Introduced Version House Bill 3045 History

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Key: Green = existing Code. Red = new code to be enacted
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H. B. 3045

(By Delegate Hall)

[Introduced March 10, 2009; referred 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, §8-15B-4 and §8-15B-5, all relating to establishing the "West Virginia Volunteer Firefighter Length of Service Act"; and providing retirement benefits for volunteer firefighters.

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, §8-15B-4 and §8-15B-5, 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 $400 per month for the rest of their life.
§8-15B-3. Funding for the program.
(a) A new fund is established under this article for the purpose of collecting and distributing moneys to eligible recipients.
(b) Every fire department must contribute the sum of $2,000 annually to the fund. This payment may come from either the fire department or from county funding in the county in which the department resides.
(c) Every fire department must contribute to the fund for at least five years or have submitted a total of $10,000 prior to any payment to the departments eligible recipients.
(d) The fund must be established and receiving annual contributions for five years prior to any disbursements of monthly payments to eligible recipients.
§8-15B-4. Requirements for recipients prior to any monthly compensation.

(a) The fire department must be a member in good standing of the West Virginia State Fireman's Association for their members to be eligible recipients for compensation under this article.
(b) Each recipient must be at least sixty years of age.
(c) 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.
(d) 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.
(e) 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 funding administration.
(f) 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 West Virginia State Fire Commission. 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.
(g) 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 their paid employment.
(h) 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.
§8-15B-5. Administration.
(a) The volunteer firefighter's length of service plan will require administration staff to collect and distribute the funds to eligible participants. It is the responsibility of the administration to maintain proper records and documentation of each department and eligible recipient, and that all requirements have been met prior to any distribution of funds.
(b) The administration will also monitor and take necessary measures to prevent fraudulent or improper distribution of the fund. This will include audits of information submitted if necessary.
(c) The administration will prepare a forecast of eligible recipients by year based on the information submitted annually by the fire departments. The administration can estimate the needed cash flow in the fund for future years based on forecast projections.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish the "West Virginia Volunteer Firefighter Length of Service Act" to give retirement benefits to volunteer firefighters. It requires the State of West Virginia would have to provide for the administration costs during the first five years of the plan, after this time the plan should be self-sufficient to handle any associated administration costs.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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