ASSEMBLY HOMELAND SECURITY AND STATE PREPAREDNESS COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

ASSEMBLY JOINT RESOLUTION No. 47

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  DECEMBER 4, 2017

 

      The Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee reports favorably Assembly Joint Resolution No. 47.

      As reported by the committee, Assembly Joint Resolution No. 47 establishes a “Special Task Force on Volunteer Retention and Recruitment” to study and make recommendations for strategies, incentives, and policies for the retention and recruitment of the State’s volunteer first responders to ensure their ranks stabilize and grow in order to adequately service the communities in this State. 

      Specifically, the task force’s charge is to include, but not be limited to, the evaluation of incentives, training and recertification requirements, and the Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) for volunteer first responders.

      The 15-member task force would be comprised of the following members: (1) the Commissioner of Health or a designee, who is to serve ex-officio; (2) the Director of the Office of Emergency Medical Services in the Department of Health or a designee, who is to serve ex-officio; (3) the Director of the Division of Fire Safety in the Department of Community Affairs or a designee, who is to serve ex-officio; (4) a representative of the New Jersey State First Aid Council, appointed by the President of the Senate; (5) a representative of the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association who is a member of an all volunteer fire company, appointed by the President of the Senate; (6) a representative of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly; (7) a representative of the New Jersey Association of Counties, appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly; (8) two public members who are volunteer first responders, appointed by the President of the Senate; (9) a public member who is a member of an all volunteer ambulance, first aid and rescue squad, appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly; (10) a public member who is a member of an all volunteer fire company, appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly; (11) two members of the Senate, who shall not be from the same political party, appointed by the President of the Senate; and (12) two members of the General Assembly, who shall not be from the same political party, appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly.

      The joint resolution requires the task force appointments to be made within 90 days of its effective date.  The committee is to select a chairperson from among its members and the chairperson is required to appoint a secretary.  The chairperson is to call an initial meeting of its members and hold hearings at the times and in the places it deems appropriate and necessary to fulfill its charge.  In addition, the chairperson is required to hold at least one public hearing in the north, central, and southern regions of the State to meet with local volunteer first responders and solicit their input regarding recommendations for retaining and recruiting volunteers.

      Finally, the task force is required to report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature no later than 12 months following the date of the task force’s initial meeting.

      As reported by the committee, Assembly Joint Resolution No. 47 is identical to Senate Joint Resolution No. 23, which also was reported by the committee on this date.

      This bill was pre-filed for introduction in the 2016-2017 session pending technical review.  As reported, the bill includes the changes required by technical review, which has been performed.