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New Law Allows Families of Fallen Firefighters to Receive Donations

Families of the firefighters who died battling the Esperanza wildfire in Southern California last year will finally be able to accept more than a million dollars in public donations.

Families of the firefighters who died battling the Esperanza wildfire in Southern California last year will finally be able to accept more than a million dollars in public donations. State and federal tax laws prevent charities like the United Way from raising money for individuals. But Wednesday, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a new state law allowing the five families to receive the money without penalizing them - or the United Way.

<b> Schwarzenegger: </b> It is my hope that what we do here today will help preserve the proud memories of these five men and honor the legacy and the sacrifice of all the brave fire-fighters in our great state.
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Governor Schwarzenegger says he'd be open to legislation that would make such exemptions permanent. The new state law is similar to an exemption approved by Congress and singed by President Bush in December.