2023 New York State Fire Service Alliance Legislative Agenda
Issues of United Concern
Each year, the New York State Fire Service Alliance, consisting of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, Firefighters Association of the State of New York, Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York, County Fire Coordinators’ Association of the State of New York, New York State Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association, and Volunteer Fire Police Association of the State of New York, develops and forwards Issues of United Concern to the New York State Legislature for consideration in the upcoming legislative session. The Fire Service Alliance reviews each organization’s legislative agenda and adopts a list of priorities to uniformly advocate for in the year ahead. Additionally, each organization will promote laws specific to their particular membership needs.
New York State Fire Service Alliance Legislative Initiatives for the 2023 Session
ENSURE VFBL PARITY WITH WORKERS' COMPENSATION
Bring the Volunteer Firefighters Benefit Law pay equal to workers' compensation/what career firefighters receive when injured in the line of duty.
Corresponding legislation: S.1340 (Brooks) / A.3597 (McMahon) (2021-2022 Session)
DESIGNATE EMS AS AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE, EXPAND THE BENEFITS AVAILABLE TO EMS PERSONNEL, AND SET STANDARDS FOR EMS
Recognizes EMS as an essential service, establishes a special district for the financing and operation of general ambulance services, expands access to health insurance and retirement benefits available to EMS providers.
Corresponding legislation: S.8432-A (Mayer) / A.9509-A (Otis) (2021-2022 Session)
ANALYZE FINDINGS FROM THE NYS DHSES RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION TASK FORCE
(1) RECRUITMENT EFFORTS
(2) RETENTION EFFORTS
PUBLIC SAFETY AND BUILDING CODE COMPLIANCE ISSUES
Corresponding legislation: S.3741 (Gaughran) / A.6087 (Zebrowski) (2021-2022 Session)
• RECOVERY OF 54-G FUNDING TO SUPPORT CODE ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS
Ensure state funds collected through dedicated fees on each fire policy written in the state go to support local code enforcement activities and not continue to be swept into State General Fund.
Corresponding legislation: S.6970-A (Kavanagh) / A.8802-A (Zebrowski) (2021-2022 Session)
• TIMELY ADOPTION OF THE UNIFORM FIRE PREVENTION AND BUILDING CODE AND THE STATE ENERGY CONSERVATION CONSTRUCTION CODE
Would require that a new building code as published by ICC would be adopted by the NYS Codes Council within specified time frame.
Corresponding legislation: S.6210-A (Skoufis) / A.3559-A (Hunter) (2021-2022 Session) provides a framework to accomplish; support amendments to extending the timeline of enactment from 12 months.
• ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS
Ensure the Executive and Legislative prioritization of provision of affordable housing stock through legalization of more residential space is executed in a manner that prioritizes occupant safety and the safety of first responders in emergencies. Ensure a focus on legalizing existing units as well as create new units; advocate for increasing access to housing for first responders as a recruitment and retention tool.
Corresponding legislation: To be determined.
• LITHIUM-ION BATTERY SAFETY STANDARDS
Ensure proper registration/permitting, research and standard development, repairing and regulation of products containing lithium-ion batteries, work with stakeholders to raise public awareness around best fire safety practices, and examine solutions proposed from decisionmakers and opine as a trusted public safety voice.
CONTINUE TO IMPROVE TAX BENEFITS FOR VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS
Push to allow volunteer firefighters to receive both real property tax exemptions and income tax credit, while continuing to advocate for an income tax credit increase (has been at $200 since its inception in 2006.) This credit would step increase tied to qualifying years of service up to $2,500 for 10 or more consecutive qualifying years of service.
Corresponding legislation: S.3989-A (Reichlin Melnick) / A.1320-A (Zebrowski) (2021-2022 Session)
CANCER COVERAGE COST RELIEF
Pursue data collection to enable establishment of a funding stream to alleviate fiscal burden on districts/departments providing the coverage.
As these measures work through the legislative process, the Fire Service Alliance will reconvene to strategize and/or identify additional measures to be considered by the Legislature.
Download the 2023 Issues of United Concern Agenda