Tuesday, February 19, 2013

H.B. 2204

In the morning I head to California to attend the funeral for Detective Jeremiah MacKay of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s office EOW 02/12/13.  He was the final tragic death in the murderous rampage of a crazed ex LAPD officer bent on revenge on innocent people to right his perceived wrongs.  The tragic actions of the suspect (I do not write his name because to me his victims are more important to me) will never make sense.  His final Victim was Detective MacKay.  I did not know him but I go to stand and be counted as one who stood up for a fellow officer. 

A video of some of the funeral.  It was an honor to be a part of honoring a fallen hero.
Detective Jeremiah MacKay Funeral

Just as in the military when it comes to public safety service the saying all gave some and some gave all is just as true.  A political debate on this topic has been brewing in the great state of Arizona.  A bill put forth by Rep. Bob Robson makes it so the family of officers killed in the line of duty will have the city keep the families able to purchase medical insurance at the normal employee rate until surviving spouse is remarried, eligible for Medicare or the children are all adults.   It doesn’t give them free medical insurance for life just that they get to purchase insurance at the same rate as employees (in my case the employee rate is about $700 a month).  It does require the agency to pay the employee portion or in this case the portion for the officer killed in the line of duty after his death. 

Most people would think this is a no brainer and may even expect that it happens that way anyway.  Believe it or not 5 Republican Representatives voted against it. 

Rep. Carl Seel
Rep. Steve Smith
Rep. Adam Kwasman
Rep. Darin Mitchell
Rep. Steve Montenegro

These are the five that felt that organizations should not have to allow the widow of officers killed in the line of duty to be allowed to PURCHASE medical coverage at the same rate as employees.  Why?  I would be speculating but I assume like most Tea Party folks they think my benefits are too good as it is and I should not get any more, especially if I am dead.  If I am dead the far right wing of the republican party think that my family deserves no more bennifit.  I mean if I get killed by some felon that the judicial branch failed to keep their oath and let them back out, why should my wife get to buy insurance at the same rate as when I was alive?  That seems like a waste of precious tax payer dollars.

I guess it goes back to the Tea Party right that changed our pensions a few years back from 20 to 25 years.  Funny thing is in New Mexico an officer can retire at 20 years with 70% of his pay as pension and at 22.8 years 80%.  In Arizona under the old system you could retire at 20 years with 50% as a pension and to get to 80% you had to do 32 years.  Now you have to give 25 years just to get 50%.  I guess cops are worth more in New Mexico to the legislature than in Arizona.  Or maybe in Arizona they like to pay a couple hundred thousand dollars to train officers then lose them to other things and stats and have to pay to train up the replacements sooner.

I know police work isn’t that dangerous right?  Only like 130 officers get killed each year.  But that doesn’t take into account the 60,000 officer assaulted and thankfully not all officers shot die due to better equipment and technology.  To those five, I say shame on you.  Shame on you for spitting in the face of the family of those officers that gave all,  that ran to the sound of the gunshots , that fought a violent subject in a to the death fight and didn’t make it.  To you five, I cannot put into words how much disappointment I feel.  For decades conservatives enjoyed the benefit of Law Enforcement endorsements.  You five will be driving one of the final nails in that coffin.  How sad is it that you have squandered the support of Law Enforcement and Public Safety in general.  When the public safety pension was ravaged by mismanagement for god sakes Kyrsten Sinema was the only elected official to publicly express outrage.  What was the tea party republican response?  Extend the time from 20 years to 25 to get a pension and make us pay more each month.  Thank you for showing your true colors.  Since your spit in the face was metaphorical, I dare you to contact the families of officers killed in the line of duty and tell them personally that you don’t think they deserve to be able to buy insurance at the same rate as employees because their family member that was an employee was murdered.  I doubt you will like the response you get.   

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