The process established by the MCVFA for its legislative advocacy has resulted in a number of significant accomplishments. The MCVFA Legislative Committee will continue to work diligently toward fulfilling its responsibilities and making the MCVFA’s mission a reality.
McNamara Bill – Chapter 125 of the Acts of 2005 is the most important death benefit for Massachusetts Call/Volunteer Firefighters. The terms of the McNamara Bill can be found in the General Laws as M.G.L. Chapter 32 Section 89E. In essence, it requires cities, towns and districts to provide a death benefit to the surviving spouse and minor children of any call, volunteer or auxiliary firefighter killed in the line of duty as well as families of reserve and auxiliary police officers and call/volunteer EMS personnel not covered by workers compensation insurance.
An Act adding members of the Massachusetts Call and Volunteer Fire Fighters Association to the Massachusetts Fire Training Council finally allowed for the MCVFA to have 2 representatives on the Fire Training Council which sets training standards and professional standards. Up until this time, the MCVFA had no representation involving training in the Commonwealth. It was passed under Chapter 134 of the Acts of 2011 and can be found in General Laws as M.G.L. Section 164 of chapter 6.
An Act to Protect Call/Volunteer Firefighters from Dismissal – The original law was interpreted to provide this protection only if the call/volunteer firefighter was late to work because of a fire, not another type of emergency. Since the vast majority of emergency calls that volunteers respond to are for EMS, motor vehicle accidents and other non-fire emergencies, it is important that we clarified this law to include all of the emergencies we handle, not just fires. In recent years, many volunteers have been threatened with discharge. Since firefighters were already covered, the Senate changed the bill name to An Act Providing for the Protection of Volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians from Dismissal which was passed under Chapter 125 of the Acts of 2012 and may be found in Section 177B of Chapter 149 of the General Laws.
An Act to Include a Call/Volunteer Firefighter on the Fire Services Commission – Chapter 394 of the Acts of 2012 allowed for the MCVFA to have representation on the Fire Services Commission. The Commission has the task ofappointing the State Fire Marshal; promulgation of regulations and policies pertaining to the operation of the Office of the State Fire Marshal; review of the annual budget developed by the State Fire Marshal; advising the Office of the State Fire Marshal regarding state and national fire codes; and consulting with the Massachusetts Fire Training Council to develop standards for fire investigation and certification and is found in General Laws as M.G.L. Section 165B of Chapter 6.
An Act relative to Death Benefits to Surviving Spouses of Firefighters – Chapter 165 of the Acts 2014 was legislation that closed an important gap in the protections provided to the families of Call/Volunteer firefighters who may be killed in the line-of-duty in Massachusetts. The terms of this legislation can be found in the General Laws as M.G.L. Chapter 32B Section 9C1/2.
An Act to include fire districts, was amended to An Act relative to the indemnification of certain fire districts was legislation that would clarify that Fire Districts have the same legal authority to act on certain matters as cities and towns, specifically, to accept donations/gifts in kind, pay for funerals of firefighters killed in the line-of-duty, give creditable service for call firefighters (clarifies existing law), and provides for disability coverage under M.G.L. Chapter 32 Section 85H1/2 for call firefighters. Chapter 32 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 57B, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section – General Laws as M.G.L. Chapter 455 of the Acts of 2014.