Pennsylvania Legislators make decisions that affect nearly every areas of our life. We have provided below legislation that was introduced during the First Quarter of 2023 that may affect you and your department. If you have questions and/or concerns about any of this legislation, you should reach our directly to your PA Senator or PA Representative.
January 4, 2023
Senator F. Farry introduced legislation that will Department of Human Services to establish a public awareness campaign to provide information regarding the programs and services available for first responders, healthcare workers, and other frontline workers suffering from mental health issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We know some of those issues include, but are not limited to, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder. This has been introduced as Senate Bill 258. For more information, click here.
Workers’ Compensation for First Responders With PTSI
Senators C. Bartolotta and M. Regan reintroduced legislation to change the standard that a first responder must meet in order to establish a workers’ compensation claim for a post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI). This has been introduced as Senate Bill 365. For more information, click here.
January 9, 2023
Funding for EMS Certification
Senator M. Brooks reintroduced legislation similar to Senate Bill 1189 of last session to provide $3 million to establish a program to pay for individuals to earn their initial EMS certification from a Pennsylvania EMS educational institute. This was reintroduced as Senate Bill 341. For more information, click here.
January 10, 2023
Increasing the Reimbursement Rates under Medicaid for EMS
Senators M. Brooks and F. Farry introduced legislation to require an increase in the reimbursement rates under Medicaid for the provision of emergency medical services. For more information, click here.
January 11, 2023
Defining Dispatchers as First Responders
Representatives D. Miller and J. Benham reintroduced legislation creates a universal definition for our dispatchers and codifies what emergency responders already know, that dispatchers are first responders. Correcting this shortcoming is a positive step forward to ensuring that these dedicated professionals are properly identified and recognized for their critical work. This was introduced as House Bill 349. For more information, click here.
January 12, 2023
Keystone First Responder Award
Representative R. Mackenzie reintroduced legislation to create the Keystone First Responder Award. The Keystone First Responder Award will recognize those public servants who were either killed or suffered a career ending injury in the line of duty. The award will be administered by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and a committee consisting of the Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner, Director of Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Director of Pennsylvania Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, the Secretary of General Services, the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association. This was introduced as House Bill 358. For more information, click here.
Realty Transfer Tax Exemption for First Responders’ Surviving Family
Representative B. Munroe introduced legislation to exempt surviving spouses and minor children of first responders who died in the line of duty from the Pennsylvania Realty Transfer Tax. This proposed legislation will honor the sacrifice of our brave first responders and provide their families with the space to heal without the burden of tax liabilities when it comes to settling property transfers. For more information, click here.
Restricting PFAS Chemicals from Firefighting Foam
Representative M. Sturla introduced legislation to establish statewide uniform requirements restricting the use of Class B firefighting foams containing added PFAS chemistries for training, restricting their use in testing, while also allowing for continued sale and use against real-world fires. This was introduced as House Bill 683. For more information, click here.
Community Paramedicine Services Act
Representative R. Bizzarro introduced legislation that would allow emergency medical services (EMS) providers to deliver medical care to a patient in their own home or in a community setting. EMS providers, in consultation with a patient’s health care practitioner, would also be able to administer community paramedicine services such as health assessments, disease monitoring, and hospital follow-up care to patients. This was introduced as House Bill 130. For more information, click here.
January 13, 2023
$5 County Vehicle Fee for EMS
Representative B. Roae introduced legislation amend Act 89 of 2013 to allow counties to use the optional $5 vehicle fee to help fund EMS. This was introduced as House Bill 68. For more information, click here.
EMS Option for Hotel Tax
Representative B. Roae introduced legislation to amend the hotel tax (Act 18 of 2016) to give counties the option of continuing to use the funding to promote tourism or adding an option that counties can use the money to help fund the EMS system in their county. This was introduced as House Bill 67. For more information, click here.
January 23, 2023
Grants to Fire Companies
Representative M. Sturla introduced legislation to expand the eligibility of the grants in the state’s Fire Company and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program. This was introduced as House Bill 680. For more information, click here.
January 24, 2023
Allowing Counties Option to Create Fire Service-Support Authorities
Senators T. Kearney and L. Baker introduced legislation that will support Pennsylvania’s thousands of volunteer and career firefighters to sustain and improve their level of service to their communities, by authorizing the creation of regional authorities for administrative financial support. This was introduced as Senate Bill 502. For more information, click here.
Allowing Counties the Option to Create EMS Authorities
Senators L. Baker and T. Kearney reintroduced a version of Senate Bill 698 to further improve upon the work of the General Assembly relevant to Recommendation 6 of the Senate Resolution 6 Commission’s Final Report issued in 2018, by allowing for the creation of county-wide Public Safety Authorities for EMS. This was introduced as Senate Bill 501. For more information, click here.
