Maryland Association of Counties Associate Director Andrea Mansfield offered support for Senate Bill 247 and House Bill 516 with an amendment. This bill would authorize a local jurisdiction to provide funeral and death benefits for a hazardous materials response team employee employed by a local government agency if the agency places in reserve each fiscal year the amount needed to pay for one death benefit and one funeral expense for a hazardous material response team employee. Operationally, this benefit would be paid by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and the local government would reimburse the Department.
The bill’s intent is to have the local government agency pay the benefit to the Department only if the funds are placed in reserve. However, the bill could be interpreted to require a local government to pay the benefit if the Department determines that a death and funeral benefit is to be paid even if funds are not set aside. MACo offered an amendment to clarify the bill’s intent that was accepted by the sponsors of both bills, Senator Barry Glassman and Delegate James Malone.