Legislative Agenda

2020 FASNY Legislative Agenda

  1. UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE FIRE SAFETY STANDARDS – Establishes a prohibition on the sale and distribution of new upholstered furniture containing certain flame-retardant chemicals.
    Corresponding legislation: S.6512 (Harckham)/A.6260-A (Gunther)
    Introduced in 2013. Currently an Issue of United Concern. In 2019, the bill was amended to remove the open flame standard, and Senator Harckham of the Democratic Conference assumed sponsorship of the bill, Assemblywoman Gunther also assumed sponsorship when prior sponsor Anthony Brindisi won his bid for Congress.
  2. AMEND PENAL CODE TO ADD ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF A FIRE AND EMERGENCY PERSONNEL – Make it a crime to illegally circumvent uniform code by making illegal conversions a charge of “Endangering the welfare of fire and emergency personnel.”
    Corresponding Legislation: S.6264 (Carlucci) / A.1797 (Zebrowski)
    Introduced in 2014. Currently an Issue of United Concern. Failed to advance out of the Codes Committee in both houses in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
  3. VFBL/VAWBL INCREASE – Increase benefits for partial permanent and total permanent disability benefits levels based on the cost of living after the effective date of the legislation.
    Corresponding Legislation: S.4631 (Gaughran) / A.5896 (Magnarelli) INCREASES TO $650
    Currently an Issue of United Concern. In 2019, sponsorship was assumed by Senator Gaughran who is a Democrat and Chair of the Local Government Committee. It was reported out of three committees and passed the Senate. It did not move out of Assembly Local Governments Committee.
  4. PERMANENT HEART & LUNG VFBL – Make permanent the long-standing laws governing disability determinations relating to (1) disease or malfunction of the heart or coronary arteries and (2) certain lung disease or malfunction incurred by volunteer firefighters as it relates to coverage for death or disabilities under VFBL.
    Corresponding Legislation:

    1. S.5418 (Harckham) / A.563 (Buchwald)
    2. S.5419 (Harckham) / A.7352 (Buchwald)
      Both bills passed the Senate in 2019, but did not pass the Assembly Local Governments Committee.
  5. THE FAIR PLAY AMBULANCE COST RECOVERY FOR FIRE DEPARTMENTS – Allows fire departments to bill for ambulance services to even the playing field with other ambulance providers across the state.
    Corresponding Legislation: S.3685-B (Brooks) / A.1778-A (Jones)
    Introduced in 2011. Currently an Issue of United Concern. In 2019, this bill passed the Senate, but failed to move out of Local Governments in the Assembly.
  6. RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION TASK FORCE – Will develop initiatives that allow for and improve training abilities, delivery mechanisms, identification and recruitment of under-represented populations; and analyze and adopt successful activities and programs in other jurisdictions. Legislation would also create a full-time division of OFPC to be responsible for this issue and recommend a volunteer first responder incentive package. This task force would be held to a deadline to submit a report and deliverables would be tied to the legislation.
    Corresponding Legislation: To be introduced.
  7. FIRE PROTECTION AND EMS PATHWAYS – This legislation would provide access for interested individuals to career and technical education pathways by NYSED in the areas of fire protection and EMS while meeting high school graduation requirements.
    Corresponding Legislation: No corresponding legislation.
  8. EXPAND LENGTH OF TIME BETWEEN RECERTIFICATION – Legislation passed in July which included certified first responders in a program relating to recertification of persons providing emergency medical care and removes the designation of such program as a pilot or demonstration program. This proposal seeks to build upon this law and extend the length of time between recertification needed from every three years to every five years.
    Corresponding Legislation: No corresponding legislation.

Budget Issues

FULL FUNDING FOR CANCER COVERAGE – This legislation establishes state funding for the full cost of providing medical benefits to volunteer firefighters who are diagnosed with certain forms of cancers. This would alleviate the financial burden on fire departments, districts or local governments currently providing the coverage.

INCREASE TAX CREDIT – Advocate for an increase in tax credit to volunteer firefighters, volunteer ambulance workers and volunteer emergency medical personnel from $200 to $400 per year.

SALES TAX EXEMPTION FOR HOME LIFE SAFETY PRODUCTS – Advocate for an exemption of sales tax on sprinkler installation, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers as an incentive for purchasing these household items. (If unsuccessful with full exemption, allow a sales tax moratorium in October as part of Fire Prevention Month.)

MONITORING – Monitor fiscal year 2021 budget negotiations to ensure adequate/consistent funding levels are met for 9/11 coordination purposes, Emergency Services Low Interest Revolving Loans, Training Funding under OFPC, and recovery of 54-G funding to support code enforcement efforts in municipalities, including funding for training books.

Issues Regarding Codes

ENFORCEMENT OF HOUSING AND BUILDING CODES – FASNY has always been a leader on the enforcement of housing and building codes. As such, the Association supports the findings of the investigative report issued by the New York State Committee on Investigations and Government Operations concerning Code Enforcement. The report’s preliminary legislative recommendations fortify penalties, strengthen reforms and establish adequate remedies for non-compliance.