A Special Report
|Robert K. Sweeney, Chair Sheldon Silver, Speaker September 2003|
The Legislature’s budget included funding for an Expedited Wireless 911 program. This program will dedicate a portion of the revenue from the existing surcharge on wireless phones to support $100 million in grants to help localities upgrade their wireless 911 systems. The grants will help local public safety answering points meet the FCC requirements for determining wireless caller identification and location, requirements commonly referred to as Phase I and Phase II. The Expedited Wireless 911 program is new funding and will supplement the existing $10 million local 911 reimbursement program. The existing State 911 Board will approve local implementation plans and make recommendations to the Dormitory Authority, which will award the grants.
Scholarships for Volunteer Firefighters/Ambulance Workers
One scholarship per volunteer organization is available for part or full-time study in an approved post-secondary degree program. The program is administered by the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).
Organizations are responsible for establishing local eligibility guidelines beyond those required by the program.
Scholarship applications are currently available from local fire and ambulance organizations. Additional information can be found on the HESC web site located at www.hesc.org or by calling 1-888-697-4372.
Supplemental Service Award Programs
Service Award Program Credit
Service Award Program Credit for EMT Classes
Extension of Heart Disease Disability Benefits
Actuarial Involvement in Service Award Programs
Volunteer Firefighter Membership
Volunteer Ambulance Workers Benefits
The funeral expense and death benefit payments of the Volunteer Ambulance Workers’ Benefit Law mirror the provisions of the Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law; however, the provisions of the Firefighters’ Benefit Law have been amended several times since enactment to provide benefit increases. Volunteer ambulance workers last received an increase in 1988. This legislation will provide volunteer ambulance workers with a much-needed benefit increase and re-establish parity with the benefits currently received by volunteer firefighters. This legislation passed the Assembly but the Senate has not yet taken action.
Assemblyman Bob Sweeney participated in the ground-breaking ceremony for the New York State Emergency Medical Services Memorial at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. Sweeney was the Assembly sponsor of legislation establishing the memorial. The memorial will pay tribute to the men and women of New York State’s EMS systems who have made the ultimate sacrifice and given their lives in the line of duty. The memorial is expected to be dedicated in 2004. Pictured (left to right) are New York State Office of General Services Commissioner Ken Ringler, Senator John Bonacic, Assemblyman Sweeney, and Lt. Governor Mary O. Donohue.
New York State Assembly
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