STATEHOUSE – Legislation dealing with mobile disaster relief funding was signed into law today by Governor Mike Pence. Co-authored by state Representative Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville), House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1325 will go into effect on July 1, 2013.
“When a firefighter or first responder reacts to a potentially hazardous situation, the last thing on their mind is money. This new law addresses a situation that occurred in Henryville last year where state firefighters answered the call to provide aid after a massive tornado struck the town. They were not compensated fully for their efforts, and this bill ensures that this does not happen again,” said Rep. Gutwein.
In March of last year, a tornado devastated the Henryville community. Firefighters from across the state responded to help their fellow Hoosiers in need. At that point, there was not a funding mechanism at the state level to pay these first responders for their overtime work.
Consequently, the cost of paying these firefighters’ overtime work fell on the local departments. The additional cost of paying back-up firefighters to replace those who responded to Henryville also fell on the local departments.
HEA 1325 allows that first responders can now be paid by the State Disaster Relief Fund. The law also provides funds for local fire departments to bring in backup firefighters to replace those who left to respond to a disaster.
“Hoosiers are known for their hospitality, and we treat everyone like family,” said Rep. Gutwein. “When communities are in need, our first responders should never have to question whether assistance fits in the budget. This bill ensures that a repayment system is set in place.”
Visit www.in.gov/legislative for more information about HEA 1325.