WEST virginia legislature
2017 regular session
Senate Bill 241
By Senators Trump, Boso, Stollings, Blair, Cline and Rucker
[ Introduced February 10,
to the Committee on Government Organization; and then to the Committee on Finance]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §29-3F-1, §29-3F-2, §29-3F-3, §29-3F-4, §29-3F-5, §29-3F-6 and §29-3F-7, all relating to creating the West Virginia Volunteer Fire and Rescue Act of 2017; providing a short title; making findings; stating a purpose; establishing certification requirements for ambulance drivers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics; providing a waiver of certain fees; and establishing a tax credit.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §29-3F-1, §29-3F-2, §29-3F-3, §29-3F-4, §29-3F-5, §29-3F-6 and §29-3F-7, all to read as follows:
article 3F. West Virginia Volunteer Fire and Rescue Act of 2017.
§29-3F-1. Short title.
This article may be cited as the “West Virginia Volunteer Fire and Rescue Act of 2017.”
The purpose of this article is to lessen the burden on volunteer fire departments and rescue squads and those who volunteer their time and energy as members of those departments and squads in responding to fire and rescue calls.
The Legislature finds that:
(1) Due to the state’s rural nature municipal fire departments do not cover a significant number of homes and business facilities, volunteer fire departments and rescue squads and the volunteers who staff those entities shoulder the burden in providing an essential necessary service to communities and the state as a whole;
(2) Volunteer fire departments and rescue squads save lives and property;
(3) Volunteer fire departments and rescue squads lessen the tax burden on the taxpayers;
(4) Volunteer fire departments and rescue squads serve the public welfare that flows from public-spiritedness of the volunteer firefighters and rescue squad members; and
(5) Current rules imposed by the state discourage volunteers for these important activities and provide disincentives for people to volunteer.
§29-3F-4. Ambulance drivers.
Notwithstanding the provisions of article four-c, chapter sixteen of this code, volunteer ambulance drivers do not have to be licensed or certified paramedics or emergency medical technicians (EMTs) if there is a paramedic or an EMT also on the emergency response. The driver must be qualified to drive and has an Emergency Vehicle Operation Certification, has passed a background check, and has basic CPR and first aid training.
§29-3F-5. Certification of emergency medical technicians and paramedics.
(a) For purposes of certification or recertification, EMTs and paramedics, the state’s certification authority shall recognize and give full credit for all continuing education credits that have been approved or recognized by any of states contiguous to West Virginia.
(b) Persons who served as a combat medic in the military within three years of honorable discharge are to be initially automatically certified as an EMT in West Virginia. However, those individuals must be recertified when appropriate.
Individuals, and their respective volunteer fire departments and rescue squads, who serve as EMTs and paramedics may not be charged any fee or other expense by the State for certification or recertification as paramedics or EMTs. Nor shall any fee be charged by the state to volunteer fire departments and rescue squads and their respective drivers relating to having an ambulance or providing an ambulance service.
§29-3F-7. Tax credit.
For tax years beginning after January 1, 2017, Volunteer firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and drivers of volunteer fire departments and rescue squads who run or respond to twelve or more calls per calendar year are entitled to a $200 tax credit provided by the state out of general revenue for property taxes paid in a calendar year.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to creating the West Virginia Volunteer Fire and Rescue Act of 2017. The bill provides a short title. The bill makes findings. The bill states a purpose. The bill establishes certification requirements for ambulance drivers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics. The bill provides a waiver of certain fees. The bill establishes a tax credit.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.