SEPTEMBER 11, 2013

Rep. Pierce to hold meeting on Speaker Tobin’s proposals regarding coverage for first responders

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STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – At 1:30 p.m. on September 17, State Representative Justin Pierce (R-Dist. 25) will hold a special meeting of the House Public Safety, Military & Regulatory Affairs Committee to discuss the state’s role in providing catastrophic coverage for the uncovered members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots as well as how to provide similar coverage for all Arizona first responders in the event of future disasters. The meeting was called in response to legislative language proposed by House Speaker Andy Tobin (R-Dist. 1).

Laying out the necessity for legislative action, Speaker Tobin stated, “The aftermath of the Yarnell Hill fire revealed the extreme vulnerability that Arizona communities are facing when it comes to the costs of first responder liabilities. I am confident that Chairman Pierce and the members of his committee will develop the necessary solutions to account for the needs of the uncovered Granite Mountain Hotshots, as well those of any future Arizona first responders.”

As part of the collaborative effort to find solutions to the challenges laid out by Speaker Tobin, representatives from the offices of the Arizona State Retirement System (A.S.R.S.) as well as the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System of Arizona (P.S.P.R.S.) will attend the meeting. The specific legislative priorities Speaker Tobin highlighted are as follows:

To reimburse any first responder entities who fought the Yarnell Hill Fire.
To provide financial assistance to the community of Yarnell for infrastructure repairs.
To cover the City of Prescott’s liability in the Death Benefit coverage for the 6 of the 13 uncovered Hotshots in P.S.P.R.S.
To fund the amount the other 13 Hotshots would have received if they were participating in P.S.P.R.S.
To prospectively allow part time first responders to participate in P.S.P.R.S.
To create a related Arizona State Income Tax deduction option on all A-4 forms.
To require P.S.P.R.S. to purchase catastrophic insurance to cover the liability of any future disaster.  

Encouraged by the support he has received, Representative Pierce stated, “I could not be more proud of the genuine desire of my house colleagues to resolve this pressing issue facing the surviving family members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. With the help of my fellow legislators, I fully intend to produce language that will ensure that they and all Arizona first responders will benefit from the coverage we develop.

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