Widows ask lawmakers to OK police insurance bill

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on a bill that would require municipalities, universities and the state to cover health insurance premiums for slain police officers’ survivors (all times local):

1:55 p.m.

The widows of three Wisconsin police officers slain on duty are imploring lawmakers to pass a bill that would require municipalities to pay health insurance premiums for slain officers’ survivors.

Ashley Birkholz, Kara Weiland and Charlette Nenning told the Senate judiciary and Assembly insurance committees during a joint hearing Tuesday that when they lost their husbands their worlds fell apart. In addition to mourning they had to deal with the loss of their health insurance. Weiland said first responders should know their families will be taken care of if they die.

The bill would require municipalities and Marquette University to cover premiums for slain officers’ spouses and children. The state would reimburse the locals from a public safety fee communications providers collect from customers.

Lawmakers are considering amending the bill to include all law enforcement officers, including officers employed by the state and the University of Wisconsin System, and emergency medical technicians. The amendment also would reimburse the officers’ employer through general state tax dollars rather than the public safety fee.
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8:50 a.m.
Widows of three Wisconsin police officers killed on duty are slated to speak on a bipartisan bill that would require municipalities to pay health insurance premiums for slain officers’ immediate survivors.

Ashley Birkholz, Kara Weiland and Charlette Nenning will address the Senate judiciary committee Tuesday.

Craig Birkholz, a Fond du Lac officer, was shot in standoff in 2011. Jason Weiland, an Everest Metro detective, was killed during a shooting spree in Wausau in 2017. LeRoy Nennig, a Sheboygan County sheriff’s lieutenant, was hit by a car in 2004 at the scene of a vehicle fire.

The bill would require municipalities to cover premiums for slain officers’ spouses and children. The state would reimburse the locals from a public safety fee that communication providers and wireless retailers collect from customers.