“Anthony Dia Act” would expand benefits of Ohio Safety Officer’s Memorial Fund

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 2:01 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - Legislation introduced by an Ohio State Representative from Monclova looks to change the eligibility for the Ohio Safety Officers Memorial Fund.

Called the “Anthony Dia Act” and introduced by Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova), it would ensure Dia’s sons qualify to receive a waiver to cover their college tuition and fees in Ohio. Currently, the fund provides tuition and fee waivers to spouses and children of police officers, firefighters, and US armed forces service members killed in the line of duty, if they remain Ohio residents.

Dia died in the line of duty while responding to a 911 call on July 4. Dia’s wife, Jayme, and his two sons survive him. However, according to a press release from Rep. Merrin, they live just across the Ohio state line in Michigan.

The current legislation prevents families from losing their tuition benefits if they move out-of-state, and asserts spouses and children are eligible for the waiver if they were Ohio residents at the time their loved one lost their life in the line of duty.

“We must support our fallen heroes' families notwithstanding where they live. Many families have to relocate after the death of a love one. Ohio law needs updated to reflect this reality,” Merrin said in the press release.

“Officer Dia’s family now lives in Michigan right near the state of Ohio line. Under current law, they will be unable to qualify for this tuition and fees waiver,” said Merrin. “It is not right, Anthony Dia is a hero that bravely served Ohio, and his sons, along with others this may affect, deserve to qualify for this waiver – the bill corrects this problem.”

Although the 133rd General Assembly finishes soon, Rep. Derek Merrin is optimistic about the legislation. “I’m going to quickly try to build a legislative consensus, and may try to amend the bill into another fast-tracked bill to expedite approval before the end of the year,” said Merrin.

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