Officer,
Firefighter, Correction Employee and National Guard Member Child
Beneficiary Education Act, are amended to read:
AN ACT
Providing for a waiver of tuition and other fees for children or
surviving spouses of certain deceased police officers,
National Guard members, firefighters [and], emergency medical
services personnel, correction employees, State parole
agents, county probation and parole officers, sheriffs and
deputy sheriffs at community colleges and State-owned and
State-related institutions of higher education and for
additional powers and duties of the Pennsylvania Higher
Education Assistance Agency and the Department of General
Services.
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Police
Officer, Firefighter, Correction Employee [and], National Guard
Member [Child] and Special Public Servant Beneficiary Education
Act.
Section 3. Section 2 of the act is amended by adding
definitions to read:
Section 2. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
* * *
"County officer." A county probation or parole officer of
this Commonwealth.
* * *
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"Emergency medical services personnel." The term includes,
but is not limited to, emergency medical services providers as
defined in 35 Pa.C.S. ยง 8103 (relating to definitions).
* * *
"State parole agent." A parole officer appointed by the
Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.
" Surviving spouse. " A resident of this Commonwealth who is
the spouse of a deceased police officer, firefighter, emergency
medical services personnel, correction employee, State parole
agent, county probation and parole officer, sheriff, deputy
sheriff or National Guard member, at the time of death, killed
in the performance of his or her duties.
* * *
Section 4. Section 3 of the act, amended November 30, 2004
(P.L.1663, No.210), is amended to read:
Section 3. Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program.
(a) Establishment.--There is hereby established the
Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program for children or
surviving spouses of police officers, firefighters, emergency
medical services personnel, correction employees, State parole
agents, county probation and parole officers, sheriffs, deputy
sheriffs and National Guard members and certain other
individuals who are on Federal or State active military duty who
are residents of this Commonwealth who are killed while acting
in the performance of their duties.
(b) Eligibility.--
(1) Police officers shall be deemed to have been killed
in the performance of their duties if death results from job-
related injuries sustained or inflicted while performing any
of the following:
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(i) Answering an emergency call.
(ii) Conducting interrogations of crime suspects or
interrogations pursuant to a response to an emergency
call.
(iii) Conducting vehicle stops for traffic
violations.
(iv) Actively responding to requests for assistance
from the public.
(v) Maintaining order and security at the scene of
an emergency.
(2) Firefighters shall be deemed to have been killed in
the performance of their duties if death results from job-
related injuries sustained or inflicted while performing any
of the following:
(i) Being present at the scene of a fire or going to
and from a fire. In the case of volunteer firefighters,
going to and from a fire shall include traveling from and
directly returning to the firefighter's home, place of
business or other location where the firefighter was when
the fire call or alarm was received for a fire which the
firefighter's volunteer fire company attended.
(ii) Answering an emergency call.
(iii) Maintaining order and security at the scene of
an emergency.
(3) A member of the National Guard shall be deemed to
have been killed in the performance of his or her duties if
his or her death results from performance of a duty required
by his or her orders or commander while in an official duty
status authorized under Federal or State law.
(4) Correction employees shall be deemed to have been
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killed in the performance of their duties if death results
from job-related injuries sustained or inflicted while
maintaining order and security or otherwise carrying out
their duties at a correctional facility.
(4.1) Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs shall be deemed to
have been killed in the performance of their duties if death
results from job-related injuries sustained or inflicted
while maintaining order and security or otherwise carrying
out their duties as a sheriff or deputy sheriff.
(4.2) An individual who is on Federal or State active
military duty who is a resident of this Commonwealth shall be
deemed to have been killed in the performance of duty if
death results from performance of a duty required by his or
her orders or commander while in an official duty status.
(4.3) Emergency medical services personnel shall be
deemed to have been killed in the performance of their duties
if death results from job-related injuries sustained or
inflicted while answering an emergency call.
(4.4) State parole agents and county probation and
parole officers shall be deemed to have been killed in the
performance of their duties if death results from job-related
injuries sustained or inflicted while carrying out their
duties.
(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section,
deaths which occur as the direct and proximate result of
preexisting physical conditions, diseases or illnesses shall
be excluded from eligibility under this section.
(6) Any child or surviving spouse of a police officer,
firefighter, emergency medical services personnel, correction
employee, State parole agent, county probation and parole
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officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff or National Guard member
killed in the performance of his or her duties shall be
eligible for an educational gratuity provided:
(i) In the case of a child, that the child is 25
years of age or younger at the time of application for
participation in this program, meets all admission
requirements of the community college or State-owned or
State-related institution to which application is made
and is enrolled as a full-time student at a community
college or a State-owned or State-related institution.
(ii) In the case of a surviving spouse, that the
surviving spouse meets all admission requirements of the
community college or State-owned or State-related
institution to which application is made and is enrolled
as a full-time student at a community college or a State-
owned or State-related institution.
(7) A child who is 25 years of age or younger at the
time of the child's application for participation in this
program [and who] or a surviving spouse, either of whom meets
all other eligibility requirements, may receive an
educational gratuity for up to five years provided the child
or surviving spouse otherwise continues to be eligible for
participation.
(c) Scope of benefit.--
(1) The benefit available under this section shall be
provided only for full-time students who are pursuing
undergraduate studies leading to an associate degree or a
baccalaureate degree.
