ATLANTA - The House on Monday unanimously passed legislation to allow the surviving spouses of some state workers killed in the line of duty to continue to collect health insurance benefits.
The bill was inspired by Georgia State Trooper Chadwick LeCroy, who was gunned down during a traffic stop late last year. It passed the House 163-0 on Monday.
Sponsored by House Speaker David Ralston, the measure initially would have covered all state employees killed while performing their jobs. It was amended to cover just public safety and Department of Transportation workers.
The bill would allow LeCroy's widow, Keisha, to continue to receive health benefits under the state plan - rather than forcing her to the more expensive COBRA plan that could cost some $900 a month. LeCroy died after being shot in the neck during a Dec. 27 traffic stop.
The bill would also apply to the family of Spencer Pass, a state Department of Transportation "HERO" operator killed while helping a motorist on Interstate 85 south of downtown Atlanta last week.
The proposal drew together two former political rivals. New Gov. Nathan Deal pushed the measure after his office received a call from, Democrat Roy Barnes. Barnes and his Marietta law firm are representing LeCroy's widow for free.
Deal defeated Barnes in November in a bitter race for governor.
Deal's predecessor, Republican Sonny Perdue, vetoed a similar bill in 2006.
The bill now heads to the state Senate.
House Bill 107: www.legis.ga.gov