HB2945 HFIN FBM 3-21


Sponsors:Mr. Speaker (Mr. Thompson) and
Delegates Caputo, Boggs, Lynch, Young, Skinner, Tomblin, Barrett, Sponaugle, White and Miley

Attorney:McO / Assistant:

Date:     March 21, 2013

Title:    OK

Fiscal Note:   Yes

Code:     §12-4-14a (amend)
          §33-3-33a (new)

Purpose: The bill would require a comprehensive review and report of the needs of each volunteer or part volunteer fire company or volunteer fire department serving in this state, and of steps that may be taken to meet the needs of and sustain the them.

     The review is to be conducted by State Fire Marshal, in consultation with the Insurance Commissioner, the State Auditor, the Secretary of Revenue and the Legislative Auditor. The State Fire Marshal is to give the comprehensive report
, with his or her recommendations, on how to sustain fire protection for rural communities to Joint Committee on Government and Finance, on or before December 31, 2015.

     While the review is being conducted, the Volunteer Fire Department Workers' Compensation Subsidy Program will continue to be administered by the Auditor and the bill provides 2 sources of revenues to support the program during this period.

     The bill would also clarify that the subsidy provided by the program to volunteer fire departments to offset their workers' compensation premium increases apply not only to the increases attributable to their fire fighting services, but apply as well to increases attributable to the rapid response emergency medical service, ambulance service and diving service components of the services provided by the volunteer fire departments.

COMMITTEE ACTION: A Committee Substitute was reported that changes one of the two sources of funding for the subsidy program. Under the introduced bill, the two revenue sources are to be transferred into the Auditor's new "Volunteer Fire Department Workers' Compensation Premium Subsidy Fund" for the duration of the subsidy program, which expires on June 30, 2016, as follows:

     (1) $7.5 million to be transferred from the Premium Tax Savings Fund; and

     (2) Using FY2013 as a baseline year, the excess of the aggregate of the baseline annual premium taxes and surcharges dedicated to and distributed from the Fire Protection fund to the Volunteer Fire Departments of the state. This funding will be deposited into a new "Volunteer Fire Department Workers' Compensation Premium Subsidy Fund" for the duration of the subsidy program, which expires on June 30, 2016.
     The Committee Substitute would transfer the $7.5 million from the Fire Marshal Fees Fund rather than from the Premium Tax Savings Fund.

Effective Date:     Passage