1998 Regular Session
By: Representative Eaton
House Bill 829
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE PAYMENT OF FUNERAL EXPENSES TO THE SURVIVING SPOUSE, CHILDREN OR DEPENDENT PARENTS OF A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER WHO IS KILLED OR DIES IN THE LINE OF DUTY; TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS AS USED IN THIS ACT; TO CREATE IN THE STATE TREASURY A SPECIAL FUND TO BE DESIGNATED AS THE "LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER FUNERAL BENEFIT FUND," AND TO PROVIDE THAT SUCH MONIES AS ARE DEPOSITED INTO THE FUND MAY BE EXPENDED, UPON LEGISLATIVE APPROPRIATION, TO PAY BENEFITS TO THE FAMILIES OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY; TO PROVIDE THAT THE FUND SHALL BE ADMINISTERED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION; TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION TO ADOPT SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS IT DEEMS NECESSARY FOR CARRYING OUT ITS DUTIES UNDER THIS ACT; TO PROVIDE THAT ANY PERSON AGGRIEVED BY A FINAL DECISION OF THE DEPARTMENT MAY APPEAL THE DECISION TO THE CHANCERY COURT OF HINDS COUNTY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. For purposes of this act the following terms shall have the meanings herein ascribed unless the context requires otherwise:
(a) "Children" means any natural, illegitimate, adopted or posthumous children or stepchildren of the decedent who are:
(i) Eighteen (18) years of age or under; or
(ii) Over eighteen (18) years of age and incapable of self-support because of physical or mental disability.
(b) "Law enforcement officer" means and has the same definition as that term is defined in Section 45-6-3.
(c) "Stepchild" means a child of the surviving spouse who was living with or dependent for support on the decedent at the time of his death.
SECTION 2. (1) Reasonable funeral expenses, not to exceed Six Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($6,500.00), shall be paid to the surviving spouse, children or dependent parents of a law enforcement officer who is killed or dies in the line of duty.
(2) The funeral benefit provided by subsection (1) of this section shall be reduced by the amount of any related workers' compensation benefits paid under Chapter 3 of Title 71, Mississippi Code of 1972.
SECTION 3. (1) There is created in the State Treasury a special fund to be designated as the "Law Enforcement Officer Funeral Benefit Fund." Such monies as the Legislature directs or authorizes to be deposited into the fund may be expended, upon legislative appropriation, to pay benefits to the families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty as provided under this act. Unexpended amounts remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund, and any interest earned on amounts in the fund shall be deposited to the credit of the fund.
(2) The fund created in subsection (1) of this section shall be administered by the Department of Finance and Administration. The Department of Finance and Administration shall adopt such rules and regulations as it deems necessary to prescribe the procedure for making and paying claims and, in general, for carrying out all of its powers and duties under the provisions of this act.
(3) Upon a determination by the Department of Finance and Administration that benefits provided under this act are payable, payment shall be made as follows:
(a) To the surviving spouse;
(b) If there is no surviving spouse, to the surviving child or children of the decedent in equal shares; or
(c) If there is no surviving spouse or children, to the surviving parent or parents, if the parent was s dependent as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code.
(4) Any person aggrieved by a final decision of the department may appeal the decision to the Chancery Court of Hinds County. Any such appeal shall be limited to an appeal on the record.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.