– State Rep. Jim Rigby (R-Johnstown), a former volunteer firefighter and police chief, has firsthand knowledge of the sacrifices made by our firefighters and emergency medical service (EMS) providers.
“These men and women, many of whom have full-time jobs, volunteer to put their lives on the line for us,” Rigby said. “We owe them a debt of gratitude and the package of legislation we advanced to the Senate is the beginning of the effort to show them the respect they’ve earned.”
Rigby is referring to a series of “Heroes and Helpers” bills that was approved by the House over the last two weeks.
“As someone who’s been on the front lines with these first responders, it is an honor to have been part of the legislative process when these bills began their ‘journey’ through the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, of which I am a member,” added Rigby. “I hope my Senate colleagues act quickly and move them to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk for his signature.”
In addition to voting for these bills at the committee level, Rigby successfully amended a piece of legislation to make tuition assistance more available for active volunteers.
“It was a pleasure to work with my Indiana County colleague, state Rep. Jim Struzzi, who authored House Bill 1773,” said Rigby. “We both agreed to slightly relax the participation requirement for volunteers who are attending school AND serving with a fire company or EMS agency.”
The 16-bill package ranges in subject from recruiting and retention tools to expanded online training opportunities to legislation that gives fire companies more flexibility with grant money.
“Fire companies must ‘use it or lose it’ where grant money is concerned,” commented Rigby. “We sent the Senate a bill that would allow fire companies to bank their grant money for up to five years, enabling them to apply these funds toward larger projects.”
Questions about this or any legislative issue should be directed to Rigby’s district office by calling 814-536-9818.
Representative Jim Rigby
71st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott B. Little
717.260.6137 (office), 717.497.5967 (cell)