May/June 2015 Update from Margaret Vaughn, IFA Lobbyist:
At press time, the Legislature is its final days with no agreement on a state budget for FY16 in sight. Back in March, up to $23 million was authorized to be taken from the Fire Prevention Fund to balance the FY15 budget but so far nothing has been taken.
Highlights of fire service legislation include:
HB 152 - sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Willis and Sen. Andy Manar would require carbon monoxide detectors or alarms in schools. The bill passed the House and is on 3rd Reading in the Senate.
HB 219 - Sponsored by Rep. Verschoore and Sen. David Koehler would provide that the voters of the entire fire protection district may vote on whether a territory of that district may be disconnected and transferred to another district (rather than just the voters of the territory sought to be transferred). The measure passed the House and Senate and is on its way to the Governor.
HB 220 - sponsored by Rep. Moffitt and Sen. Sullivan would provide that a board of trustees of a fire protection district may submit a question to increase the current special tax rate for the purpose of providing funds to pay the costs of emergency and rescue crews and equipment to the voters of the fire protection district by referendum. Provides the special tax rate may be raised to a maximum of .10%. Provides the language to be used in the referendum. Effective immediately. The measure is on Concurrence for a Senate Amendment in the House.
HB 246 – Sponsored by Rep. Stewart and Sen. Koehler would commemorate Dec. 23rd each year as “Scott’s Law Day” to honor public safety workers and remind motorists to slow down and change lanes away from a stationary authorized emergency vehicle. The measure passed both the House and Senate and is headed to the Governor.
SB 740 – Sponsored Sen. Holmes and Rep Pritchard - Amends the Fire Hydrant Act. Provides that whoever fails to comply with any of the provisions of the Act, after 30 days receiving written notice of noncompliance or violation from a fire protection district or municipality in whose jurisdiction a fire hydrant is located, shall be responsible for all reasonable costs that the fire protection district or municipality incurs to correct the noncompliance, including attorney’s fees and legal expenses incurred by the fire protection district or municipality in recovering the costs from the responsible party. The measure passed the House and Senate and is now headed to the Governor.
HJR 1 – Sponsored by Rep. Willis and Sen. Rose. Creates the Emergency Responder Roadway Safety Task Force to address coordination between the fire service, first responders and law enforcement to prevent first responders from being injured when responding to emergencies on roadsides. The measure passed the House and is waiting for final approval in Senate.