Davis’ efforts to spare volunteer first responders from fees pay off

Governor waives payments as her legislative efforts continue

HARRISBURG, June 10 – State Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, today applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to waive background clearance fees for volunteers, including volunteer firefighters and emergency service personnel.

“I made it clear almost two months ago that the background clearance fees required of our emergency responders were unacceptable, and the governor, to his credit, listened and acted,” Davis said. “It was the right move at the right time as legislative efforts to spare volunteers from the fees continue.”

Davis launched her effort on April 15 to exempt emergency responders from clearance fees, and her legislation, H.B. 1081, awaits consideration in the House Judiciary Committee, where she serves as a member.

“Our volunteers are too important to our communities and public safety to saddle them with fees and barriers,” said Davis, who spearheaded a May 21 news conference with area volunteers at the Newportville Fire Company station to highlight the need for fee exemptions. “The need for a legislative fix is evident, and the governor’s action today is appreciated.”

Laws enacted last year to bolster how Pennsylvania responds to child abuse would have required volunteers to secure criminal history and child abuse clearances, costing $10 each, beginning July 1. Almost 300,000 volunteers are projected to seek the clearances in the first year.

Besides waiving fees for volunteers working with children, Wolf today also said the Department of Human Services and the state police will be reducing the cost of both the child abuse and criminal history record checks from $10 to $8 for all other applicants.

The changes take effect July 25.