Another Good week at the Capital. Senate Bill 160, the Firefighter Protection Act, had its first hearing on Tuesday am in the Senate Business and Labor Committee. Prior to the hearing, we met with Sen. McConnell to go over final details, facts and challenges. President Fassbinder was here and assisted with a great dinner.
Our hearing went very well, with good discussion and vetting of the Bill. Our opposition, MMIA, MACO and a Work Comp attorney voiced there concerns but provided no facts, stats or research on the final potential costs of this on the WC system. I would like to thank Senator Nate McConnell, Pres. Fassbinder, Dave Maslowski, Chief Rich Cowger, and Chief Jeff Brandt for there testimony and support on this bill. SB 160 Executive Action is scheduled from Tuesday February 5th. We believe we have secured the votes to get this out to the Senate Floor.
SB 171 Firefighter Tobacco Bill was heard right after SB 160, we did stand in support of this bill due to its positive effect on FF Health and Safety.
After the hearing, it was a whole day of research and prep time. Our goal being to quell the oppositions arguments and keep lawmakers informed on the Bill and how other states have been affected. Several western states with comparable Bill have seen a reduction on WC rates since the Law was enacted. WYO, ND, ID, NM, & OR to list a few. A 12 page WC rate and FF Health and Safety booklet was created, fact checked and printed as an adjunct for the Senate Committee and possibly the Senate Floor.
Today we met with the House Democrat Caucus to talk about FF Bills provide more information and answer any questions they may have. Here is a list of Bills to keep an eye on in the up coming weeks.
HB 258 Emergency Traffic Move over / Speed Bill
HB 272 Laurel FF Memorial (will be Amended to have a Career FF on Board of Directors)
SB 17 RFA
SB 20 Belgrade ANNEX
SB 29 Work Comp for Volunteers
SB 160 Fire Protection act
SB 171 FF Tobacco Bill
Also wanted to add the Invites were delivered to Lawmakers for Tuesday February 5th Reception at our LEGCON.
Please contact us with any question
JOEL DAVE BRIAN
Montana State Council of Professional Fire Fighters IAFF