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Firemen's Association
Legislative Issues
Issues

Legal Updates
The Grant Bill HB 955 and SB 866 looks to be headed in the right direction for passage.

Highlights
  1. Increase annual amount from $25 million to $40 million
  2. Will include career fire departments
  3. Fire commissioner will get about $100,000 for grant administration
  4. For profit EMS companies are not in the grant
  5. Grant will expire in 4 years

Notes:          
  • $25 million was greater than 15% of gaming revenue 5 years ago
  • $40 million represents less than 5% of the gaming money
  • Addition of career departments will reduce current by less than $400
  • There has never been fire grant funding since the grant was established in year two of Tom Ridge’s first term.

The Governor has not signed off and no votes have been taken.  Keep up the pressure until we have a signed bill.

B
Required background checks for all new fire and EMS members.  Representative John Payne will introduce the bill.

Highlights
With the exception of arson, reasons for disqualifying a member will be left to each fire or EMS organization.
A national records search can be done for less than $15.  The bill will be silent on who pays for the background checks.

C. Training Bill
Legislation to modify the training delivery system and make it free for all of PA.  Firefighters will be introduced following the signing of the grant bill.  A draft report is available.  Training will be paid for by a ½% increase in the foreign fire insurance fee.  Of the citizens polled by Penn State, 68% support the fee increase if it supports local fire departments.  The fee will also allow the fireman’s relief associations who get less than $10,000 annually to get an increase to bring them up to $10,000.  This bill is going to be difficult to pass given the Governor’s stand on no new taxes.

D.
Small games of chance HB 169 – SB 444:
  • Increase maximum prize for a single chance from $500 to $1,000
  • Increase the maximum weekly limit from $5,000 to $30,000
  • Establish a limit of $50,000 for a monthly drawing
  • Establish a monthly limit of $100,000 in total prizes
  • Raffles are increased from $5,000 to $10,000