HB185: House OKs tripling benefits for families of slain officers

HB185: House OKs tripling benefits for families of slain officers
(Source: Dale Mader/WAVE 3 News)

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - "I feel like there are some legislative people who are dangling the benefits of widows with House Bill 185," Ashley Rodman said last week in Frankfort.

"Because our FOP is not backing the pension reform bill," claimed Rodman, concerned that the house committee will not hear the bill due to pension politics.

Lawmakers assured her that wasn't the case. After closed-door talks, the FOP president emerged and explained things in a more optimistic note.

"We were given assurances that we have a path forward to get this bill passed this session," Nicolai Jilek said last week.

Just days after that statement, the chamber took on a more amicable note Monday. They acknowledged the four widows of fallen Kentucky police officers one by one. In attendance in the gallery: Ashley Rodman, widow of slain LMPD Officer Nick Rodman; Amy Ellis, widow of slain Bardstown Police Officer Jason Ellis; Rebecca Tribby, widow of slain KSP Trooper Blake Tribby and Katie Ellis, widow of slain Richmond Police Officer Daniel Ellis.

With the four watching, the bill passed unanimously, 89-0, on Monday. HB185 guarantees 75 percent of a fallen officer's salary to his spouse and family, compared to the current 25 percent.

Supporting Heroes spokesman Eric Johnson called the passage a small step forward and a way to thank those who put their lives on the line, as well as their loved ones.

"Because there are men and women like that who are drawn to serve, I think we as citizens should stand behind them by making sure and letting them know that their families will be taken care of if they should get their ultimate call of duty," Johnson said.

The bill now heads to the Senate for a vote before reaching the governor's desk.

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