Introduced Version Senate Bill 709 History

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Senate Bill No. 709

(By Senators Unger, Bailey, Stollings, Love, Kessler, Barnes, Hunter and Jenkins)


[Introduced February 18, 2008; referred to the Committee on Pensions; 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 §8-15B-1, §8-15B-2, §8-15B-3 and §8-15B-4, all relating to establishing the West Virginia Volunteer Firefighter Length of Service Act.

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 §8-15B-1, §8-15B-2, §8-15B-3 and §8-15B-4, all to read as follows:

§8-15B-1. Title and legislative intent.

(a) This article is known as the "West Virginia Volunteer Firefighter Length of Service Act."
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide compensation to volunteer firefighters for length of service.
§8-15B-2. Compensation for length of service.
This article compensates volunteer firefighters for length of service. In return for the required length of service commitment as a volunteer firefighter, every eligible recipient will receive a retirement pension of eight hundred dollars per month for the rest of his or her life. The pension provided by this article shall be in addition to any other pension for which the recipient may be eligible to receive.
§8-15B-3. Funding for the program.
The West Virginia Volunteer Length Of Service Act Fund is established. Proceeds from the fees on the sale of fireworks collected by the Tax Commissioner pursuant to subsection (c), section twenty-four, article three, chapter twenty-nine of this code shall be deposited into the fund. The fund will be administered by the Executive Director of the Consolidated Public Retirement Board.
§8-15B-4. Requirements for recipients prior to any monthly compensation.

(a) Each recipient must be at least sixty years of age.
(b) Each recipient must have at least twenty years of active service credit as a volunteer firefighter in a fire department certified to meet the requirements of a fire department by the West Virginia State Fire Commission.
(c) Service credit must include five years of service beginning in the year the fund is formally established. Therefore, no more than fifteen years of service credit can be awarded to individuals prior to this article.
(d) Individual service credit reports must be certified by the department chief and the department board of directors. Service credit reports must be submitted annually to the Public Employees Retirement System.
(e) Each recipient must meet required point criteria to receive one-year worth of service credit. The minimum point criteria will be established by the West Virginia State Fireman's Association in conjunction with the rules promulgated by the West Virginia State Fire Commission pursuant to sections five and nine-e, article three, chapter twenty-nine and article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. Volunteer firefighters will receive points for duties such as incident response, training at local, county or state level, participation in department fund-raising events, department, county or state meetings, and service as a line or administrative department officer.
(f) Only points incurred acting as a volunteer firefighter will be allowed toward annual service credit. No points will be given during any duties for which a person was paid a salary, hourly rate, or flat fee for the service performed. Paid firefighters are only eligible to receive service credit from a volunteer department which is a different department from his or her paid employment.
(g) After completion of twenty years of certified service credit as a volunteer firefighter, the individual will become vested into this benefit. The vested individual can at that point retire from any additional service, but the individual is not eligible to receive any benefit payments from this fund until the
individual reaches sixty years of age.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish the "West Virginia Volunteer Firefighter Length of Service Act"; and to create a fund to be used for pensions for volunteer firefighters with twenty years service.

This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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