The Associated Press December 1, 2004
Lawmakers gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill that would ask Lancaster voters to reconsider their decision to deny survivor benefits to the widow of a part-time firefighter killed in the line of duty. The bill, which was filed by Gov. Mitt Romney and approved Wednesday by the Legislature’s Election Laws Committee, would require Lancaster to hold a special election within 35 days asking voters whether Martin McNamara’s widow and three children should receive health insurance benefits.McNamara, like the state’s thousands of other on-call firefighters, was not covered by any type of accidental death policy when he was killed last November fighting a fire. On Nov. 2, a tax override initiative that would have provided benefits to Claire McNamara and her children was defeated by 16 votes. The $650,000 annuity would have paid the family $30,000 annually. Town officials estimate it would cost the town about $1.8 million over several decades. Others argued the town could have afforded it without raising taxes. The special election bill now goes to the House for further consideration.