Families of fallen state workers would keep insurance benefits for a year in bill expected to be signed by Hickenlooper – The Denver Post

A bill that would allow families of fallen state workers to keep their loved one’s benefits for a year is heading to the desk of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Senate Bill 148 sailed through the Democratic-control state House on Tuesday morning with only one “no” vote.

The measure had broad bipartisan support as it made its way through the legislature.

The bill was inspired by the 2016 death of Colorado State Patrol Trooper Cody Donahue, who was struck and killed by a vehicle while working on the side of Interstate 25 near Castle Rock. A current state policy that ends family benefits, such as health and dental insurance, left his wife and two daughters without insurance within days of his passing.

When Donahue’s wife, Velma, tried to take one of the couple’s young daughters to the doctor days after the trooper was killed, and before he had even been buried, she found out their insurance had ended.

The bill, if signed into law by Hickenlooper, as expected, would also cover Colorado Department of Transportation workers and Colorado Department of Corrections employees. It would not apply to local or county governments, which have their own policies but often look to the state for guidance.

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