HOUSE BILL 191
54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2020
Gail Armstrong and Rebecca Dow and Jack Chatfield and
David M. Gallegos and Roberto "Bobby” J. Gonzales
RELATING TO VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS; INCREASING TRANSFERS FROM THE FIRE PROTECTION FUND TO THE FIRE PROTECTION GRANT FUND; REQUIRING THE FIRE PROTECTION GRANT COUNCIL TO GRANT A PERCENTAGE OF THE FIRE PROTECTION GRANT FUND FOR RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION PROGRAMS FOR VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS, FOR ASSISTANCE TO VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 59A-52-26 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2013, Chapter 80, Section 1) is amended to read:
"59A-52-26. VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS--STIPEND.--To the extent consistent with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 in order to maintain volunteer status, a volunteer firefighter may be paid a stipend by a public agency to perform the services for which the firefighter volunteered if:
A. the stipend represents only actual expenses for recruitment and retention, reasonable benefits or a nominal fee; and
B. the services are not the same type of services that the volunteer is employed to perform for the same public agency paying the stipend."
SECTION 2. Section 59A-53-5.2 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2007, Chapter 152, Section 1, as amended) is amended to read:
"59A-53-5.2. APPROPRIATIONS AND TRANSFERS FROM THE FIRE PROTECTION FUND.--
A. For each fiscal year, the amount to be distributed by the marshal pursuant to Sections 59A-53-4, 59A-53-5 and 59A-53-5.1 NMSA 1978 is appropriated from the fire protection fund to the [superintendent] public regulation commission for the purpose of making the [following] distributions.
[(1) the total amount to be distributed during the fiscal year pursuant to Sections 59A-53-4, 59A-53-5 and 59A-53-5.1 NMSA 1978;
(2) the total amount of other appropriations from the fire protection fund for the fiscal year;
(3) on June 30, 2017, no distribution shall be made to the fire protection grant fund; and
(4) beginning in fiscal year 2019, periodic allotments not to exceed forty and two-tenths percent of the projected remaining balance in the fire protection fund shall be distributed to the fire protection grant fund.
B. On June 30 of each year, the remaining balance in the fire protection fund shall be transferred to the general fund.]
B. For the purposes of Subsection C of this section, the "remaining balance in the fire protection fund" shall be calculated on June 30 of each year and shall equal the balance of the fund on that date less the sum of:
(1) the total amount to be distributed during the succeeding fiscal year pursuant to Sections 59A-53-4, 59A-53-5 and 59A-53-5.1 NMSA 1978; and
(2) the total amount of other appropriations from the fire protection fund for the succeeding fiscal year.
C. On the following dates, the following percentages of the remaining balance in the fire protection fund shall be transferred from the fire protection fund to the fire protection grant fund:
(1) on June 30, 2020, seventy-three and seven-tenths percent;
(2) on June 30, 2021, eighty and four-tenths percent;
(3) on June 30, 2022, eighty-seven and one-tenth percent;
(4) on June 30, 2023, ninety-three and eight-tenths percent; and
(5) on June 30, 2024, and on each subsequent June 30, one hundred percent."
SECTION 3. Section 59A-53-19 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2006, Chapter 103, Section 8, as amended) is amended to read:
"59A-53-19. FIRE PROTECTION GRANT COUNCIL--DUTIES.--
A. The "fire protection grant council" is created. Subject to the requirements of Subsection B of this section, the council shall consist of:
(1) a representative of the New Mexico municipal league;
(2) a representative of [the] New Mexico [association of] counties;
(3) two members appointed by the public regulation commission who shall serve at the pleasure of the commission;
(4) three members, one from each congressional district, appointed by the governor who shall serve at the pleasure of the governor; and
(5) the marshal, who shall serve as a nonvoting advisory member. The council shall elect a chair and vice chair from its membership.
B. No appointee to the council shall be a member or employee of the public regulation commission or the office of superintendent of insurance.
C. The public members are entitled to receive per diem and mileage as provided in the Per Diem and Mileage Act and shall receive no other compensation, perquisite or allowance.
D. The council shall develop criteria for assessing the critical needs of municipal fire departments and county fire districts or county fire departments for:
(1) fire apparatus and equipment;
(2) communications equipment;
(3) equipment for wildfires;
(4) fire station construction or expansion;
(5) equipment for hazardous material response; and
(6) stipends for volunteer firefighters in underserved areas.
E. In addition to the grants authorized in Subsection D of this section, each fiscal year no less than twenty percent of the money available in the fire protection grant fund shall be used by the council to grant assistance for volunteer firefighter recruitment and retention programs that give priority to underserved areas as determined by the council.
[E.] F. Applications for grant assistance from the fire protection grant fund shall be made by municipal fire departments and county fire districts to the council in accordance with the requirements of the council. Using criteria developed by the council, the council shall evaluate applications and prioritize those applications most in need of grant assistance from the fund. To the extent that money in the fund is available, the council shall award grant assistance for those prioritized applications.
[F.] G. In awarding grant assistance, the council may require conditions and procedures necessary to ensure that the money is expended in the most prudent manner.
[G.] H. When considering applications for grant assistance [to pay stipends to] for recruitment and retention programs for volunteer firefighters in underserved areas, the council shall:
(1) define "underserved area";
(2) ensure the proposed stipends will comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and United States department of labor requirements for maintaining volunteer status;
(3) require a basic level of training before a volunteer may receive a stipend;
(4) consider whether the fire district requires a service commitment from its volunteer firefighters in exchange for stipends; and
(5) weight the applications against other criteria or requirements determined by the council."
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