CFO Sink Calls on House to Hear & Pass Firefighter Death Benefits Bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 27, 2010
CONTACT: Kevin Cate, (850) 413-2842
CFO SINK CALLS ON HOUSE TO HEAR & PASS FIREFIGHTER DEATH BENEFITS BILL
TALLAHASSEE— Florida CFO and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink today called on the leadership of the Florida House of Representatives to allow the Firefighter Death Benefits Bill (HB 65/ SB 202) sponsored by Representative Darren Soto and Senator Carey Baker to be heard on the House Floor.
Survivors of firefighters who are killed during training exercises do not receive the same death benefits that that they would otherwise receive from a firefighters’ work-related death. The situation is highlighted by the recent death of John Curry, a Volusia County firefighter, who is survived by his spouse, Kristen Curry, and a son, Owen Curry. Curry was killed while training with the Volusia County Fire Services Firewalker Team in 2007 when a dead pine tree fell on his back. Two days later, Volusia County sent a letter to his widow informing her that her family’s health benefits would be terminated.
“Florida firefighters deserve to be honored for their sacrifice,” said CFO and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink. “The tragic death of Volusia County firefighter John Curry reminds us of the very real danger facing our firefighters every day, including during training exercises. It is an injustice to allow his wife and son to be victimized by a loophole that disregards Curry’s sacrifice. Curry is a hero to his son, his wife and all Floridians. I urge House leadership to honor his memory by allowing House members to end the training loophole and protect our firefighters and their families.”
Senate Bill 202 was approved unanimously by the Senate earlier this week. House Bill 65 by Rep. Soto has been heard in only one House Committee. Soto is urging House Speaker Larry Cretul to bring the issue to a House floor vote before the end of the 2010 legislative session.
“The time has come for us to right this injustice,” said Rep. Soto. “We ask our firefighters to put their lives on the line to protect our constituents and they do so without reservation. It’s incumbent upon us to recognize their sacrifice and to close this tragic loophole.”
“These individuals put their lives on the line each day to save our families and our homes, it is imperative that they receive the appropriate benefit when they make the ultimate sacrifice, whether the fallen firefighter was involved in a training exercise or other aspects of his/her duties,” said Senator Baker.
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As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, CFO Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services. A successful businesswoman with nearly three decades of experience in the private sector, Sink is serving her first term as Florida's CFO. As CFO, Sink's priorities include using her business experience to cut wasteful government spending, cracking down on financial and insurance fraud and reforming the state government's contracting practices.