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Bill To Aid Families Of Fallen Officers Advances In Senate [AUDIO]

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

The state Senate Law and Public Safety committee approved a bill that would allow New Jersey to pick up the burial tab for first responders killed in the line of duty.

The legislation, sponsored by Senators Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) and Fred Madden (D-Gloucester/Camden) would provide assistance to help cover funeral costs of fallen police officers, firefighters, emergency medical responders and correctional officers.

“Thousands of men and women risk their lives every day to protect the residents of this state. Unfortunately, there are times when these individuals pay the ultimate price while in the line of duty,” said Senator Norcross, chair of the committee. “This bill allows us to give something back to their families by making a contribution to defray the cost of the funeral services. This is the right thing to do for the heroes that gave so much to our state but, more than that, it is our obligation.”

“There is no way to ever fully repay the families of our fallen first responders for the sacrifice they have made in the name of public safety,” said Senator Madden. “But we can show our gratitude for their loved one’s service, and their own sacrifice, by helping to ease the financial burden when they are in their greatest time of need. This legislation allows us to make a contribution to the cost of funeral services for these brave men and women, which is the least we can do for the officers, firefighters and medical responders who made it their life’s work to serve the residents of our state.”

The bill would authorize the state Treasurer to reimburse the family of police officers, firefighters, first aid, ambulance, rescue squad members, sheriff’s officers and correctional officers who are killed in the line of duty for up to $10,000 of funeral expenses. The reimbursement would be reduced by any amount payable for funeral costs from worker’s compensation.

The committee approved the measure by a vote of 5-0. It now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for a vote.

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