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Bill would help families of first responders

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Posted at 4:51 PM, Feb 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-10 16:51:47-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The families of law enforcement officers and other first responders killed on duty would receive increased benefits under a bill unanimously passed by the Florida Senate.

The vote Wednesday would provide 100 percent pension benefits to surviving families. Right now, the benefit for surviving spouses of first responders killed on duty is 50 percent of the deceased's salary.

The bill (SB 7012) also protects families if the deceased opted for an investment retirement plan instead of paying into the state pension plan.

The bill was inspired by the death of Orange County Deputy Scott Pine, who was fatally shot by a burglary suspect in 2014, less than three years after joining the department. His death left his widow and three children ineligible for benefits under the state pension plan. The bill would give them full benefits.