“Jason McKissack Act” passes State House unanimously

That’s the word from West Seattle Rep. Eileen Cody. While we went to Olympia for last week’s public hearing on the bill, EHB 1679, which would prevent catastrophically injured public-safety personnel like former Southwest Precinct SPD Officer Jason McKissack from losing health benefits, we weren’t able to go to today’s vote, but Rep. Cody sent word on the results. Next stop: The State Senate. Last year it made it through the House but stalled in the Senate; if you want to express your opinion, State Sen. Joe McDermott represents our area; his contact info is here. ADDED 5:27 PM: The Seattle Police Guild has just sent a news release with more info – read on to see it:

The Seattle Police officers Guild, Seattle Fire Fighters Local 27 and the Council of Metropolitan Police and Sheriffs are pleased to announce that House Bill 1679, “The Jason McKissack Act” which will provide medical insurance for Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters who are catastrophically disabled in the line of duty unanimously passed the House of Representatives today.

This bill helps to fill a hole that Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters in this state face. Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters put their lives on the line everyday and it is imperative that should they be catastrophically disabled in the line of duty they and their families should be provided medical insurance. Currently line of duty death survivors receive medical benefits if their Law Enforcement Officer or Fire Fighter gives their life in the line of duty. This is not the case for a Law Enforcement Officer or Fire Fighter who manages to survive but is catastrophically disabled. We should never have a situation where a Law Enforcement Officer or Fire Fighters family is better off financially if they had been killed in the line of duty rather than be catastrophically disabled.

Seattle Police Guild President Rich O’Neill stated “the passage of this bill is a major step in ensuring that the state meet the promise they made to Law Enforcement Officers, that they would protect those who put their life on the line everyday for this great state. We are hopeful the Senate will now also pass this bill.”

Local 27 President Kenny Stuart stated “this bill will ensure that a Fire Fighter or Police Officer and their family who suffers a catastrophic injury on duty will not also have to face financial ruin.”

COMPAS Executive Director Renee Maher stated “This bill is an example of the power of bi-partisanship. When we work together, not as Republicans or Democrats but as citizens of the state of Washington we are able to move mountains and together we will take care of these families.”

We jointly urge all citizens of the State of Washington to continue to call and email your Senators to urge them to pass this bill. Everyday Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters put their lives on the line and are the “back-up” for all citizens when they are in need. Our Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters are now in need and we are asking that all of the citizens of Washington now be their “back-up.” Please urge your Senators to support this Bill.

8 Replies to ""Jason McKissack Act" passes State House unanimously"

  • fiz February 3, 2010 (4:05 pm)

    We just sent an email to the senator to urge his assistance.

  • glendafrench February 3, 2010 (4:16 pm)

    I honestly can’t understand why someone WOULDN’T support this bill, but I’ll send an urging letter as well.

  • Tracy D. February 3, 2010 (4:59 pm)

    Just sent an email to Senator Joe McDermott! Thanks for getting us the contact info.

  • clark5080 February 3, 2010 (5:19 pm)

    I sure hope this is retroavtive

  • cclarue February 3, 2010 (5:24 pm)

    Who in their right mind could vote no on this!!!??? and i second clark5080!!

  • Mike February 3, 2010 (7:45 pm)

    YEAAHHHHHH!!! They finally got one right! Good for him and the rest of the brave that put their lives on the line for us on a daily basis.

  • Sen Joe McDermott February 4, 2010 (5:02 pm)

    I’m with Glenda, I can’t make a strong argument against the bill and am eager to support it here in the State Senate. And in response to Clark5080, it’s only retroactive in the sense that expenditures incurred by Jason after the effective date of the bill will be reimbursed by LEOFF, but not those incurred before. It still should help him a lot though because it sounds like his medical bills going forward are still pretty big. And the bill has what we call an emergency clause, meaning it takes effect at the moment the Governor signs it, not later, so it helps sooner.

  • Renee Maher February 4, 2010 (9:47 pm)

    Thank you for your support, Senator McDermott! You are absolutely accurate in your assessment. Jason will have on-going medical expenses for the rest of his life as a result of his brain injury. Not only will this bill help him, it will help his entire family. His wife and two young children have been through so much. I look forward to the day when no officer or firefighter in our state EVER feels like they are better off dead so their family has medical insurance!

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