HOUSE BILL 377
48th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2007
Sheryl Williams Stapleton
RELATING TO FIREFIGHTERS; ENACTING THE FIREFIGHTERS' SURVIVORS SUPPLEMENTAL BENEFITS ACT; CREATING THE FIREFIGHTERS' SURVIVORS FUND; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
Section 1. SHORT TITLE.--This act may be cited as the "Firefighters' Survivors Supplemental Benefits Act".
Section 2. FINDINGS--PURPOSE.--The legislature finds that firefighters throughout the state risk their lives daily to protect the residents of New Mexico. The legislature further finds that when firefighters are killed in the line of duty, their immediate families can suffer grievously, both emotionally and economically. To recognize the substantial public safety benefits conferred by firefighters, and in consideration of the sacrifices undertaken by these individuals and their families for the residents of New Mexico, it is the purpose of the Firefighters' Survivors Supplemental Benefits Act to ensure that certain supplemental death benefits accrue to the spouses and surviving children, or parents if there are no surviving children or spouse, of firefighters killed in the line of duty.
Section 3. DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Firefighters' Survivors Supplemental Benefits Act:
A. "firefighter" means any full- or part-time member or a volunteer member of a fire department that is part of or administered by the state or any political subdivision of the state and any red-carded firefighter trained in wildland firefighting skills and hired by the state of New Mexico; and
B. "fund" means the firefighters' survivors fund.
Section 4. FIREFIGHTERS' SURVIVORS FUND CREATED.--The "firefighters' survivors fund" is created in the state treasury and shall be administered by the state fire marshal. The fund shall consist of all gifts, donations and bequests of money to the fund as well as any appropriations and distributions made to the fund. Earnings from investment of the fund shall be credited to the fund. Money in the fund is appropriated to the state fire marshal for the purpose of paying death benefits pursuant to the Firefighters' Survivors Supplemental Benefits Act and shall be paid out only upon warrants issued by the secretary of finance and administration pursuant to vouchers signed by the state fire marshal. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining in the fund at the end of any fiscal year shall not revert.
Section 5. FIREFIGHTERS' SURVIVORS SUPPLEMENTAL BENEFITS--REVIEW COMMITTEE--DETERMINATION--PAYMENT.--
A. There is created the "firefighters' survivors supplemental death benefits review committee". The committee shall consist of the attorney general, the president of the New Mexico fire chiefs association, the state president of the New Mexico professional firefighters association and the president of the New Mexico state fire fighters association or their designees.
B. The firefighters' survivors supplemental death benefits review committee shall determine whether a firefighter has been killed in the line of duty and advise the state fire marshal of that determination. In addition to any other death benefits provided by law, the surviving spouse or children shall be paid fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) as supplemental death benefits whenever a firefighter is killed in the line of duty. The benefits shall be paid from the fund.
C. The benefits shall be paid entirely to the surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, the benefits shall be distributed in pro rata shares to all surviving children. If there are no surviving children or spouse, benefits shall be distributed to the surviving parents of the firefighter.
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