Issues of United Concern

New York State Fire Service Alliance

2020 Legislative Agenda

On December 7, 2019, the NYS Fire Service Alliance met in Troy, New York for the purpose of developing the list of legislative priorities for the 2020 legislative session.  All of the major fire service organizations were represented, and the following is a list of agreed upon priority initiatives:
On December 8, 2018, the NYS Fire Service Alliance met in Troy, New York for the purpose of developing the list of legislative priorities for the 2019  legislative session. All the major fire service organizations were represented, and the following is a list of agreed upon major initiatives:

Issues of United Concern
  • Ambulance Cost Recovery for Fire Departments Allows volunteer fire departments and districts, which are currently unable to recover the cost of providing pre-hospital EMS service from insurers, Medicare and Medicaid, to bill for services. Currently for-profit, not-for-profit and municipal EMS providers can recover the costs of providing pre-hospital services. This bill would simply level the playing field and provide the same statutory authority to volunteer departments and fire districts.
          Corresponding Legislation: (Brooks)/A1778A (Jones)

  • Permanent Heart & Lung VFBL Make permanent the long-standing laws governing disability determinations relating to (1) disease or malfunction of the heart or coronary arteries and (2) certain lung disease or malfunction incurred by volunteer firefighters as it relates to coverage for death or disability under VFBL.
         Corresponding Legislation:        (1) S5418 (Harckham)/A563   (Buchwald)
                                                                   (2) S5419 (Harckham)/A7352 (Buchwald)

  • VFBL/VAWBL Increase Would provide an increase in VFBL/VAWBL benefits for temporarily and totally disabled volunteers – the update would provide parity with worker’s compensation benefits for volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers in the event they are injured in the line of duty.
          Corresponding Legislation:             S4631 (Gaughran)/A5896 (Magnarelli)

  • Endangering the Welfare of Fire and Emergency Personnel – Would allow for legislative and administrative actions on building owners who perform modifications or conversions without obtaining the prescribed permits for single or multi-family occupancies.
          Corresponding Legislation:             S6264 (Carlucci)/A1797 (Zebrowski)

  • Upholstered Furniture Health Safety Standards - Establish a prohibition on the sale of upholstered furniture which employs the use of carcinogenic flame-retardant chemicals.
          Corresponding Legislation:             S6512 (Harckham)/A6260A (Gunther)

  • Recruitment, Education and Retention Task Force – Pursue legislation that would create a task force to specifically review the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters as well as the development of education programs designed to recruit volunteer firefighters. The task force shall consist of representatives of the volunteer fire service, the New York State Legislature and relevant state agencies that oversee volunteer firefighters, tax incentives and educational programs.
          Corresponding Legislation:           To Be Introduced

Also discussed during the December meeting were the following issues and ideas which will be pursued individually by the organizations.  While below issues are considered important, it was decided that advancing these proposals by the individual organizations may better produce positive outcomes through the legislative process. These additional proposals are:
  • Additional legislative initiatives endorsed by the members of the Fire Service Alliance:
  • Work to prevent the removal of residential sprinkler protection from the building codes adopted by the State.
  • Ensure increased transparency for the process of conducting annual fire inspections for public and private schools.
  • Endorse legislation for the creation of career and technical education opportunities for both fire and EMS disciplines.
  • Support the increase the maximum annual contribution under defined contribution LOSAP plans from the current $1200 to $2100
  • Support legislation to enable authorities having jurisdiction the option to create, form, consolidate or otherwise merge fire companies or departments on a countywide, regional or cross-jurisdictional level to “right-size” provision of services across a broader tax base, geographical area and or population contingent upon the development and approval of a master plan by the residents affected.

State Budget Proposals endorsed by members of the Fire Service Alliance:
  • Advocate for the increase of an annual tax exemption from the current $200 to $400 which will help incentivize becoming a member of the volunteer fire service.
  • Advocate for a sales tax exemption on smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers to incentivize the purchase of these safety related items.
  • Monitor the 2019 budget negotiations to ensure adequate and consistent funding levels are maintained for emergency services.

The orders in which these proposals are presented are not relative to their importance.

2020 Issues of United Concern  Click to:  View, Print or Download