Calif. Lawmakers Approve Death Benefit Extension

California lawmakers approved a bill Tuesday that would double the amount of time survivors of firefighters and police officers have to file for on-duty death benefits.

The Assembly passed AB2451 by a vote of 51-18 and it now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Most Democrats supported the measure introduced by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, while many Republicans opposed it.

The bill would allow families to file for benefits up to nine years after the diagnosis of a job-related illness or injury.

It would apply to deaths from cancer, tuberculosis, blood-borne infectious diseases and MRSA skin infections, which are all presumed under California law as being job-related for firefighters and police officers.

The bill is meant to address situations in which a responder suffers a fatal illness or injury while on duty, but dies after the current 4 1/2-year statute of limitation for seeking death benefits.

"Assembly Bill 2451 honors the courage and memory of our state's fallen public safety officers, and the perseverance and sacrifice of their surviving family members," Perez said.

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