State House passes Sainato bill to extend death benefits to Pa. Civil Air Patrol

HARRISBURG, Feb. 3 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously passed state Rep. Chris Sainato's bill that would extend the same death benefits to members of the Pennsylvania Civil Air Patrol that are available to other emergency responders.


The state's Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefits Act provides $100,000 to families of emergency responders who die while performing their duties. The bill authored by Sainato, who serves as Democratic chairman of the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, would amend the act to include the Civil Air Patrol.


The Civil Air Patrol is a federally supported, nonprofit organization that serves as an official civil auxiliary arm of the United States Air Force. It consists of 2,200 volunteers who support emergency service responders across the country by conducting search-and-rescue operations, providing disaster relief and performing homeland security missions.


“These volunteers work alongside of police, firefighters and other emergency responders during dangerous situations,” said Sainato, D-Lawrence. “They deserve to have the same benefits as their peers.”


Sainato said the Civil Air Patrol has provided valuable assistance in Pennsylvania and other parts of the country.


Members of the organization helped communities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware recover from Hurricane Sandy. They also aided in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in Mississippi by going door to door to ensure that residents had adequate food, water and medical care. They worked with Civil Air Patrol wings in Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana to help those affected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.


Sainato’s legislation, H.B. 49, now goes to the state Senate for consideration.