Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reversed himself Wednesday on a proposal to end health insurance coverage for families of police officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty. In a meeting with the Los Angeles Times editorial board, Schwarzenegger called the proposal a “terrible screw-up” and said it is being corrected. The proposed cut was tucked away in a list of state laws, known as mandates, that would be suspended if Schwarzenegger’s latest budget revisions are adopted. It would have saved $1 million.
The state is trying to plug a projected $24-billion deficit. Linda Soubirous, who was 31 when her husband, a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy, was shot and killed in 1993, offered “a big thank-you to Governor Schwarzenegger” for rolling back his proposal. Soon after the death of her husband, the county refused to pay for her family’s insurance. In 1996, the state required local governments to provide such benefits. “I was worried about all of the young families, because unfortunately, when this happens, most of the families are very young, with children or infants,” Soubirous said.