COLUMBUS—The Senate passed legislation this week, co-sponsored by Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina), expanding survivor benefits for the families of first responders who are killed in the line of duty.

Senate Bill 296 will expand the length of time these families can draw full benefits up to the age of when the deceased would have been eligible for full retirement. At that point, families will receive 75 percent of the benefits, an increase from the 50 percent offered under current law. Additionally, the bill will allow families of fallen first responders to opt-in to health, dental, vision and other insurance plans.

The current survivor benefit limits the lost wages a family is able to recover and provides no healthcare for survivors.

"This is an important step towards helping families who have made the ultimate sacrifice," said Obhof. "First responders and their families need to know that Ohio is there for them."

Senate Bill 296 passed with unanimous support and will now move to the House of Representatives.