The bill would give an American or state flag to next of kin.

New bill would give flag to service member’s next of kin

Jarek RutzGovernment, Headlines

The bill would give an American or state flag to next of kin.

The bill would give an American or state flag to next of kin.

A new bill headed to the General Assembly would immediately provide next of kin of Delaware National Guard, fire or police department members with an American or state flag.

Senate Bill 221 would give the flag to the first immediate living family member or partner of a service individual who dies after serving in the Delaware National Guard, a police department and/or a fire department for at least 10 years.

The flag could be draped over the member’s casket at a funeral service or displayed at a memorial one, as is typically done for deceased military veterans.

“Those who risk their lives to protect our communities deserve to be honored,” said Sen. Dave Wilson, R-Lincoln, who is sponsoring the bill in the state Senate. “To some, this may not seem like an important piece of legislation, but paying respects to the deceased service member and his or her family is the right thing to do.”

Wilson said in a press release that this bill is long overdue.

The next of kin, defined in the legislation as an “individual who is a surviving spouse, partner, parent, or individual legally entitled to the remains of the deceased person”, would be able to choose which flag is draped over the casket.

“I don’t spend taxpayers’ dollars without good reason,” Wilson said. “Volunteer fire services alone save Delawareans millions annually, and the selfless service of those who volunteer make this small gesture of gratitude more than justified.”

SB 221 will first be heard in the Senate Elections and Government Affairs Committee.

The bill will be sponsored in the house by Rep. Bryan Shupe, R-Milford South. Shupe is the chief executive officer of Delaware LIVE LLC.

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