Firefighting & Politics – 4Q 2022 Newsletter

Jan 4, 2023 | Legislation

Pennsylvania Legislators make decisions that affect nearly every areas of our life. We have provided below legislation that was introduced during the Fourth Quarter of 2022 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.


December 1, 2022

 

Increasing the Number of EMT’s and Paramedics in Pennsylvania

Representative Roae plans to introduce legislation that will potentially increase the number of EMT’s and paramedics in Pennsylvania. This proposed legislation would require the PA Department of Health to once again create state written and/or computer examinations for EMT’s, EMR’s and paramedics in order to be licensed by the state which was done prior to 2013. For more information, click here.


December 2, 2022

 

State Death Benefit for County 911 Dispatchers (Former HB 2262)

Representative Rigby plans to reintroduce legislation to extend the Commonwealth’s death benefit currently available to emergency responders to tele-communicators. For more information, click here.

Connecting Firefighters with Preventive Physical and Mental Healthcare

Representatives Miller and O’Mara plans to introduce legislation that would provide a new grant pathway for fire companies who choose to require annual physical examinations. It would cover up to $650 for each firefighter who complies with the requirements. The proposed legislation would preserve personal medical privacy, assure collective bargaining rights, and would be available for every firefighter in every department that answers at least 15 calls a year. For more information, click here. 


December 5, 2022

Sales Tax Holidays for PPE and Emergency Preparedness Equipment

Senator Brooks plans to reintroduce Senate Bill 446 of the 2021-2022 session, which will establish a Sales Tax Holiday for the purchase of personal protective equipment and other emergency preparedness equipment. For more information, click here. 

Assisting our Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Services Personnel

Senator J. Ward plans to reintroduce two bills from the last session – Senate Bills 148 and 149 – aimed at volunteer firefighters and other emergency service personnel. Volunteers are a crucial part of our fire and emergency medical service delivery system in Pennsylvania. A 2018 report issued by the Senate Resolution 6 Commission, which recommended several improvements to the delivery of emergency services in the Commonwealth, stated the following: “Of Pennsylvania’s 2,462 fire companies, more than 90 percent are volunteer companies.” For more information, click here. 


December 6, 2022

 

Volunteer Firefighter Driver’s License Designation

Senator Mastriano plans to reintroduce legislation that will allow volunteer firefighters to have the option of a “volunteer firefighter” designation placed on their driver’s license. For more information, click here.

Funding Options for Fire Department Expenses

Senator Brooks plans to reintroduce Senate Bill 245 of the 2021-2022 legislative session, which will provide our fire companies with an option to utilize other available funding to pay for their monthly expenses. For more information, click here.

Tax Return Donations to the Office of the State Fire Commissioner

Senator Brooks plans to reintroduce legislation that will allow Pennsylvanians to donate all or a portion of their annual Pennsylvania individual income tax return to the Office of the State Fire Commissioner, for use in supporting the grant programs administered by that office. For more information, click here.

Reduced Hunting and Fishing License Fees for Volunteer Firefighters

Senator Brooks plans to reintroduce Senate Bill 564, that will offer a reduced fee for hunting and fishing licenses for volunteer firefighters in our Commonwealth. For more information, click here. 

Devoting Funds from 50/50 Raffles to Fire Departments

Act 56 of 2019, the Sports Raffles Charities Act, authorized Major League and collegiate sports teams to conduct 50/50 drawings at sporting events, open practices, scrimmages and exhibitions. Senator Brooks plans to reintroduce Senate Bill 768 of the 2021-2022 legislative session that would devote five percent of the philanthropic raffle revenue to local fire departments. For more information, click here.


December 7, 2022

 

EMS Legislation

Property tax increases are the only legal way that most municipalities can help pay for the costs to fund their local EMS services and I want to provide other options. Representative Brad Roae plans to introduce legislation that would give municipalities two additional options. For more information, click here.


December 8, 2022

 

Firefighter Training Pilot Program for High School Students

Senator Brooks plans to reintroduce Senate Bill 83 of last session, which creates a pilot program for community colleges and universities in the PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to give interested high school students training in firefighting. For more information, click here.

Free Fishing Licenses for First Responders

Senator Mastriano plans to reintroduce legislation that passed the Senate unanimously last session (previously Senate Bill 272) to create free fishing licenses for 100 percent disabled first responders residing in Pennsylvania. For more information, click here.

Vehicle Registration Fee Waiver for Volunteer First Responders

Representative Ciresi plans to reintroduce legislation that will waive the vehicle registration fee for active volunteer first responders who drive their own vehicles when responding to emergencies, instead paying a lower $10 processing fee. For more information, click here. 


December 9, 2022

 

Requiring the Sharing of Child Care Locations and Emergency Plans

Senator Brooks plans to reintroduce Senate Bill 593 to  require counties to share the location of their child care facilities and other dependent care facilities with the local municipality in which they are located, along with each facility’s emergency plans, and any subsequent updates. For more information, click here. 

