HOUSE BILL 238
55th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2021
Gail Armstrong and Nathan P. Small
RELATING TO PUBLIC FINANCE; INCREASING TRANSFERS FROM THE FIRE PROTECTION FUND TO THE FIRE PROTECTION GRANT FUND; PROVIDING THAT THE FIRE PROTECTION GRANT FUND SHALL NOT REVERT AT THE END OF A FISCAL YEAR; REMOVING THE REQUIREMENT THAT STIPENDS FOR VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS BE PROVIDED ONLY IN UNDERSERVED AREAS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. 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 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  2022, periodic allotments [not to exceed forty and two-tenths percent of] equaling the total 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."
SECTION 2. Section 59A-53-18 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2006, Chapter 103, Section 7, as amended) is amended to read:
"59A-53-18. FIRE PROTECTION GRANT FUND--CREATED--USES.--The "fire protection grant fund" is created in the state treasury. The fund shall consist of transfers, distributions, appropriations, gifts, grants, donations and bequests made to the fund. Income from the fund shall be credited to the fund, and money in the fund shall not revert or be transferred to [the general] any other fund at the end of a fiscal year. Money in the fund is appropriated to the fire protection grant council for the purposes of making distributions approved by the council for the critical needs of municipal fire departments and county fire districts. Expenditures from the fund shall be made on warrant of the secretary of finance and administration pursuant to vouchers signed by the marshal."
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. The council consists 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 fire services council, who shall serve at the pleasure of the council;
(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. 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.
C. The council shall develop criteria for assessing the critical needs of municipal fire departments and county fire districts 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].
D. Applications for grant assistance from the fire protection grant fund shall be made by 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.
E. In awarding grant assistance, the council may require conditions and procedures necessary to ensure that the money is expended in the most prudent manner.
F. When considering applications for grant assistance to pay stipends to volunteer firefighters [in underserved areas], the council shall:
[(1) define "underserved area";
(2)] (1) 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)] (2) require a basic level of training before a volunteer may receive a stipend;
[(4)] (3) consider whether the fire district requires a service commitment from its volunteer firefighters in exchange for stipends; and
[(5)] (4) weight the applications against other criteria or requirements determined by the council."
SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2021.
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