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EAIC Subcommittee on Rural Volunteer Firefighters Update

Posted Date: 
August 1, 2012
Pat Murdo, Committee Staff

A subcommittee of the Economic Affairs Interim Committee will meet Aug. 23 in Helena to review a bill draft that would make workers’ compensation mandatory for all volunteer fire fighters but also provide a way to finance the premiums. The meeting will start at 9 a.m. in Room 137 of the Capitol.

Sen. Tom Facey proposed a bill draft to meet concerns from the Montana Association of Counties and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation regarding agreements routinely signed by county commissioners to obtain fire fighting equipment from DNRC. Those agreements contain a statement that fire fighters operating the equipment have workers’ compensation insurance. Although some volunteer fire departments do provide volunteers with workers’ compensation coverage, representatives of various volunteer fire fighting units have acknowledged that not all do so. In addition, not all volunteer fire fighters operate as part of an entity that has taxing authority. The proposed bill draft would require that county commissioners work with fire districts, fire service areas, and others who provide fire protection to determine financing options for workers’ comp coverage.

The counties, in turn, would be allowed to assess a permissive levy to cover the costs of workers’ compensation for those providers.

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Pat Murdo | 406-444-3594 |