The package included language from a Mastriano measure – Senate Bill 910 – that reauthorizes a popular Fire & EMS grant program.
As a result of the bill’s enactment, the $30-million program is reauthorized through June of 2024.
“There is never enough that the General Assembly can do to thank our first responders, but this program represents goodwill, and shows that we care,” said Mastriano. “It is amazing to me how our heroes are able to stretch these dollars and make such a good use of this program.”
The program is funded via gaming and property tax dollars. Annually, the program has provided up to $14,000 in grants to fire companies, and nearly $7,000 in grants to EMS agencies for a wide variety of projects.
Overall, the package includes more than a dozen different proposals that were recommended in the 2018 Senate Resolution 6 Report to strengthen fire and EMS services in Pennsylvania. The bill contains key provisions including improvements to grant and loan programs for fire companies, new measures to support recruitment and retention of fire personnel and critical changes in the Office of the State Fire Commissioner.
The bill also includes key changes to ensure the Office of the State Fire Commissioner serves as the primary representative for fire services. Under the bill, the Fire Commissioner is responsible for the management of the Fire and EMS Grant Program, the Fire and EMS Loan Program, the Fire Relief Program and the State Fire Academy, as well as serving as chair of the State Fire Advisory Board. The Office of the State Fire Commissioner is also being elevated to a cabinet-level position that must be nominated by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate.
Mastriano is a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, where emergency services bills are vetted, reviewed and discussed.