Date: 01/28/2009



Votes: View--> Action Taken:

01:38 PM

The chair announced that the committee would not be hearing two of the bills on the calendar, SB 09-058 and SB 09-069.

01:39 PM -- Senate Bill 09-021

Senator Kopp, bill sponsor, provided an overview of SB 09-021. He explained that the bill establishes several incentives for volunteer firefighters. First, it creates a program to provide volunteer firefighters with tuition vouchers. Second, the bill creates a grant program to provide money to volunteer firefighter departments to conduct training on fighting fires in wildland-urban interface areas. Finally, the bill establishes a program to reimburse volunteer firefighters for up to $250 in equipment costs.

01:47 PM

The committee discussed the provisions of the bill, particularly those relating to the costs as outlined in the fiscal note.

01:53 PM --
David Porter, Legislative Council staff, spoke about the fiscal provisions of the bill. Senator King asked about College Opportunity Fund and how that applies to the costs in the fiscal note.

01:59 PM --
John Giardino, representing Colorado Mountain College, indicated that the college he represents is a local district college that was not included in the bill. He noted that the Breckenridge campus has a very active firefighting program. He expressed interest in the college being included in the bill.

02:04 PM
-- Paul Cooke, representing the Colorado State Fire Chiefs Association, spoke in support of the bill. He discussed the significant need for training for firefighters. Senator Morse asked about the equipment rebate provision and why it makes sense to shift the cost from the local community to the state.

02:15 PM --
John Singer, representing the Colorado State Fire Fighters Association, spoke in support of the bill. He explained that recruiting and retention of volunteer firefighters is a large problem for local fire departments. He explained that the volunteers require 36 hours of training each year and many departments are not able to provide the training. Senator Newell asked about turnover rates for volunteer firefighters.

02:17 PM --
Rich Homan, representing the Colorado State Forest Service, spoke in support of the bill. He discussed the recruitment and retention problems for volunteer firefighters. Senator Kopp also discussed the responsibility of the state to provide resources for training volunteer firefighters.

02:33 PM

The chair laid the bill over for action at a future committee meeting.