BOISE, Idaho — The bill prompted by the deaths of three Idaho Army National Guard pilots killed in a helicopter crash during training last year unanimously passed the House today and now heads to the Senate.
Receiving bipartisan support, the bill, introduced by Democratic Representative Chris Mathias, would change Idaho law to allow children and spouses of Idaho military personnel who are killed during training to be eligible for the Armed Forces/Public Safety Officer Dependent scholarship.
Right now, the scholarships are only available to dependents of those who are missing, permanently disabled or killed in the line of duty, but not training.
“When we wrote this statue in the throes of the Vietnam War, we were focused on those who were being killed in combat. We wrote the statute for them and we omitted and forgot that fortunately not frequently, but occasionally our soldiers and our sailors do fall in training,” Mathias said on the House floor.
Offered by the Idaho State Board of Education, the scholarship waives tuition feeds and up to $500 per semester for books plus on-campus housing to Idaho undergrad students who are children or spouses to military members of public safety officers.