Mike Sexton’s bill deserves support

He seeks better protection for families of fallen peace officers

On Sept. 13, 2013, Rockwell City Police Officer Jamie Buenting died in the line of duty. He was shot during an overnight standoff at 502 Pleasant St. by Corey Trott, of Rockwell City. Trott was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for that murder.

The City Council in Rockwell City tried to provide extended health insurance for the widow and children of the fallen officer. Unfortunately, provisions of the city’s insurance policy limited the length of time that could occur to only three years. Subsequently, the city was able to make alternate arrangements for the Buenting family.

State Rep. Mike Sexton, R-Rockwell City, recognized that the insurance limitations that had made it difficult for Rockwell City to handle health insurance for the Buenting family the way council members had wished were too restrictive. They needed to change. He set about making better insurance protection possible for heroic public servants who died while performing their jobs.

To accomplish that, Sexton introduced in the current legislative session House File 2049. This bill would require the continuation of accident and/or health insurance coverage for the spouse and children of peace officers who die in the line of duty. Basically, the legislation would make it possible for insurance for the officer’s children to remain in effect until they reached age 26. The surviving spouse could be covered for five years with provisions for longer coverage. Coverage for the spouse beyond five years would be at that person’s expense.

The Messenger applauds Sexton’s effort.

Peace officers who put their lives at risk to keep us safe should be guaranteed that should they die while performing that important work their dependents will be properly looked after. We hope Sexton’s legislation will receive broad bipartisan support. We urge its prompt approval by lawmakers.