Reps hear fire, EMS officials’ 2020 priorities

Fire and EMS officials detailed their priorities for the coming legislative session to the state’s bipartisan fire and EMS legislative caucus on Monday, Jan 7. The new legislative session opens in February.

State Rep. Ben McGorty (R-122), who co-chairs the bipartisan caucus, said the caucus has experience in firefighting and emergency medical services issues, which can only aid in pushing beneficial proposals through the legislature.

“With our combined knowledge, and giving firefighters and EMS a voice at the table, we can move legislation forward that benefits our firefighters and EMS and gives them the tools to do their jobs effectively," said McGorty.

“Last session, we were able to pass bipartisan legislation to provide post-traumatic stress disorder benefits to police and firefighters,” said state Rep. Jason Perillo (R-113). “The PTSD legislation that passed was a good first step, but we need to work together to find a way to include all public safety officials. I will be advocating for this to happen during the 2020 session.”

During the meeting, John Carew of the Connecticut State Fire Association said that moving the bonding and funding of the regional fire training schools forward is a priority for the association.

The state representatives said Gov. Ned Lamont promised, in 2018 during his campaign for governor, that he would move the funding forward to build the Valley Fire Training School. Yet, the pair stated that the governor has failed to keep his promise and the ready to build Fire Training School has not moved forward.

McGorty, Perillo and Republican Valley lawmakers have been vocal about the governor not keeping his promise, saying that they will continue to keep the pressure on the governor to move the funding forward for the Valley Fire Training School.