Pending Legislation to Benefit

Survivors of Utah's Fallen

 

Written by Shad West

 

Published February 7, 2007

 

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Photo by Maj. Hank McIntire

Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper formally introduces HB 309, "Scott B. Lundell Tuition Waiver for National Guard Members' Surviving Dependents" during a press conference in Governor Jon M. Hunstman's office Feb. 2.

 

 

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill waiving tuition for surviving family members of Servicemen and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice was formally introduced Feb. 2 during a press conference attended by Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., and members of the Utah National Guard.

       

HB 309, the Scott B. Lundell Tuition Waiver for National Guard Members' Surviving Dependents bill is sponsored by Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper. It is named after Utah National Guard 2nd Lt. Scott B. Lundell.

 

The Guardsman was killed in Afghanistan last November and his sacrifice placed the war in Afghanistan back into the hearts and minds of many Utahans who may not have realized that Utah Guard members are still serving on the front lines.

     

“There is a collective debt we all share,” Hughes said. “Anything we can do as state policymakers to acknowledge that and try to repay that debt is our obligation.”

 

The bill seeks to waive undergraduate tuition at state colleges and universities for the dependents of Utah Service members killed in action while on active duty. The waiver is good for up to eight semesters which is enough to earn a bachelor's degree.

 

"Today begins the formal process for this bill," Huntsman said during the press conference held in the executive conference room at the Capitol. “I wanted everyone to know this bill has my unwavering support.”

                                

Photo by Maj. Hank McIntire

Jeanine Lundell discusses the benefits of HB 309 during the bill's introduction at the Capitol.

“Let us never forget our Soldiers have dreams that should not be left behind,” Huntsman said before introducing Jeanine Lundell. "Scott Lundell, besides being a great and courageous Soldier, was a husband and father of four. Let us never forget Soldiers leave behind family members who struggle in their loss.”

 

Jeanine Lundell called the bill's title a great honor.

 

"This bill will not only benefit my family but all other [Service members’] families,” Lundell said. “This will make their educational dreams possible for them."

     

Hughes said the bill has yet to find a Senate sponsor but was sure it would not suffer the same fate as a similar bill the House passed last year. That bill died in the Senate during the session's final hours.

 

“There is a face associated with the bill this year,” Hughes said. “The Lundell’s are a powerful reminder of our Service members’ sacrifice.”