IFCA Legislative Update
Friday April 12, 2019
We would like to start out thanking everyone who attended legislative day this past Wednesday. It was a very busy day in Springfield and the legislative sessions went late into the evening. The impact of the legislature being in session into the evening was obvious by the attendance at our evening reception. We only had about a dozen legislators show up, and they didn’t arrive until after session, near the end of our event. It was still a very important day, letting our legislators know who we are.
With today’s deadline to pass bills out of the originating chamber, we thought it would be a good time to provide an update on what is currently still in consideration. When the legislature returns after a two-week break, the opposite house will be considering the bills listed below that we are following. Keep in mind that while it is a little more difficult to do, new legislative issues may be presented, and the bills listed below can have substantial changes prior to the legislature’s recess at the end of May.
Over the last two weeks, there has been an enormous amount of discussions about Senate Bill 37. As most everyone has heard, this bill would require a secondary employer to pay into the primary employer pension. A part of the argument for this bill relates to the potential risk to the primary employer from a firefighter working at another fire department. Particularly, the risk of a firefighter becoming disabled from a presumptive cause, such as cancer, where it may be impossible to indicate the direct cause of the disability. We have been working on language that reduces the impact of this legislation, since its introduction. This week, the legislation passed through the Senate with the understanding that we will continue to work on amending the bill. We are committed to working to reduce the impact of this legislation to our part time members while recognizing the potential liability to some of our other members.
Another bill that we have been working on is House Bill 841 which will create the criminal offense of fire responder endangerment when an owner or occupant knowingly conceals a dangerous condition that causes the death or injury of a first responded. We have been working with Representative Willis to pass this legislation for the last three years. It passed through the House with a 113-000-000 vote and is now in the Senate.
A bill that establishes additional hiring points for a fire department apprentice. House Bill 2854 will allow up to twenty preference points for a firefighter who meets a defined apprenticeship program. While we would like to further develop the apprentice concept, this is a good start to assuring that we are able to hire the best candidates available. Thank you to Chief Brian Scott of the Evanston Fire Department for bringing forth this idea and helping to develop the language.
Over the last two months, we have worked with a number of groups, including the Illinois Fire Inspectors Association, to develop legislation that would require (at a minimum) a monitored fire alarm in kennels that are not staffed on a 24-hour basis. We view this as a firefighter safety bill that will allow for an earlier notification of a fire in a kennel.
Below are a number of active bills that we are currently watching and working on, with a brief description. As indicated, the legislature will return to session on April 30th. We expect the rest of the spring session to be very active. We will work to keep everyone up to date as we move through the process.
HB 105 LOCAL GOVERNMENT-TECH SUPPORT
Amends the Fire Investigation Act. Updates language to bring into current use. Clarifies OSFM responsibilities in Home Rule units of government.
4/4/2019 Passed House 112-0-0
HB 271 FIRE PROTECTION DIST-PUBLISH SUPPORT
Changes the current requirement to publish bids over $20,000 and notice of initial eligibility exam in a daily newspaper to a newspaper of general circulation. Also, a district that has a website that the full-time staff maintains shall post on its website of all proposals to award contracts in excess of $20,000.
4/4/2019 Passed House 110-0-0
HB 841 CRIM CD-FIRST RESPONDER SUPPORT
Creates the offense of first responder endangerment. If a person knowingly creates a dangerous condition and intentionally conceals the dangerous condition in a commercial property under his or her management and the dangerous condition is found to be the primary cause of the death or serious bodily injury of a first responder in the course of his or her official duties.
4/9/2019 Passed House 113-0-0
HB 1876 TRANSPORTATION-TECH SUPPORT
Provides that red or white oscillating, rotating, or flashing emergency lights may be used on a vehicle operated by a qualified deputy fire chief or assistant fire chief (in addition to a fire chief).
4/11/19 Passed House 113-000-000
HB 2124 OPEN MEETINGS ACT-EXCEPTIONS SUPPORT
Provides that a public body may hold a closed meeting to consider specific volunteers of the public body including hearing testimony on a complaint lodged against a volunteer to determine its validity.
3/28/2019 Passed House 101-003-000
HB 2473 FIRE PROTECTION DIST-CONTRACTS SUPPORT
Provides that a board of trustees of a fire district may enter into contracts involving an expenditure in excess of $20,000 through participation in a joint purchasing program that requires as part of its selection procedure a competitive solicitation and procurement process.
3/28/2019 Passed House 101-000-000
HB 2766 SUICIDE-FIRST RESPONDERS SUPPORT
Creates the First Responders Suicide Prevention Act. Provides that emergency services personnel may refer any person to an employee assistance program or peer support counselor and that any communication made by a participant or counselor is confidential and may not be disclosed by any person participating in the peer support counseling session. Requires training programs for police and fire fighters to recognize signs of work-related cumulative stress that may lead to suicide and offer appropriate solutions for intervention.
4/10/2019 Passed House 114-0-0
HB 2854 FIRE DPT-APPRENTICE PREFERENCE SUPPORT
Creates a hiring preference of up to 20 points for a person who has performed fire suppression service for a department as a firefighter apprentice and otherwise meet the qualifications for original appointment as a firefighter.
3/29/2019 Passed House 100-000-000
HB 3390 KENNEL OPERATION-FIRE ALARMS SUPPORT
Provides that a kennel operator that maintains dogs and cats for boarding that is not staffed at all times shall be equipped with at least one fire alarm system or fire sprinkler system in operating condition in every building of the kennel operator that is used for the housing of animals.
4/11/2019 Passed House 095-016-000
HB 3522 PEN CD-FIRE-DEFINED CONTRIBUTE OPPOSE
Provides for the establishment of a defined contribution plan for certain fire chiefs and the establishment of a defined contribution plan for certain firefighters.
4/11/2019 Passed House 115-000-000
HB 3554 IDPH-EMT LICENSURE SUBMISSION SUPPORT
Provides that when applying for or renewing a license, an applicant may submit an email address to the IDPH. Provides that, within 60 days before the expiration of the license, IDPH shall send license renewal notices electronically and by mail to all who provide an email address.
3/28/2019 Passed House 108-000-000
SB 37 DOWNSTATE FIRE SECONDARY EMPLOYMENT
Amends the Downstate Firefighter Article of the Illinois Pension Code. Requires a unit of local government of 5,000 or more inhabitants that employs a firefighter who is a full-time firefighter in a different downstate firefighter pension fund to make contributions to that downstate firefighter pension fund. Authorizes the State comptroller to intercept State funds Provides that the required contributions by secondary employers are for the purposes of compensating the primary employer's pension fund for additional liabilities and risks to which firefighters are exposed when performing work as firefighters for secondary employers. Provides that the provisions shall not be construed to allow a secondary employee to qualify for benefits or creditable service for employment as firefighters for secondary employers.
4/11/2019 Passed Senate 039-010-000
SB 1480 LINE OF DUTY BURIAL BENEFIT SUPPORT
Amends the Line of Duty Compensation Act to increase the burial benefit from $10,000 to $20,000.
3/14/2019 Passed Senate 56-01-00
SB 1894 SPEC PLATES-POLICE/FIREFIGHTER SUPPORT
Provides that children and stepchildren, in addition to the spouse and parents, of a police officer or firefighter who has died in the line of duty may be issued special license plates.
4/4/2019 Passed Senate 56-00-00