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
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:
ARTICLE 15B. WEST VIRGINIA VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER LENGTH OF
§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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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.
(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
(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
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
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would