Pennsylvania Legislators make decisions that affect nearly every areas of our life. We have provided below legislation that was introduced during the Second 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.
April 3, 2023
Modernizing Urban Search and Rescue Operations in Western PA
Representatives D. Miller and N. Mihalek introduced House Bill 843 that will require the creation of a second PA Task Force Urban Search & Rescue team, based in Allegheny County, to assume primary coverage in the west. Both teams would have access to the resources, training, and equipment they need to respond appropriately and quickly when an emergency arises on either side of the Commonwealth. For more information, click here.
April 4, 2023
Urban Search and Rescue Operation in Western PA
Senators D. Robinson and J. Costa introduced Senate Bill 792 to create a PA Task Force Urban Search and Rescue team, based in Allegheny County, to assume primary coverage in the western part of the state. For more information, click here.
April 11, 2023
Allowing Additional Highly Qualified Individuals to Obtain Career and Technical Instructional I Certificates
Senator M. Brooks introduced Senate Bill 700 allowing additional highly qualified individuals to obtain their Career and Technical Instructional I Certificate, who currently may not be able to due to restrictive program requirements and instructor certification hoops. For more information, click here.
April 14, 2023
Municipal Volunteer EMC Training Standards Requirements
Representatives R. Leadbeter, D. Rowe and J. Hamm introduced House Bill 1328 amending Section 7502 of Title 35 (Health and Safety) to address an issue concerning local emergency management coordinators and the certification and recertification requirements the PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has implemented, pursuant to PEMA Training Directive D2022-02. For more information, click here.
April 28, 2023
PFAS Chemicals in Firefighter Protective Gear
Representative G. Scott introduced legislation to require manufacturers of personal protective equipment that contain PFAS to include a warning label on the products and provide written notice to the purchaser that the equipment contains these chemicals. Both the manufacturer and purchaser would be required to retain the notice for at least three years from the date of purchase. For more information, click here.
May 24, 2023
First Responder Line of Duty Death Tax Credit
Representative J. O’Mara introduced legislation to establish a tax credit against the personal income tax for spouses of first responders, both paid and volunteer, who die during the performance or as a result of their duties. Under this legislation, spouses would be eligible to receive a credit of up to 100 percent of the amount of property taxes they paid on their primary residence to their county and school district in perpetuity or until the spouse remarries. For more information, click here.
May 30, 2023
Refocusing Funding on 911 Telecommunications Services
Representative J. Solomon introduced House Bill 1304 that increases the uniform 911 surcharge to $1.97 from $1.65, indexed with inflation each year, and extends the surcharge sunset date by five years to 2029. Representative Solomon’s legislation is in line with Governor Shapiro’s proposal to cut taxes on cell phone bills while directing more investment toward our critical emergency response infrastructure. For more information, click here.
June 1, 2023
Regular Inspection of HVAC Fire and Smoke Dampers
Senator F. Farry introduced legislation to require regular inspection and needed maintenance on these dampers. These inspections will occur every 4 years and be subject to standards in the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code and NFPA standards. For more information, click here.
Providing a COLA to Municipal Police Officers and Firefighters
Representative S. Malagari introduced House Bill 1379 to provide a COLA to municipal police officers and firefighters. For more information, click here.
June 6, 2023
Establishing a Voluntary Firefighter Cancer Registry
Representative G. Scott introduced legislation that establishes a voluntary firefighter cancer registry. Specifically, this legislation will require the Department of Health to develop and maintain a voluntary firefighter cancer registry for Pennsylvania. The department will then review the data collected in the registry and publish it online for public review while maintaining confidentiality of the firefighters who choose to register. The department will also be required to issue a report of the data to the Governor and the General Assembly each year. For more information, click here.
June 7, 2023
Mandating Access to Cancer and Cardiovascular Screenings for First Responders
Senator F. Farry introduced legislation that will require access to cancer and cardiovascular screenings for firefighters and EMS employed by a municipal fire department through health care benefits plan or program provided by the public employers. Some of the cancers to be covered include liver, kidney, lung, skin, testicular, and ovarian cancers. No co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance, or out-of-pocket costs will be required for these examinations. For more information, click here.
COLA for Municipal Police Officers and Firefighters
Senator T. Pennycuick introduced legislation that will provide a much-needed cost of living adjustment (COLA) for municipal police officers and firefighters. For more information, click here.
Compensation to Volunteer Fire Departments During 911 System Outages
Representatives C. Owlett, T. Pickett, M. Causer, J. Hamm and J. Fritz introduced legislation to hold telecommunication utilities financially accountable when they fail to uphold their duties in assisting our emergency management systems and first responders with our 911 system. This legislation will require that these telecommunications companies must compensate the volunteer fire departments at a rate of $1,000 per hour during an outage of the 911 system that requires them to man the fire station. For more information, click here.
June 8, 2023
Cancer screenings for professional firefighters
Representative R. Merski and P. Harkins introduced House Bill 1492 aimed at improving the chances of survival from a cancer diagnosis and reducing long-term medical costs associated with cancer treatments by providing for as early detection of cancer as possible. To accomplish this goal, our legislation will require cancer screenings for every full-time paid firefighter to occur once within the first three years of employment and every three years thereafter while employed. The cancer screenings will be required under the health insurance policy of the full-time paid firefighter’s employer with no out-of-pocket costs to the firefighter. For more information, click here.
