ASSEMBLY, No. 1668

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2014 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  GORDON M. JOHNSON

District 37 (Bergen)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Designated Kevin Apuzzio’s Law; allows municipalities to provide increased survivor pensions for certain volunteer emergency workers and requires municipalities to provide health and life insurance coverage to volunteer firefighters.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act increasing certain volunteer emergency workers’ survivor pensions, providing health and life insurance to volunteer firefighters, designated as Kevin Apuzzio’s Law, and amending N.J.S.40A:10-29, N.J.S.40A:10-30, P.L.1957, c.168, and P.L.1983, c.383.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    N.J.S.40A:10-29 is amended to read as follows:

     40A:10-29.  In addition to the insurance required under chapter 15 of Title 34 of the Revised Statutes, a municipality maintaining a volunteer fire department, or in which there are one or more incorporated volunteer fire companies whose members  have or shall form themselves into a group or groups for the purpose of  obtaining a group life insurance plan with any insurance company authorized to do business in New Jersey, [may] shall appropriate moneys to defray the cost of such  insurance and pay the premiums therefor.

     A municipality shall [not] undertake the cost [nor] and pay the premiums on [any] a policy of group life insurance to benefit all its volunteer firefighters. [where the] The amount payable upon the death of each [assured exceeds the amount of $25,000] insured volunteer firefighter shall be $250,000.

     A municipality shall also undertake the reasonable costs for the burial and funeral costs upon the death of an insured volunteer firefighter.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.220, s.2)

 

     2.    N.J.S.40A:10-30 is amended to read as follows:

     40A:10-30.  In addition to the insurance required pursuant to the provisions of chapter  15 of Title 34 of the Revised Statutes and the coverage provided in N.J.S.40A:10-29, a municipality maintaining a volunteer fire department or in which there are one or more incorporated volunteer fire companies [may] shall:

     a.    Effect and maintain group health, accident and accidental death and dismemberment, hospitalization, medical, surgical, major medical expenses[, or health and accident] insurance with any insurance company authorized to do business in New Jersey, or with a nonprofit hospital service or medical service corporation with respect to the benefits which they are authorized to provide[, which is determined to be necessary or desirable for the protection, safety and welfare of the members of the volunteer fire department or the members of the incorporated volunteer fire companies]; and

     b.    Effect and maintain a contract or contracts to provide drug prescription  or other health care benefits [which is determined to be necessary or desirable] for the protection, safety and welfare of the members of the volunteer fire  department or members of an incorporated volunteer fire company[;].

     c.    [In the discretion of the governing body of the municipality, appropriate  and pay all or any portion of the cost of such insurance or contract or both.] (Deleted by amendment, P.L.  , c.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

(cf: N.J.S.40A:10-30)

 

     3.    Section 2 of P.L.1957, c.168 (C.43:12-28.2) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    A survivor's pension granted under section 1 of P.L.1957, c.168 (C.43:12-28.1) shall be for the sum of (a) [$15,000] $30,000 annually and shall be paid  to the widow, during her widowhood, or to the child or children of such firefighter, emergency medical technician, or first aid or rescue squad worker, if he leaves no surviving widow, or to such child or children after the death of such widow, (b) [$10,000] $20,000 annually and shall be paid  to the child or children of such firefighter, emergency medical technician, or first aid or rescue squad worker, if the surviving widow remarries, or (c) [$5,000] $10,000 annually and shall be paid to the parent or parents of such firefighter, emergency medical technician, or first aid or rescue squad worker, if he leaves no surviving widow or child  As used in this section, the terms "widow" and "widowhood" shall also include "widower" and "widowerhood" respectively.

(cf: P.L.2002, c.134, s.2)

 

     4.    Section 12 of P.L.1983, c.383 (C.52:27D-203) is amended to read as follows:

     12.  a.  Each enforcing agency in this State shall enforce this act in all buildings, structures and premises within its jurisdiction, except owner-occupied buildings used exclusively for dwelling purposes and containing fewer than three dwelling units, subject to the control and supervision of the commissioner and in accordance with regulations promulgated by the commissioner.  The commissioner shall consult with and advise all local enforcement agencies enforcing the provision of this act, and each local enforcement agency shall provide the commissioner with reports, data and information required by the commissioner.  To cover the cost to the municipality of conducting inspections under this act, the municipality may, by ordinance, establish fees, which shall be paid into the treasury of the municipality to which the local enforcing agency is responsible, and which shall be appropriated by the municipality to the local enforcing agency to pay the cost of enforcing this act.

     b.    A local enforcing agency consisting of or employing at least one paid fire inspector who is certified pursuant to subsection c. of this section may elect to inspect high-rise structures and life hazard uses within its jurisdiction, in lieu of inspection by the commissioner.  That election shall be made by resolution of the governing body having jurisdiction over the local enforcing agency.  If an appropriate resolution has not been received by the commissioner on or before the effective date of this act, the department shall perform all inspections under this subsection until such time as the governing body shall adopt and send to the commissioner an appropriate resolution.  A local enforcing agency that elects to inspect high-rise structures and life hazard uses may issue the certificates of inspection required to be issued pursuant to section 14 of this act and may inspect buildings and premises other than high-rise structures and life hazard uses in order to secure compliance  with this act.

     c.    The commissioner shall certify fire inspectors under this act in accordance with such standards as he shall establish by regulation; provided that a fire inspector certificate shall be issued by the commissioner to any person who:  on the effective date of this act is, and for at least one year prior to the effective date of this act has been, serving as a fire inspector in the fire service;  or shall have, within two years of the effective date of this act, successfully completed an educational program such as the basic fire prevention code course offered by the Building Officials and Code Administrators International or a recognized equivalent, a fire prevention course offered by an institution of higher education or recognized fire school which has been approved by the commissioner.

     d.    In order to cover the cost to the municipality of providing survivor pensions under section 3 of P.L.    , c.   (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), and insurance or other benefits provided to volunteer firefighters under sections 1 and 2 of P.L.    , c.   (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the municipality may, by ordinance, establish an additional $1 surcharge for each inspection for which a fee is charged pursuant to subsection a. of this section.  Funds raised from the $1 surcharge shall be paid into the treasury of the municipality to which the local enforcing agency is responsible.

(cf: P.L.1983, c.383, s.12)

 

     5.    This act shall take effect immediately.


STATEMENT

 

     This bill, designated Kevin Apuzzio’s Law, would double the pension amounts that a municipality is permitted to pay to certain beneficiaries of volunteer firefighters, first aid workers, rescue squad workers, and emergency medical technicians, who die as the result of injuries sustained while performing their duties.

     This bill would also require municipalities served by volunteer fire companies to provide volunteer firefighters with health insurance, carry a $250,000 life insurance policy for each volunteer firefighter, and pay the reasonable expenses for the burial or funeral of an insured firefighter.  Municipalities may raise funds to provide these benefits to volunteer firefighters by establishing a $1 surcharge for each fire code inspection in the municipality.