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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: August 10, 2017 04:33 PM
From: Representative Kevin J. Boyle
To: All House members
Subject: Death Benefits Act to include Natural Gas Responders
In the near future I plan to re-introduce legislation (Former House Bill 1401) amending the Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefits Act (Act 101 of 1976), adding Natural Gas Responders, those employees who respond to a natural gas leak or threat of a natural gas leak, to the class of employees covered by this Act.

On January 18, 2011, a natural gas explosion in Philadelphia caused the death of 19-year-old Philadelphia Gas Works employee Mark Keeley, and injured five other employees. Keeley and his co-workers had responded to reports of a natural gas leak, and were working to ensure the safety of individuals in the vicinity of the reported leak at the time of the explosion. This accident, along with a subsequent tragedy in Allentown on February 9, 2011, which claimed the lives of five people, illustrates the dangerous situations that these public employees step into on a routine basis. I believe that it is our duty to protect these emergency responders and to provide some measure of compensation to their families in the event of such heartbreaking loss.

The Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefits Act provides for a one-time payment of death benefits to the surviving spouse, minor children, or parents of public employees, such as firefighters, law enforcement officers, and other emergency responders, killed in the performance of their duties. My legislation would extend these same benefits available to other public sector employees involved in public safety to the natural gas responders who encounter the same risk in their jobs to protect the public.

I hope that you will join me in supporting these employees and cosponsor my legislation.

Introduced as HB1870