January 26, 2023
Resolution Directing DHS to Submit a Medicaid State Plan Amendment to CMS to Provide Reimbursement for EMS for “Treat and Release” of Medicaid Patients
Senator M. Brooks introduced a Resolution urging the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to submit a Medicaid State Plan Amendment to the federal Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide reimbursement for emergency medical services (EMS) for the “treat and release” of Medicaid patients. For more information, click here.
LBFC Study on Dollar Amount EMS Providers are Losing due to Non-Reimbursement from Medicaid for “Treat and Release” Services
Senator M. Brooks introduced a Resolution to direct the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study on the dollar amount our emergency medical service (EMS) providers are losing due to non-reimbursement from Medicaid for “treat and release” services. For more information, click here.
January 27, 2023
Direct EMS Reimbursement
Senators K. Muth and M. Brooks introduced legislation similar to House Bill 1293 of the 2021-2022 legislative session. This proposed legislation would address a longstanding billing issue plaguing our emergency services providers in this Commonwealth. For more information, click here.
January 30, 2023
Reducing the Loaded Mile Requirement for MA Reimbursement for Ambulance Transportation Services
Senators M. Brooks and T. Pennycuick introduced legislation amending the statute to permit ambulance transportation services to be paid per each loaded mile beyond five (5) loaded miles for ground ambulance transportation. This will help our struggling EMS providers better recoup the costs incurred for providing their services. This was introduced as Senate Bill 555. For more information, click here.
February 1, 2023
Installation of Dry Hydrants
Senator C. Dush introduced legislation that will require PennDOT to incorporate a dry hydrant into the design and construction of all new and replacement bridges and box culverts whenever that dry hydrant would enhance the safety of the local community and help lower insurance rates. This proposed legislation will also institute language from other states to ensure that the body of water can support the proper flow. For more information, click here.
February 2, 2023
Protecting Communities and Property from Arsonists
Representative S. Conklin introduced legislation to establish a database, which will contain the identifying information of convicted arsonists as well as residential information, similar to Megan’s Law. Like a sex offender required to register, any arsonist who fails to register will be subject to additional fines and jail time. It is important that we be able to identify and locate these criminals in order to ensure the safety of our families and our property. For more information, click here.
Additional Special Occasion Permits for Veteran Organization and Fire Companies without Liquor Licenses
Representative D. Deasy introduced legislation that will allow Nationally Chartered Veteran Organizations and Volunteer Fire Companies, who do not currently hold a liquor license, to apply for a Supplemental Special Occasion Permit which will allow them to hold weekly fundraising events. This proposed legislation will allow for one additional event a week (not to exceed 52 in a year) and the event must be for fundraising purposes. For more information, click here.
February 3, 2023
Mileage Reimbursement for Ambulance Services
Representatives L. Borowski and G. Scott introduced legislation to the Fiscal Code to provide Medicaid reimbursement for every mile a patient is transported by ambulance. This would eliminate the provision that limits the per-mile reimbursement of at least $4 to each mile beyond 20 miles of patient transportation. This legislation would deliver much-needed funding to support emergency responders as they continue to provide essential services across the Commonwealth. This was introduced as House Bill 479. For more information, click here.
February 17, 2023
Permitting fire departments, veterans’ associations and other non-profit organizations to collect payment and live-stream raffles and other small games of chance online
Representative R. Warner reintroduced legislation to permit fire departments, veterans’ associations and other non-profit organizations with small games of chance (SGOC) licenses to collect payment and perform their games online. For more information, click here.
February 23, 2023
Representative J. Haddock introduced legislation that would require all rental properties in Pennsylvania to install 10-year tamper-resistant smoke alarms when a new occupant takes residence, when a smoke alarm is being replaced, or when a new alarm is being installed. This was introduced as House Bill 741. For more information, click here.
Workers Compensation for Off Duty Emergency Personnel
Representative M. Cerrato introduced legislation to extend workers compensation protections to off-duty members of emergency medical services agencies. This was introduced as House Bill 720. For more information, click here.
February 24, 2023
Fire Department Reimbursements
Representative B. Jozwiak reintroduced legislation to authorize volunteer fire companies to recoup their costs associated with an emergency response that do not include the costs of providing manpower. At the present time, there is no state law that authorizes or prohibits volunteer fire companies from billing for their services. For more information, click here.
