A key legislative panel approved a proposal late Wednesday that would provide a better pension for the family of a state transportation worker killed on the job March 22.
The measure, authored by State Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato, and State Rep. Terry Morrow, DFL-St. Peter, and supported by Gov. Mark Dayton, is aimed at helping the family of Mike Struck, a 39-year-old Minnesota Department of Transportation worker who died responding to flooding along the Minnesota River between St. Peter and Mankato. Mr. Struck is survived by a wife and two children, ages six and four.
Under current law, as survivors of a relatively young and short-term employee, Mr. Struck’s family is entitled to a pension benefit of just $191 a month.
The proposal from Sen. Sheran and Rep. Morrow would increase that benefit by about $2,100 a month, an amount similar to what the family of a state trooper killed in the line of duty would receive. An amendment adopted by the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement Wednesday would have the Minnesota Department of Transportation pay for the increased benefits, a move supported by the Dayton administration.
“Mike Struck gave his life serving Minnesota during a time of emergency, and we need to ensure that his family is treated fairly” said Sen. Sheran. “It’s critical that we recognize the sacrifice of Minnesota’s hardworking public employees, many of whom risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of this state.”
Sen. Sheran and Rep. Morrow both thanked Gov. Dayton for showing tremendous leadership in bringing this proposal forward.
“It would be an injustice to leave this family with a pension less than $2,100 a month after coping with the loss of their husband and father,” said Rep. Morrow. “My only hope is that this bill provides some level of comfort and support for a family so devastated by this terrible loss.”