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Governor signs death benefit bill

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick today signed a bill increasing the state’s death benefit for the families of public safety personnel killed in the line of duty, the governor’s office said.

The legislation hikes from $100,000 to $150,000 a one-time payment by the state to the families of police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and other frontline workers who die while serving their communities.

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The amount had been $100,000 since the law first passed in 1994, the governor’s office said.

The bill passed through the House and Senate after the late March deaths of two Boston firefighters in a Back Bay blaze and the subsequent death of a Plymouth police officer in a motorcycle accident, the governor’s office said.

“I am honored to sign the Line of Duty Act to ensure that our first responders and public safety officials killed serving and protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth are appropriately cared for,” Patrick said in a statement.

Patrick was joined at the signing by Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray.

“Every day, I am awed and grateful for the sacrifices firefighters, police and their families make for us,” DeLeo said in the statement. “As we pray for the courageous individuals who recently perished we must ensure the families of enforcement officials faced with tragedy receive the support they so rightly deserve.”

Michael Levenson of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
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