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Bill Detail: SB22-002

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Title Resources For Volunteer Firefighters
Status Governor Signed (06/03/2022)
Bill Subjects
  • Local Government
House Sponsors P. Will (R)
Senate Sponsors J. Ginal (D)
House Committee Transportation and Local Government
Senate Committee Local Government
Date Introduced 01/12/2022
Summary

Wildfire Matters Review Committee. The bill allows fire
departments, including fire protection districts and volunteer fire
departments, to be compensated from state funding sources for wildland
fire suppression activities conducted in the fire department's jurisdiction
if the fire department relies primarily or solely on volunteer firefighters,

the fire exceeds the department's capacity to extinguish or control, and the
period of mutual aid has ended. The fire department must use money
received to compensate volunteer firefighters in accordance with
guidelines adopted by the division of fire prevention and control
(division) in the annual wildfire preparedness plan. Boards of county
commissioners are authorized to reimburse fire departments from county
funds for wildland fire suppression activities conducted within the fire
department's jurisdiction in the same circumstances.
The bill amends the existing local firefighter safety and disease
prevention fund grant program (program) to allow grants to be spent to
provide access to mental health services for seasonal and volunteer
firefights involved in wildland fire suppression in addition to purchasing
equipment and providing training. The bill requires the program to give
priority in awarding grants to governing bodies and volunteer fire
departments that:
  • Have lost tax revenues as a result of decreased assessment
values due to a wildland fire within their jurisdiction in the
previous 5 years;
  • Rely solely or primarily on volunteer firefighters and serve
communities affected by wildland fires; or
  • Demonstrate the greatest need for additional funding to
ensure the safety of volunteer and seasonal firefighters.
The general assembly is required to annually appropriate $5 million to the
program and may appropriate additional money as necessary to meet the
needs of governing bodies and volunteer fire departments. On or before
September 1, 2032, the staff of the joint budget committee is required to
report on whether the amount of the annual appropriation should be
adjusted based on current needs.
In addition, the division may use money in the firefighter safety
and disease prevention fund to reimburse mental and behavioral
health-care specialists for services provided to firefighters who have
served as volunteer or seasonal wildland firefighters, in accordance with
rules adopted by the division.

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