February 28, 2023
Pennsylvania Families Tax Relief Bill 8 Volunteer EMS & Fire Company Sales Tax Exemption
Representatives R. Mackenzie, J. Hamm, M. Brown, B. Jozwiak, A. Kaufer, A. Ryncavage, J. Hogan, D. Rowe, R. Leadbeter, M. Gillen, and J. Struzzi introduced legislation that will provide a permanent exclusion to Pennsylvania volunteer EMS and Fire Company members from the Sales and Use Tax for any protective equipment used by volunteer firefighters, volunteer ambulance service personnel, or volunteer rescue service personnel to protect themselves from injury while performing their duties, regardless of the purchaser which includes the individuals volunteering for an EMS or Fire Company. For more information, click here.
Property Tax Relief for Families of Fallen First Responders
Representative J. Ciresi introduced legislation that provides property tax relief to spouses and families of fallen first responders. Following the death of a first responder, this proposed legislation would ensure that the Commonwealth cover the cost of the property tax of the primary residence of the deceased individual for the first five years following their death. For more information, click here.
Transition – Military Medic to Civilian EMT/Paramedic
Representative D. Watro introduced legislation that will ensure that a service member’s military education and training are taken into consideration for the purpose of fulfilling requirements for professional credentials related to emergency medical services providers. Specifically, this proposal amends section 7502 of Title 51 (Military Affairs), relating to retention of licenses and certifications of persons entering military service. This was introduced as House Bill 404. For more information, click here.
March 2, 2023
Employer Tax Credits for First Responders
Representative G. Scott introduced legislation that would:
- Encourage private employers to permit an employee who is an active volunteer to leave work in response to an emergency call.
- Encourage private employers to permit an employee who is an active volunteer to take a paid leave of absence at the request of a fire chief to participate in training exercises deemed necessary.
- Require the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions to permit employees who are active volunteers to respond to an emergency call prior to, or during, work hours, with or without pay, with no loss of time or efficiency rating.
- Prohibit all employers from discriminating against, refusing to hire, or employing any individual due to them being a member of a volunteer emergency service organization.
- Authorize a tax credit for private employers who allow an employee-volunteer to leave work for training or to respond to an emergency call.
For more information, click here.
March 6, 2023
Firefighter Education and Training Program
Senator A. Cappelletti introduced legislation to standardize fire academy training and create a certification system for all professional and volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania. There are several fire academies across the state that provide vital firefighting education to all levels, but not every fire company has the same standards for training and education, possibly creating a gap in education and acceptable practices depending on where one is trained. For more information, click here.
Providing Public Utility Exemptions to Volunteer Fire Companies, EMS, Rescue Squads and Older Adult Centers
Representative G. Scott introduced legislation that would broaden the existing statute to allow volunteer fire companies, nonprofit rescue squads, nonprofit ambulance services and nonprofit older adult centers to be charged a residential rate for all public utilities. Instead of paying costly utility bills, these organizations will have the opportunity to use that money to financially support their critical operations. For more information, click here.
Police and Fire COLA
Representative M. White introduced legislation to institute a new COLA for retired municipal police officers and firefighters. For more information, click here.
March 7, 2023
Pennsylvania PFAS Classification and Cleanup
Senator M. Collett reintroduced legislation to amend Pennsylvania’s Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA) to designate certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), specifically those most widely used in firefighting foams, as “hazardous substances” under HSCA. This designation would give harmed parties the standing they currently lack to hold polluters accountable in court. It would also impose more stringent disclosure and reporting standards with respect to these dangerous chemicals and provide the DEP with the funding and authority to investigate and conduct cleanup actions at sites where these chemicals have been released. For more information, click here.
March 9, 2023
Funding for Local First Responders
Representative A. Kulik introduced legislation to create an emergency services fund in each municipality across the Commonwealth to provide additional funding to local fire and EMS companies. When a property is sold in the municipality, a small $25 fee would be collected from the buyer and seller. Within 15 days of closing, those fees would be deposited into the municipal emergency services fund. This money could then be allocated by the municipality and used for volunteer and paid fire and EMS companies to purchase vehicles and equipment, pay staff, and acquire other necessary items. For more information, click here.
March 22, 2023
Enhancing Funding Capabilities for Emergency Services
Representative J. Rigby introduced legislation a package of legislation which would increase the amount of ambulance tax boroughs, first class and second class townships may choose to levy. This proposed legislation would increase the permissible leverage of property taxes from .5 mills to 1.5 mills for the purpose of emergency services. It will also enhance how these funds may be used in accordance with current fire company provisions. For more information, click here.
March 23, 2023
Tax Credits for Volunteer First Responders
Representative M. Steele introduced legislation that would provide a scholarship of up to $5,000 to each active volunteer first responder who attends a Pennsylvania institution of higher learning on a full-time basis. Those enrolled as part-time students would be eligible for a scholarship of $2,500. Businesses that make a contribution to a scholarship program at an institution of higher learning would be eligible for a tax credit. For more information, click here.