- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Legislature has passed a bill to double the amount of money the state pays surviving spouses, children or parents of public employees killed in the line of duty.

The measure was unanimously approved by the Senate late Tuesday, after previously clearing the House.

If it becomes law, surviving spouses of a police officer, firefighter or other public employee killed on-duty would receive $500,000, up from $250,000 currently.

The money would go to the employee’s children if there is no surviving spouse, or to the employee’s parents if the employee had no spouse or children.

Lawmakers have budgeted $6.7 million for the increased benefit.

Democratic Sen. Eddie Lucio called it “the right thing to do” for survivors. On average, 19 public employees are killed on-duty each year.

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