SECTION 1. Arkansas Code § 21-5-705(a), concerning payment of claims to designated beneficiaries or survivors of certain specified public employees killed in the line of duty, is amended to read as follows:
The state shall pay the additional sum of one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) to the designated beneficiary, surviving spouse, or surviving children under the age of twenty-two (22) years of age of any a:
Police officer, wildlife enforcement officer of the Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission, commissioned law enforcement officer or emergency response employee of the State Parks Division of the Department of Parks and Tourism, Department of Community Correction employee, or employee of the Department of Correction whose death occurred:
- After January 1, 2003; and
- In the official line of duty as the result of a criminal or negligent action of another person or persons or as the result of the engagement in exceptionally hazardous duty; or
- In the line of duty while the officer or employee was performing emergency medical activities; and
- Firefighter, emergency medical technician, or employee of the Arkansas Forestry Commission killed after July 1, 1987, while responding to, engaging in, or returning from a fire, a rescue incident, a hazardous material or bomb incident, an emergency medical activity, or simulated training thereof; and
- Firefighter killed in the line of duty after January 1, 2012, including death from leukemia, lymphoma, mesothelioma, and multiple myeloma and cancer of the brain, digestive tract, urinary tract, liver, skin, breast, cervical, thyroid, prostate, testicle, or a cancer that has been found by research and statistics to show higher instances of occurrence in firefighters than in the general population, if he or she was exposed to a known carcinogen as determined by the Department of Health with consideration to the findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer while in the official line of duty.
(3)(A)(i) of this section does not include a firefighter who was diagnosed with cancer prior to the start of firefighter service.
A death benefit under subdivision (a)(3)(A) of this section shall be limited to:
- A maximum of one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) per individual death, including educational benefits provided in §6-82-501 et seq.; and
- A firefighter who is under the sixty-eight (68) years of age.
- The Firefighter Benefit Review Panel is created for the purpose of making recommendations to the Arkansas State Claims Commission regarding determinations of death benefits under subdivision (a)(3)(A) of this section for deaths associated with cancer.
The panel shall consist of the following seven (7) individuals to be appointed by the Governor:
- One (1) licensed oncologist;
- Two (2) firefighters paid by the state, a county, or a municipality.
- One (1) firefighter under subdivision (a)(3)(C)(ii)(b)(1) of this section shall be appointed from a list of names submitted by the Arkansas Professional FirefightersAssociation;
- Two (2) volunteer firefighters.
- One (1) firefighter under subdivision (a)(3)(C)(ii)(c)(1) of this section shall be appointed from a list of names submitted by the Arkansas State Firefighters Association;
One (1) fire chief who may be appointed from a list of names submitted by the Arkansas Association of Fire Chiefs; and
One (1) citizen with experience in either cancer and healthcare professions or firefighter relations.
- Panel members shall serve a term of four (4) years.
- In the event of a vacancy in the membership of the panel, the Governor shall appoint a person meeting the applicable eligibility requirements of the vacated position to fill thevacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term.