Senate votes to pay college costs for kids of those killed on duty

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Citing the recent line-of-duty deaths of Auburn police officer Ronald Tarentino and state trooper Thomas Clardy, the Senate unanimously agreed Thursday to a budget rider creating a scholarship program for the children of veterans, law enforcement officers and other public employees killed on the job.

Both Tarentino, a father of three, and Clardy, who had seven children, were killed conducting traffic stops. Tarentino was shot early Sunday morning and Clardy’s cruiser was struck by another car on March 16.

Tarentino was a constituent of Sen. Michael Moore, who sponsored the scholarship fund amendment with Sens. Ryan Fattman, Bruce Tarr, James Timilty and Michael Rush.

While nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one, lawmakers have an obligation to “assist the families of our fallen heroes,” Moore said.

The scholarship would cover undergraduate tuition, mandatory fees and on-campus housing costs at a public college or university. It would be available to children of public employees who died or sustained fatal injuries during the course of their duties and to children of prisoners of war, military members declared missing in action, or veterans killed in action.

— Written by Katie Lannan

Copyright State House News Service