Rep. Goodman supports bills to help volunteer first responders

HARRISBURG, Oct. 29State Rep. Neal P. Goodman recently voted for several bills that would help provide more support to volunteer fire companies and emergency services.

“Schuylkill County has a significant number of volunteer first responders, and I was proud to vote for legislation that would help the brave men and women answer the call for us,” said Goodman, D-Schuylkill. “Unfortunately, the number of volunteers across the commonwealth has dropped. I hope these bills will help encourage more people to consider volunteering as a first responder.”

The bills supported by Goodman are:

  • H.B. 1705 and 1839 would allow counties, school districts and municipalities to provide full property tax relief to active members of volunteer fire companies and non-profit ambulance companies whose names are on their primary residence’s property tax bills.
  • H.B. 1773 and H.B 1786 would enable active members of volunteer fire companies and non-profit ambulance companies to get tuition assistance and forgiveness of existing student loans.
  • H.B. 1780 would exempt volunteer companies from the state’s right-to-know laws. Volunteer companies don’t have big legal departments to handle requests, so this takes the burden off companies.
  • H.B. 1673 would expand firefighters' relief funds and make it easier to use this money the best way an organization sees fit in its community, including investing in training, recruiting new members and recognizing those who’ve served a long time.
  • S.B. 146 would create online training for volunteers, easing the burden of finding time for training. When appropriate, certified online programs would count towards training requirements.
  • H. B.732 would eliminate realty transfer taxes for property owned by companies.
  • H.B. 269 would eliminate realty transfer taxes for active volunteers fallen in the line of duty to transfer property to a spouse or child.
  • H.B. 1048 would eliminate the $700 annual application surcharge to renew a liquor license for volunteer fire companies and national veterans’ organizations.
  • H.B. 1834 would increase the dollar amounts of a grant program that helps volunteer fire and EMS grant programs get vital safety equipment.
  • H.B. 1816 would increase dollar amounts of a loan program for volunteer fire and EMS companies.

These bills now move to the state Senate for consideration.