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Bill aims to expand benefits for families of state employees kil - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Bill aims to expand benefits for families of state employees killed at work

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DENVER -

Colorado lawmakers Thursday introduced bipartisan legislation that extends the length of time that families of employees who are killed on the job can remain covered by state health insurance plans.

Beth Martinez Humenik of Adams County is one of the co-sponsors of Senate Bill 148. 

"This bill will allow the families of those employees to have insurance coverage for a full year instead of having it end at the end of the month of the death of that employee," she told reporters during a news conference held at the State Capitol.

Velma Donahue's late husband, State Trooper Cody Donahue, died on the 25th of November in 2016.

"Six days after he was killed, before we had his funeral, my daughter got sick," she said. "I took her to the doctor only to be told, after 11 years I had no health insurance."

She said that just compounded the stress of dealing with the death of her husband.

"It was very hard, it was very scary; I kept thinking, oh my God, what if something happens to me. What if something happens to the children? What is going to happen to us?" 

The bill passed out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on a unanimous vote held shortly after the media briefing. State Representative Tony Exum, a Democrat from Colorado Springs, is a lead sponsor in the house. He said this bill is a common-sense policy change.

"They have enough to deal with to figure out what they're going to be doing with their lives after such a tragic loss." 

Exum expects the bipartisan legislation to make it way quickly to the Governor's desk and hopes that it will give grieving families in the future a little less to worry about.

This legislation will only affect state employees and wouldn't help the family of fallen Sheriff's Deputy Micah Flick. Dave Rose, a spokesman for El Paso County, said the County Commissioners are contemplating a similar change to our local policy.

He adds that Deputy Flick's family will receive a $30,000 life insurance benefit from the County.

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