SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Police Trooper Christopher Lambert, a Highland Park resident, was killed in January when he was struck by a speeding motorist while assisting with a traffic stop. As his family mourned the loss, they endured additional stress due to the burdensome cost of burial.
That led state Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, to spearhead a measure to increase burial benefits for fallen first responders from $10,000 to $20,000.
“Law enforcement and first responders put their lives on the line every day to protect us,” Morrison said. “The least we can do for those fallen officers or firefighters is ensure their families aren’t left worrying how they’ll afford to bury their loved one.”
Currently, the state burial benefit for firefighters, state police officers or local law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty is $10,000. The senator’s new law will increase that benefit to $20,000, acknowledging the ever-increasing costs associated with burials. Neither the benefit for state police officers nor the benefit for local law enforcement officers and firefighters has been raised since its creation in the late 1990s.
House Bill 2028, which passed the General Assembly without opposition, takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.