Carbon Monoxide Alarms in Child Care Facilities

Representative McNeill plans to reintroduce legislation that will require buildings that house child care facilities with possible sources of carbon monoxide to have one or more carbon monoxide alarms depending on the size of the building.  Due to the covert nature of carbon monoxide leaks, it is crucial that child care facilities be outfitted with carbon monoxide alarms.  A child complaining of a headache would not know that it is carbon monoxide poisoning, and a caregiver may not jump to that conclusion either. For more information, click here. 


December 12, 2022

 

Allowing Debit Cards as an Option for Small Games of Chance Payment

Senator Brooks plans to reintroduce Senate Bill 1153 from last session, amending the Local Small Games of Chance Act to allow for Small Games of Chance license holders to be allowed the option of accepting debit cards for payment of Small Games of Chance. For more information, click here.

State Grants for Firefighter Turnout Gear

Representatives Miller, Galloway and Madden plans to introduce legislation that would establish  a reimbursement program with the State Fire Commissioner’s office to cover the cost of turnout gear for all eligible firefighters. To be eligible, firefighters would be required to earn their Firefighter 2 certification and be in good standing with their fire company. The gear could be replaced every five years, or if it was damaged beyond repair through incident response or related training. For more information, click here.


December 13, 2022

 

Hate Crimes Against Law Enforcement and First Responders

Senator Langerholc plans to reintroduce Senate Bill 146 which creates the new offense for Hate Crimes Against Law Enforcement and First Responders. For more information, click here. 

Legislation to Address the Volunteer Firefighter and EMT Shortages: Job Training Credits Towards Certification

Senator Brooks plans to introduce legislation to address the following:

  • Some corrections personnel and other professions are trained in basic fire suppression as a condition of their employment, and desire to serve their communities as volunteer firefighters. At present FFI certification involves approximately 206 hours of instruction. The fire suppression training completed by corrections personnel and certain other professions is not creditable toward FFI attainment. This dissuades these professionals from serving their communities as volunteer firefighters. The first piece of legislation would address this issue.
  • The second piece of legislation would address a similar issue in regards to EMTs, in which those in certain qualified professions would get training credits towards being a certified EMT in Pennsylvania.

For more information, click here.

Allowing Tickets to a Bingo Event to be Purchased Online with a Debit Card

Senator Brooks plans to reintroduce legislation to specifically state that those with a Bingo License may sell tickets to their bingo event online. Tickets may only be bought with a debit card, not a credit card. This does not allow the actual playing of bingo online, just simply the ability to purchase a ticket to a bingo event online. For more information, click here. 

Pilot Program for Fire Companies with SGOC License to Conduct Two Online Raffles in Upcoming Year

Senator Brooks plans to reintroduce Senate Bill 1298 to establish a pilot program for fire companies with a Small Games of Chance license to conduct two online raffles in the upcoming year. For more information, click here. 

Health Care Heroes (formerly HB 2806)

Representatives Marcell, Schlossberg, Mihalek, Struzzi and Hogan plans to introduce legislation that would direct the 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. For more information, click here.


December 14, 2022

 

Firefighter Tax Relief

Senator Stefano plans to reintroduce legislation to provide financial relief to firefighters in the Commonwealth. This proposed legislation will amend the tax reform code to exempt firefighters from the sales and use tax when purchasing protective equipment and accessory communications equipment while using their own personal funds. The cost of a firefighter’s protective equipment alone can cost them up to $2,500 out of pocket. For more information, click here. 


December 16, 2022

 

EMS Legislation

Property tax increases are the only legal way that most municipalities can help pay for the costs to fund their local EMS services and I want to provide other options. Representative Roae plans to introduce that would give municipalities additional options. For more information, click here. 

Solicitation of Funds for Volunteer Fire Companies

Representative Ecker plans to introduce legislation to amend the “Solicitation of Funds for Charitable Purposes Act” to ease the regulatory and financial burden this statute imposes on our volunteer fire companies. For more information, click here. 


December 21, 2022

 

Tax Exemption for Firefighting Equipment

Representative Markosek plans to introduce legislation that would amend the Tax Reform Code of 1971 to provide a sales tax exemption to firefighters who purchase firefighting equipment with their own money. For more information, click here.


December 22, 2022

 

Adding PA Career Fire Chiefs Association to the 911 Board

Representative Schmitt plans to introduce legislation to add the PA Career Fire Chiefs to the 911 Advisory Board within the PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). For more information, click here.


December 30, 2022

 

Fire Department Reimbursements

Senator Dush plans to reintroduce Senate Bill 1044 from last session. This proposed legislation will 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. This proposed legislation would establish that a person who is involved in an emergency, that necessitates a response from a volunteer emergency services organization, shall be liable for the actual and reasonable response costs, when services are rendered. For more information, click here.


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