1999 Regular Session
By: Representatives Capps, Foster, Myers, Eaton, Ishee, Taylor, Fleming, Holland, Mitchell
House Bill 758
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE PAYMENT OF DEATH BENEFITS TO THE SURVIVORS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY; TO CREATE THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS DEATH BENEFITS TRUST FUND; TO PROVIDE FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE FUND BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) Whenever used in this section, the term:
(a) "Employer" means a state board, commission, department, division, bureau, or agency, or a county, municipality or other political subdivision of the state, which employs, appoints or otherwise engages the services of law enforcement officers.
(b) "Law enforcement officer" means any lawfully sworn officer or employee of the state or any political subdivision of the state whose duties require the officer or employee to investigate, pursue, apprehend, arrest, transport or maintain custody of persons who are charged with, suspected of committing, or convicted of a crime.
(2) (a) The Department of Public Safety shall make a payment, as provided in this section, in an amount determined by the department, when a law enforcement officer, while engaged in the performance of the officer's law enforcement duties, is accidentally or intentionally killed or receives accidental or intentional bodily injury that results in the loss of the officer's life, provided that the killing is not the result of suicide and that the bodily injury is not intentionally self-inflicted.
(b) The payment provided for under paragraph (a) of this subsection shall be made to the beneficiary that was designated in writing by the law enforcement officer, signed by the officer and delivered to the employer during the officer's lifetime. If no such designation is made, then the payment shall be made to the officer's surviving child or children and spouse in equal portions, and if there is no surviving child or spouse, then to the officer's parent or parents. If a beneficiary is not designated and there is no surviving child, spouse or parent, then the payment shall be made to the officer's estate.
(c) The payment made under paragraph (a) of this subsection is in addition to any workers' compensation or pension benefits and is exempt from the claims and demands of creditors of the law enforcement officer.
(3) (a) There is established in the State Treasury a special fund to be known as the Law Enforcement Officers Death Benefits Trust Fund. The trust fund shall be funded by an initial appropriation of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00), and shall be comprised of any additional funds made available by the Legislature or by donation, contribution, gift or any other source.
(b) The principal of the trust fund shall remain inviolate and shall never be expended. Any interest earned on the principal may be expended to provide the payments provided for under paragraph (a) of this subsection. However, only the interest that has been earned through June 30 of any year may be expended during the subsequent fiscal year.
(c) The State Treasurer shall invest the monies of the trust fund in any of the investments authorized for the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Program under Section 37-155-9, and those investments shall be subject to the limitations prescribed by Section 37-155-9.
(d) Unexpended amounts remaining in the trust fund at the end of the state fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund, and any interest earned on amounts in the trust fund shall be deposited to the credit of the trust fund.
(4) The Department of Public Safety shall be responsible for the management of the trust fund and the disbursement of death benefits authorized under this section. The Department of Public Safety shall adopt rules and regulations necessary to implement and standardize the payment of death benefits under this section, to administer the death benefits fund created by this act and to carry out the purposes of this section.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1999.