LOVES PARK, Ill. – State Rep. Dave Vella, D-Rockford, will welcome Comptroller Susana Mendoza and local leaders for a press conference advocating passage of the “Gold Star and Fallen Heroes Family Support Act,” a proposal that would guarantee funding for the benefits program designed to help families of Illinois’ fallen first responders year-round.
The press conference will be held on Friday, Oct. 21 from 11 a.m. to noon at the Rockford Police Department’s District 3 Community Room.
“This bill will make certain that the families of our fallen first responders are able to remain financially secure,” Vella said. “It’s unacceptable for them to possibly have to deal with bureaucratic hurdles after the tragic loss of a loved one in the line of duty. Ensuring that support will be available for these families at all times is an expression of our commitment to everyday heroes in our community.”
Vella teamed up with Mendoza to introduce House Bill 5785, which creates a continuing appropriation for line of duty awards when the state budget appropriation is insufficient to cover all claims in a fiscal year. The measure would end the current practice of forcing families to await a supplemental appropriation from the General Assembly if allocated funds ran out. The existing Line of Duty Compensation Act provides a death benefit for claims filed within a year of death of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, paramedic, armed forces member and other state employees killed in the line of duty.
Vella and Mendoza will be joined by:
– Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara;
– Rockford Police Department Chief Carla Redd;
– Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana;
– Debbie Wiseman, COPS;
– Sean Smoot, Police Benevolent and Protective Association;
– Loves Park Mayor Greg Jury;
– Loves Park Chief of Police Mike McCammond;
– Winnebago County Chairman Joe Chiarelli;
– Rockford Fire Department Fire Chief Michele Pankow;
– State Sen. Steve Stadelman;
– Machesney Park President Steve Johnson;
– Northwestern Illinois Building Trades President Alan Golden; and
– Rockford AFFI Local 413 Union President Christopher Scrol