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Introduced Version Senate Bill 671 History

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sb671 intr
Senate Bill No. 671

(By Senator Unger)

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[Introduced March 21, 2005; referred to the Committee

on the Judiciary; and then to the Committee on Finance.]

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A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new chapter, designated §5H-1-1, §5H-1-2 and §5H-1-3, all relating to providing a death benefit to the families of firefighters, ambulance service or rescue squad members, law-enforcement officers or National Guard members who are killed in the performance of their duties.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new chapter, designated §5H-1-1, §5H-1-2 and §5H-1-3, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 5H. SURVIVOR BENEFITS.

ARTICLE 1. WEST VIRGINIA PUBLIC SAFETY SURVIVOR BENEFIT ACT.
§5H-1-1. Title and legislative intent.
(a) This article shall be known as the "West Virginia Public Safety Survivor Benefit Act."
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide for the payment of death benefits to the surviving spouse or children or parents of firefighters, ambulance service or rescue squad members or law-enforcement officers or National Guard members killed in the performance of their duties.
§5H-1-2. Death benefit for survivors.
(a) In the event a law-enforcement officer, ambulance service or rescue squad member or, firefighter or National Guard member is killed in the performance of his or her duties, such political subdivision, or in the case of National Guard members, the adjutant general, within thirty days from the date of death shall submit certification of such death to the state.
(b) A volunteer firefighter shall be deemed to be acting in the performance of his or her duties for the purposes of this act going to or directly returning from a fire which the fire company or fire department attended including travel from and direct return to a firefighter's home, place of business or other place where he or she shall have been when he or she received the call or alarm or while participating in instruction fire drills in which the fire department or fire company shall have participated or while repairing or doing other work about or on the fire apparatus or buildings and grounds of the fire company or fire department upon the authorization of the chief of the fire company or fire department or other person in charge or while answering any emergency calls for any purpose or while riding upon the fire apparatus which is owned or used by the fire company or fire department or while performing any other duties of such fire company or fire department as authorized by the municipality.
(c) A volunteer ambulance service or rescue squad member shall be deemed to be acting in the performance of his or her duties for the purposes of this act going to or directly returning from an emergency which the ambulance service or rescue squad attended including travel from and direct return to an ambulance service or rescue squad member's home, place of business or other place where he or she shall have been when he or she received the call or alarm or while participating in drills in which the ambulance service or rescue squad shall have participated or while repairing or doing other work about or on any emergency vehicle or buildings and grounds of the ambulance service or rescue squad upon the authorization of the chief of the ambulance service or rescue squad or other person in charge while answering any emergency calls for any purpose or while riding upon any vehicles which are owned or used by the ambulance service or rescue squad.
(d) Upon receipt of such certification, the state shall, from moneys payable out of the General Fund, pay to the political subdivision the sum of fifty thousand dollars. Within five days of receipt of said sum from the state, the political subdivision shall pay such sum as a benefit to the surviving spouse, or if there is no surviving spouse, to the minor children of the firefighter, ambulance service or rescue squad member or law-enforcement officer killed in the performance of duty. When no spouse or minor children survive, the benefit shall be paid to the parent or parents of such firefighter, ambulance service or rescue squad member or law-enforcement officer.
(e) The state shall pay out of the General Fund to the surviving spouse or, if there is no surviving spouse, the minor children of a National Guard member, State Police officer or other law-enforcement officer of the state killed in the performance of his or her duties the sum of fifty thousand dollars. When no spouse or minor children survive, the benefit shall be paid to the parent or parents of such National Guard member, State Police officer or other law-enforcement officer of the state. The benefit shall be payable whether or not the National Guard member or officer was killed within the state.
(f) A National Guard member shall be considered to be acting in the performance of his or her duties for the purposes of this act when:
(1) His death occurs in an official duty status authorized under chapter fifteen of this code; or
(2) Going directly to or from the place of such duties.
§5H-1-3. Article to be construed broadly.
This article shall be broadly construed to grant benefits to firefighters, ambulance service or rescue squad members or law-enforcement officers or National Guard personnel for deaths related to the performance of their duties.



NOTE:
The purpose of this bill is to provide a fifty thousand dollar death benefit to the families of firefighters, ambulance service or rescue squad members, law-enforcement officers or National Guard members who are killed in the performance of their duties.

This chapter is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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