FRANKFORT, KY (KFVS) - The Kentucky House of Representatives passed a bill Friday that would give families of paramedics and other EMS personnel killed in the line of duty the same $80,000 state death benefit given to families of fallen police and firefighters.
House Bill 54, sponsored by Rep. Dean Schamore, D-Hardinsburg, was filed following last November's death of Jessamine County paramedic John Mackey.
The 40-year-old died after being hit by a car while on ambulance duty.
Families of paramedics, emergency medical technicians, ambulance and rescue squad members and local emergency management employees killed on the job on or after June 30, 2015 would be eligible to receive the $80,000 benefit under HB 54.
Free tuition and fees to any state college, university or vocational training school would also be made available under the bill to the spouse or children of emergency service workers killed or disabled while on duty.
Rep. Russ Meyer, D-Nicholasville, recognized John's Mackey family who were in the House chamber for the vote on the bill.
Among them were Mackey's children who Meyer said "who are going to benefit from this act."
"They're all with us here today in support of this," said Meyer.
Rep. James Tipton, R-Taylorsville, said HB 54 is about creating equity.
"We already provide this for police officers, for firefighters," says Tipton.
"For some reason the EMS personnel were not included originally, but now's the time to make this right."
The bill cleared the House on a 95-0 vote and now goes to the Senate for consideration.