State Senate Approves Bill Providing Health Insurance to Family Members of Fallen Police Officers

The Wisconsin State Senate unanimously passed a bill this
week that would provide health insurance coverage for surviving family members
of police officers killed in the line of duty. Senator Van Wanggaard of Racine authored
Senate Bill 266, which requires a city, village, town or county to pay those
premiums to a surviving spouse until they reach age 65 or they remarry, and to
a surviving child until they reach the age of 26. Current law provides similar
benefits to the surviving spouse and children of a firefighter who dies, or has
died, in the line of duty. Ashley Birkholz, the widow of fallen Fond du Lac
Police Officer Craig Birkholz, spoke in favor of the bill in front of the
Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety last month. “When a police
officer loses his or her life in the line of duty, it has many devastating
effects on the family and the community,” Wanggard said. “Making sure the officer’s
family doesn’t lose their health insurance coverage is the least we can do.”
The bill now goes to the Assembly for approval.