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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: October 28, 2021 10:02 AM
From: Representative Robert F. Matzie and Rep. Emily Kinkead, Rep. Mike Zabel
To: All House members
Subject: Honoring those who gave their lives in public service
When an emergency responder dies in the line of duty, the public owes him or her a debt of gratitude that can never truly be repaid. We can, however, help the family of that public servant as they go through the most emotionally challenging and financially disruptive time of their lives.

The Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefits Act provides a one-time death benefit to the families of certain individuals who answer the call when others need help, as well as a monthly stipend to the loved ones of those who made their living in public service.

During a recent debate on a bill to provide this benefit to the families of coroners, the House of Representatives engaged in a spirited discussion about adding additional public servants to this program that is critical for so many families. We heard from many others who are hoping that the momentum from this effort to expand death benefits will continue to build so that we can recognize the sacrifices of more professionals who show up in times of need.

As we confront the challenges of drug overdoses, deadly car crashes, an ongoing global health emergency, and countless other tragedies, the demands on public servants such as coroners are changing, and we are rightly recognizing the impact that exposure to these hazards can have on their physical and mental well-being. We want include more professionals and their families in programs such as this death benefit to honor workers who expose themselves to difficult conditions to make our lives more safe and secure.

To that end, please join us in co-sponsoring the three bills in our legislative package to honor those who gave their lives in public service by expanding the Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefits Act to include the following professionals:

Document #1

Introduced as HB2107

Description: Bill #1: Deputy Coroners, sponsored by Rep. Rob Matzie.

Our coroners cannot do their jobs alone, and their deputy coroners face many of the same occupational hazards. We should clearly and specifically include deputy coroners in this program.

Document #2

Introduced as HB2108

Description: Bill #2: 911 Emergency Dispatchers, sponsored by Rep. Emily Kinkead.

The very first responder to an emergency is the dispatcher who answers the 911 call. These professionals have been stretched to their breaking point by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the stress and trauma they witness on a daily basis leads to increased risks of heart attack and stroke.

Document #3

Introduced as HB2109

Description: Bill #3: District Attorneys, Assistant District Attorneys, and Public Defenders, sponsored by Rep. Mike Zabel.

Prosecutors and defenders serve on the frontlines of our justice system and deal with traumatic situations every day. They are frequently the targets of threats or intimidation, risking their own safety in the pursuit of justice. They serve a crucial role in reaching closure in the emergency response process and they deserve to be valued for this role.