(2) A child or surviving spouse becomes eligible for
this benefit after he or she has applied for available
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scholarships and Federal and State grants to cover tuition
and room and board costs. The child or surviving spouse must
provide a record of application for such financial aid to the
community college or State-owned or State-related institution
to which he or she is applying.
(3) A community college or a State-owned or State-
related institution shall waive all remaining tuition and
room and board charges (total tuition, room and board and
fees minus awarded scholarships and Federal and State grants)
for an eligible child or surviving spouse during the time the
child or surviving spouse is enrolled as a full-time student
provided the child or surviving spouse meets all requirements
for admission to the community college or State-owned or
State-related institution and during the child's or surviving
spouse's enrollment complies with all requirements of the
institution for continued attendance and award of an
associate degree or a baccalaureate degree.
(d) Administration.--
(1) Copies of all police officer [and], firefighter and
emergency medical services personnel death certifications
received by the Department of General Services under the act
of June 24, 1976 (P.L.424, No.101), referred to as the
Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefits Act,
shall be provided by the Department of General Services to
PHEAA within 20 days of their receipt.
(2) Written notification of the death of any correction
employee killed in the performance of his or her duties shall
be submitted to PHEAA by the Secretary of Corrections within
20 days of the death of the employee.
(2.1) Written notification of the death of any county
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probation and parole officer, sheriff or deputy sheriff
killed in the performance of his or her duties shall be
submitted to PHEAA by the county commissioners of the county
in which the county probation and parole officer was
employed, sheriff was elected or deputy sheriff was employed
within 20 days of the death of the employee.
(2.2) Written notification of the death of any State
parole agent killed in the performance of his or her duties
shall be submitted to PHEAA by the chairman of the
Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole within 20 days of
the death of the employee.
(3) Written notification of the death of any member of
the National Guard or other individual who is on Federal or
State active military duty who is a resident of this
Commonwealth killed in the performance of his or her duties
shall be submitted to PHEAA by the Adjutant General of the
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs within 20 days of
the death of the National Guard member.
(4) Applications for an educational gratuity shall be
submitted to PHEAA by the child or the surviving parent or
guardian of the child or the surviving spouse, together with
a certified copy of the child's birth certificate or adoption
record or other documentation of birth or adoption acceptable
to PHEAA or a marriage certificate. The application shall
include a copy of the child's or surviving spouse's letter of
acceptance at a community college or a State-owned or State-
related institution. If no death certification has been
received from the Department of General Services, Secretary
of Corrections, county commissioners, chairman of the
Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole or Adjutant
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General of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs,
PHEAA may elect to accept other documentation certifying that
the [child's parent] decedent was a police officer,
firefighter, emergency medical services personnel, correction
employee, State parole agent, county probation and parole
officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff or National Guard member
killed during the performance of his or her duties.
(5) Within 30 days of receipt of a completed
application, PHEAA shall send written notice to the child or
surviving spouse and the community college or State-owned or
State-related institution of the child's or surviving
spouse's eligibility or noneligibility for participation in
this program. If the child or surviving spouse is determined
not to be eligible for an educational gratuity, the notice
shall include the reason or reasons for such determination
and an indication that an appeal of PHEAA's determination may
be made pursuant to 2 Pa.C.S. (relating to administrative law
and procedure).
(6) Upon receipt of notification of the child's or
surviving spouse's eligibility from PHEAA, a community
college or a State-owned or State-related institution is
prohibited from charging the child or the child's parent or
guardian or surviving spouse any tuition fee or room and
board charge. If moneys have been received by the community
college or the State-owned or State-related institution for
these purposes, those moneys must be refunded in full within
30 days of receipt by the community college or the State-
owned or State-related institution of the notice of the
child's or surviving spouse's eligibility.
(7) Each community college or State-owned or State-
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related institution at which an eligible child or surviving
spouse is enrolled shall notify PHEAA upon the child's or
surviving spouse's graduation or when the child or surviving
spouse is no longer enrolled at the community college or
State-owned or State-related institution.
Section 5. Sections 4 and 8 of the act are amended to read:
Section 4. Report to General Assembly.
Each year as part of its budget presentation to the General
Assembly, PHEAA shall provide a report on:
(1) The number of applications submitted during the
prior year, including numbers of applications approved and
disapproved.
(2) The number of children or surviving spouses
currently participating in this program at community colleges
or State-owned or State-related institutions.
(3) The number of program participants who have
completed requirements for an associate degree or a
baccalaureate degree during the prior year.
(4) The total number of program participants who have
received an associate degree or a baccalaureate degree since
the program's inception.
(5) The number of program participants who were approved
for an educational gratuity but who never obtained an
associate degree or a baccalaureate degree.
Section 8. Retroactivity.
This act shall be retroactive to:
(1) January 1, 1976, and the benefit provided shall be
available to qualified children of police officers,
firefighters, correction employees and National Guard members
of this Commonwealth killed in the performance of their
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duties since that date. No community college, State-owned or
State-related institution shall reimburse qualified children
for tuition and fees or room and board charges paid between
January 1, 1976, and the effective date of this act.
(2) January 1, 2015, and the benefit provided shall be
available to qualified surviving spouses of police officers,
firefighters, emergency medical services personnel,
correction employees, State parole agents, county probation
and parole officers, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs and
National Guard members of this Commonwealth killed in the
performance of their duties since that date. No community
college, State-owned or State-related institution shall
reimburse qualified surviving spouses for tuition and fees or
room and board charges paid between January 1, 2015, and the
effective date of this paragraph.
Section 6. This act shall take effect immediately.
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