BOISE, Idaho — Editor's note: The video posted above is a story that aired Jan. 25, 2022, the day House Bill 461 was introduced in the House Education Committee.
Legislation prompted by the deaths of three Idaho Army National Guard pilots killed in a helicopter crash during a training flight last year is heading to the House floor.
The House Education Committee on Friday voted to approve House Bill 461, which would change the law to make the spouses and children of Idaho military personnel or public safety officers killed during training eligible for college scholarships. They're currently available only to survivors of those taken prisoner, missing, killed or permanently disabled in armed conflict.
The bill's statement of purpose states, in part, that if an Idaho parent serves in the military and falls "doing what they were ordered to do," then their child or spouse will be eligible for the scholarship, assuming they meet other prerequisites.
Rep. Chris Mathias (D-Boise) says the change would help the spouses and eight children of the guardsmen killed in the February 2, 2021 Black Hawk crash near Boise. In addition to military service members, survivors of fallen firefighters, law enforcement officers, paramedics and emergency medical technicians would be eligible under the bill.
"This is about making sure our children have the opportunities that their parents have earned for them," Mathias said.
The legislation also received early backing from Sen. Jim Woodward (R-Sagle) and co-sponsors of both parties in the House.
A floor vote by the full House as well as committee and floor votes in the Senate are still pending, as of Saturday, Feb. 5.
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