Koch: Firefighter Safety Legislation Passes Senate

(STATEHOUSE) — A bill authored by State Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) that would improve Hoosier firefighters’ health and safety recently passed the Senate unanimously.

State Sen. Eric Koch

Senate Bill 258 would require the Board of Firefighting Personnel Standards and Education to establish best practices to improve safety and health outcomes for firefighters. In recognition of the safer work environments created by the adoption of the best practices, SB 258 would also authorize the Worker’s Compensation Rating Bureau to provide a premium or rate discount on worker’s compensation insurance to political subdivisions and volunteer fire departments that implement the best practices.

The legislation also authorizes the board of trustees of the Indiana Public Retirement System to discount payments to the 1977 Police Officers’ and Firefighters’ Fund by political subdivisions that implement the best practices.

If enacted, the legislation would also create the Best Practices Fund for the purpose of providing matching grants to political subdivisions and volunteer fire departments to purchase equipment and other gear so they may implement the best practices.

The Indiana Fire Chiefs Association, the Professional Firefighters Union of Indiana, and the Indiana Volunteer Firefighters Association all testified in support of SB 258 when it was heard in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Transportation.

This legislation now moves to the full House of Representatives for further consideration.

For more information on Senate Bill 258, visit https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2020/bills/Senate/258

Sen. Koch, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, serves Senate District 44, which includes all or parts of Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson, Lawrence, and Monroe counties.