June 13, 2023
Refocusing Funding on 911 Telecommunications Services
Senator K. Muth introduced Senate Bill 807, companion legislation to House Bill 1304 introduced by Representative J. Solomon to increase the uniform 911 surcharge from $1.65 to $1.97. This bill also indexes the surcharge with inflation each year and extends the sunset date of the surcharge to 2029. For more information, click here.
June 14, 2023
Compensation to Volunteer Fire Departments due to Motor Vehicle Accidents
Representatives C. Owlett, T. Pickett, M. Causer, J. Hamm, J. Fritz, and A. Ryncavage introduce legislation that specifically will require our telecommunication companies to respond within 90 minutes of being notified of their downed lines. If they do not have someone actively on the scene within 90 minutes, they will be required to reimburse the volunteer fire company $1,000 per hour they wait for the telephone company to show up. For more information, click here.
June 15, 2023
Updating Millage Rate Laws to Preserve Fire and EMS services
First responders are some of the most vital members of our communities. Whether firefighters and EMS providers are career or volunteer, funding constraints and challenges compromise their ability to perform lifesaving efforts. Their demanding professions are also not immune to skyrocketing costs and workforce shortages that necessitate additional funding. Senator F. Farry introduced legislation that will remove these caps to allow municipalities greater flexibility to determine at what level they should appropriately fund our fire and EMS services. For more information, click here.
June 16, 2023
Banning PFAs chemicals in firefighter personal protective equipment
Representatives P. Harkins and R. Merski introduced legislation that would require cancer screening examinations for professional firefighters, we noted that the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in the fire service is firefighter occupational cancer. That is why we introduced a second piece of legislation aimed at protecting all the individuals who serve our communities as firefighters by banning PFAS forever chemicals from firefighting personal protective equipment. For more information, click here.
June 20, 2023
Defining Dispatches as First Responders
Representatives J. Benham and D. Miller introduced House Bill 1463 that 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. The bill also adds clarifying definitional language in support of fire fighters. For more information, click here.
Informing PUC of 911 landline system outage
Representatives J. Hamm, T. Pickett, C. Owlett, J. Fritz, M. Causer, A. Rycavage introduced legislation that will give the county EMCs 72 hours after a power outage that takes down a 911 landline system to report the incident to the PUC. This will be helpful information for the PUC as they look to make sure communities are safe and do their best to hold these telecommunication companies accountable. For more information, click here.
June 22, 2023
Allowing Volunteer Fire Departments and Other Non-profits to Fundraise Through Raffles Online
Representative A. Kulik introduced legislation that would allow Pennsylvania nonprofits to hold online raffles for fundraising purposes. Currently, 25 states allow nonprofits to fundraise online, including every state bordering the Commonwealth, with the exception of New Jersey. Additionally, six other states are planning to follow suit and begin allowing online fundraising activities. For more information, click here.
June 23, 2023
Naloxone for First Responders: Ensuring Access to all FDA-Approved Overdose Reversal Medications
Representative S. Kinsey introduced legislation requiring access to all FDA-approved formulations under the Naloxone for First Responders Program. For more information, click here.
June 26, 2023
Volunteer Fire/EMS Companies and the Right-To-Know Law
Representative R. Lee James introduced similar legislation from a few sessions ago that will address a very important issue that has and continues to impact our volunteer fire and EMS companies throughout Pennsylvania. This proposal addresses one of the recommendations included in the SR 6 Commission Report issued in November 2018, which highlighted the problems our fire and EMS companies face daily. This legislation simply exempts volunteer fire, rescue, and EMS companies from the RTKL by prohibiting them from being considered a “local agency” under the RTKL. This legislation will advance Recommendation #26 in the 2018 SR 6 Report. For more information, click here.
June 27, 2023
Covering Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries under Worker’s Compensation for First Responders
Representatives J. O’Mara, J. Solomon, M. Gillen, T. Khan, G. Scott, T. Brennan and J. Rigby introduced legislation that will amend the Worker’s Compensation Act to remove a roadblock that prevents first responders’ PTSIs from being recognized as eligible claims for worker’s compensation. To qualify for worker’s compensation under our bill, an eligible first responder must sustain a PTSI in the course and scope of employment, and a first responder must have received a PTSI diagnosis from a licensed medical or mental health professional. Workers’ compensation claims must be filed within three years of the date of PTSI diagnosis. For more information, click here.
June 29, 2023
EMS and Firefighter Tax Credit
Representative J. Hogan introduced legislation that will give a $2500 tax credit per year over three years to Fire and EMS personnel that currently serve in the state of Pennsylvania and those that move to our state to take up these positions. For more information, click here.
June 30, 2023
Emergency Lights for Tactical EMS Only
Representative B. Jozwiak introduce legislation that would add Tactical EMS providers to the definition of emergency service responders and emergency vehicles. Representative Jozwiak is proposing to add them to the definitions under Title 75 of the Vehicle Code to include a certified tactical EMS provider who is affiliated with and directly supports a county or regional municipal Special Emergency Response Team or a PA State Police Special Emergency Response Team. For more information, click here.