*EDIT* - This blog post was based on the original version of the bill. You can read about the most current version by clicking here: covid-19-losap-bill-amended-progressing.html
Bill S8251 was introduced in the Senate on April 27, 2020. It was then amended May 6, 2020 to include an amendment to the sections of the General Municipal Law that govern the volunteer ambulance worker service award programs. The amended bill number is S8251-A. On May 11, 2020, a companion bill to S8251-A was then introduced in the Assembly. Therefore, we now have a bill in both houses, S8251-A / A10438. As of the date this post is being written, the bills have been referred to the respective Local Government Committee for consideration. A PDF of the bill is included at the bottom of this post. Keep in mind this is just a bill at this point - it is not law.
For volunteer firefighter programs, this bill essentially does two things:
We were asked for our comments on this bill prior to the Assembly version being introduced and provided a detailed response. If you would like to review those comments, please contact us for a copy. They were intended not to be critical of the intent of the bills - we are thankful the legislature is considering how much the fire service has changed but the way LOSAP points can be earned has relatively stayed the same. Our intent is to improve the effectiveness of the legislation.
Here are our main comments that we think you should know about:
It should not be assumed that these bills will be passed by the legislature and signed into law. Therefore, fire departments and sponsors should continue to come up with creative ways to hold activities and/or develop strategies for volunteers to earn points in 2020. At least we now have some possible legislative relief. Additionally, if this bill becomes law, it would appear to be optional, so sponsors could still be free to look to alternative approaches.
If you have specific questions about the bill, we encourage you to leave your comments below, as others may have the same questions and/or concerns. Ultimately, if the bill as currently constructed does become law, program sponsors will have to lean on their local attorney to navigate some of the vague nuances of the bill.
As was mentioned in a previous post, a bill was introduced in the Senate to try and address the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic will have on the ability of volunteers to earn LOSAP points in 2020.
Since that post, the bill was amended to include changes to Articles 11-AA and 11-AAA, which are the statutes that govern the LOSAPs for volunteer ambulance squads.
Yesterday, May 11th, an Assembly bill was introduced which mirrors the amended Senate version. We have included it at the bottom of this post for you.
Our comments on the version Senate bill were provided to the legislature and other interested parties. A condensed version will be made available soon.
In the meantime, please do not assume this bill will pass. We will continue to monitor and update you as this situation develops.
A bill was introduced in the Senate this week to address how the current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted how firefighters can earn LOSAP points.
At this point, we are providing the text of the bill with no comments. It can be found at the bottom of this article.
In general, we maintain that we cannot assess how this pandemic will impact how firefighters can earn 50 points until we are clearly near the bottom of the curve. Therefore, it is difficult to know how to best address this situation. Since this legislation is only in bill form, we encourage you not to wait for this bill to possibly become law - start thinking about ways to be creative to allow firefighters to earn points in 2020.
We have been asked for our input on this bill and will be providing it soon.
If you have any questions, please contact us! Stay safe!