FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Joe Dorman
Capitol: (405) 557-7305
House OKs Dorman Bill to Assist Firefighter Training
OKLAHOMA CITY – Under legislation passed today by the Oklahoma House of Representatives, volunteer firefighters would be eligible for two new levels of tax credits for the training they receive.
Current Oklahoma law allows firefighters to earn one of two tax credits for the training they receive. House Bill 3123, by state Rep. Joe Dorman and state Sen. Mike Schulz, would create a system of four levels of tax credits.
“I worked with fire service officials over the fall to find out if the tax credits we currently offer do enough to incentivize training that will help small fire departments better protect their communities,” Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said. “Two additional levels of tax credits were suggested as well as changes to our current tax credits. The legislation will ensure firefighters are encouraged to earn the necessary skills to perform at their upmost level and better protect rural Oklahomans.”
To qualify for a $200 tax credit, a volunteer firefighter would have to complete 12 hours towards either Volunteer Firefighting Practices or State Support Firefighter.
To qualify for the $300 tax credit, a volunteer firefighter would be required to have completed their Volunteer Firefighting Practices or State Support Firefighter training and complete an additional six hours of a State Basic Firefighter, State Firefighter, or any internationally accredited Firefighter I program.
To qualify for the $400 tax credit, a volunteer firefighter would be required to have completed their Volunteer Firefighting Practices of State Support Firefighter training and complete an additional six hours of a State Intermediate Firefighter or any internationally accredited Firefighter I program.
To qualify for the $500 tax credit, a volunteer firefighter would need to complete their Firefighter I certification and complete an additional six hours of credit towards training identified and approved by a local fire chief.
The legislation also allows a Fire Service Stakeholder Group to identify equivalent, out-of-state programs that would qualify. A local fire chief could also identify training necessary for the protection of a specific community for which a volunteer firefighter could receive the tax credits.
Various fire service organizations were present for the passage of the legislation, including the State Fire Marshall’s office, the Oklahoma Firefighter’s Association, the Oklahoma Fire Chief’s Association, Oklahoma State University Fire Service Training, the Oklahoma Career Technology Centers, the Council on Fire Training, and volunteer fire chiefs from around the state.
“Each of these groups helped draft this legislation and provided invaluable input to better provide tax credits and appropriate training for volunteer firefighters around the state,” Dorman said. “We want to make sure the training is the best available and actually fits the needs of volunteer firefighters if they are going to go to this extra effort.”
House Bill 3123 passed unanimously by a 87-0 vote and now heads to the Senate for consideration.