The family of a Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement cadet who died last year while in training will be eligible to receive survivor benefits.
The legislation, Act 378, was signed last week by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Washington, a native of Franklin and resident of Youngsville, was in LDWF training academy in 2018 when he died. Earlier this month, the community of Franklin remembered Washington with a ceremony.
Those gathered shared stories of their interactions with Washington, honoring his service and dedication to those around him.
The bipartisan legislation, House Bill 170, authored by State Reps. Sam Jones, D-Franklin, and Stuart Bishop, R-Lafayette, passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate.
The law allows spouses and children of cadets that died while training to receive full financial benefits even though the cadets were not fully commissioned LDWF agents at the time of their death.
“We felt it was only fair to extend the benefits to the immediate families of cadets that were training to become wildlife and fisheries agents,” said Col. Sammy Martin, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division. “It was a very unfortunate event to lose Immanuel during training and we felt we owed it to him and his family to get this changed.”
Cadet Washington passed away on July 19, 2018, while in the third week of training at LDWF’s Training Academy in Baton Rouge. Act 378 will extend eligibility for survivor benefits to spouses and children of all LDWF enforcement personnel participating in the LDWF Enforcement Training Academy on or after July 1, 2018, even though the cadet had not been commissioned as an enforcement officer.
The new law also extends to members of the Louisiana State Police, including any cadet participating in the LSP Training Academy on or after July 1, 2018.