Check here frequently for the latest legislative information…..
2017 Legislative Session
IFA Update 03.10.17 –
It was another interesting week at the Capitol as many bills are starting to move from one chamber to the other. Legislation must pass one chamber and make it through a committee in the other chamber by March 31st to stay alive. This process is referred to as the funnel as it eliminates many bills that don’t make it through the second deadline. Appropriations and Ways & Means bill are exempt from the funnel.
The biggest thing coming out next week will be the estimate of revenue that will determine what amount of money they will have to spend. If the numbers are low they may have to make additional cuts in the current budget before July 1st. This would be a real challenge as there is very little time left in the FY. This estimate will also make a difference in the FY 18 budget if it is lower. After the appropriations committees get their targets they will move quickly to prioritize where they will spend the money they have. Our training money is in the Justice appropriations so we will watch it very closely.
SF 489 passed out of the Senate Ways & Means committee this week on a 10-5 vote and moves to the Senate Calendar for debate. We are lobbying to get some money set aside for Fire Marshal FTE’s, training and education.
As most of you have already heard the Department has sent out another round of letters informing over 700 more individuals their tests were scored wrong. The IFA response has been strong and swift to Commissioner Ryan and the Fire Marshals office. We have told both we need a new Bureau Chief appointed as soon as it can possibly happen. In the mean time we need to move forward with a full split from the DPS. With the Governors approval the FSTB and the appropriations could be transferred to the community college system by mid summer. This would give us a chance to start over with a new Bureau Chief with firefighter experience and new direction for training statewide. We need to be moving forward on a plan for the future and not waste too much time being upset about something we had no control over. We will keep everybody updated as we hear from the Governor and the Commissioner Ryan.
The most controversial bill this week will be the changes to the worker compensation system. I sat in on a couple meetings last week concerning the bill and it sounds like there will be several changes as the bill moves forward. We expect debate to be heated and long.
We expect SF 444 and HF 519 to pass which will make it illegal to use an electronic device while driving. SF 444 deals with increased penalties for causing a death while using electronic device and driving. There are some exceptions for public safety and EMS personnel so we will see what the amended bills will look like before heading to the Governor.
City Council members can serve on volunteer Fire Dept. if HF 485 passes to Governor. The bill passed the House last week and is expected to move through the Senate.
At the National level….
Firefighter Cancer Registry Act Introduced in Congress
February 21, 2017
On February 7, U.S. Representatives Chris Collins (R-NY) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), along with 77 original cosponsors, introduced the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act (H.R. 931). On February 15, Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Murkowski (R-AK), Klobuchar (D-MN), Rubio (R-FL), Blumenthal (D-CT), Booker (D-NJ), Daines (R-MT), Franken (D-MN), Gillibrand (D-NY), Markey (D-MA), McCain (R-AZ), Schumer (D-NY), and Tester (D-MT) introduced identical legislation (S. 382). H.R. 931/S. 382 direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and maintain a voluntary registry of firefighters to collect relevant history and occupational information that can be linked to available cancer registry data in existing state cancer registries.
“I’d like to thank Representatives Collins, Senator Menendez, and the large, bi-partisan group of original co-sponsors in the House and Senate for their leadership in introducing this critical legislation,” said National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC )Chairman Kevin D. Quinn. “Too many firefighters are contracting and dying from cancer caused by duty-related exposures. This registry will improve our understanding of why firefighter cancer is occurring at such a high rate, and make it easier to prevent, detect, and treat.”
For years studies have indicated a strong link between firefighting and increased risk for several major cancers. An extensive study published by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in 2014 found that firefighters were at an increased risk of being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and found potential links between exposure to fire incidents and heightened risks for lung cancer and leukemia, among several others.
Past studies examining cancer incidence among firefighters have been limited by relatively small sample sizes and an underrepresentation of minority, female, and volunteer firefighters. The registry that would be created under H.R. 931/S. 382 would give researchers and public health agencies access to information about a much larger and more diverse group of firefighters, including volunteers.
Use the NVFC’s Legislative Action Center to contact your U.S. Representative and Senators to ask them to co-sponsor H.R 931/S. 382.
Use NVFC’s Legislative Action Center to Connect with the President and Congress on Volunteer Emergency Service Priorities
January 23, 2017
This year a new Congress and a new President will be working to make sweeping policy changes that will impact the entire country, including the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue community. It is important that elected officials understand the challenges facing volunteer emergency responders, and that they are familiar with programs and legislation that help volunteers. Please take a few minutes and use the NVFC’s Legislative Action Center to contact President Trump and your U.S. Representative and Senators to educate them about issues that are important to you. Draft messaging is available for you to send or customize through the Action Center tool. Take Action Now
Building a relationship with your legislators will help you, your community, firefighters across Iowa and the Iowa Firefighters Association. Many legislators across Iowa hold listening posts in the districts they represent in an effort to hear about issues important to their constituents like you. Pay close attention in your local newspapers and other communication from your legislators (e.g., newsletters, facebook, etc.) Every year, Firefighters depend on the legislature to pass responsible legislation affecting Iowa firefighters and to fund the programs used by Iowa firefighters.