OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that will increase the amount of death benefits for any firefighter, paid or volunteer, or law enforcement officer who is in the pension system and passes away, was referred for an actuarial analysis by a vote of 8-0 in the House Banking Committee yesterday. The actuarial analysis will determine the fiscal impact of the bill.
Rep. Dick Lowe, R-Amber, is the author of House Bill 2461, which is named in honor of fallen Oklahoma City firefighter Andy Davis. Davis was a 20 year veteran with OKCFD and comes from a family of public servants. His brother, father, uncle and several other family members have served in fire departments. Davis tragically passed away due to COVID-19 complications on Dec. 24, 2020.
“Our firefighters and law enforcement officers continuously put their lives on the line to keep us safe,” Lowe said. “We cannot begin to match our gratitude to their sacrifice, but it is my hope that this bill will help ease some of the financial burden felt by the families of our fallen protectors. I think it is only fitting that the bill be named after Maj. Davis, a man who devoted his life to serving and protecting. His death was a tragic loss to his family, community and the State of Oklahoma. This bill will help his memory live on in the minds of those he served and served with.”
HB 2461 would change the amount of death benefits due to the beneficiaries of firefighters and law enforcement officers who are members of the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension & Retirement System and Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System from $5,000 to $15,000 for those members who die on or after July 1, 2021. This is the first update to the benefit amount in over 30 years.
“The average funeral now costs over $11,000,” added Lowe. “This bill adjusts the death benefit for inflation and helps give the families of our fallen heroes some small financial peace of mind when their loved one passes. It’s just the right thing to do.”