Senator Baldwin Tours Germann Road Fire; Announces New Volunteer Firefighter Legislation

By KBJR News 1

Senator Baldwin Tours Germann Road Fire; Announces New Volunteer Firefighter Legislation

May 29, 2013 Updated May 29, 2013 at 12:55 PM CDT

Barnes, WI (NNCNOW.com) --- After touring the remains of the Germann Road Fire in Barnes, WI, Senator Tammy Baldwin has announced co-sponsorship of legislation what would support volunteer firefighters.

Senator Baldwin toured the damage and recovery efforts on Sunday and met with local officials and volunteers first responders from Douglas County, and the Towns of Highland, Gordon, Wascott and Barnes.

“I am so proud of the response by first responders and local officials to this devastating fire. Their commitment to public service and the idea of neighbor helping neighbor is inspiring,” Baldwin said, “It was great to have an opportunity to thank them for their efforts on behalf of their community, many of them volunteer first responders who selflessly answer the call to duty every day.”

Senator Baldwin has now signed on as a co-sponsor of the Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Re-authorization Act and the Volunteer Emergency Services Recruitment and Retention Act.

Both measures would clarify how volunteer benefits are taxed, making it easier for local agencies and governments to establish and administer incentive programs to bolster recruitment and retention efforts of volunteer first responders, particularly in small towns and rural areas of Wisconsin.

“This legislation recognizes the critical role volunteer first responders play in our communities, particularly in small, rural towns in Wisconsin,” Baldwin said, “These tax and pension reform measures will help create incentives and strengthen our recruitment and retention efforts for volunteer first responders.”

The Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Reauthorization Act extends an income tax exemption on certain benefits that volunteer emergency responders receive as a reward for their service.

The Volunteer Emergency Services Recruitment and Retention Act simplifies how volunteer pensions are taxed and eliminates burdensome and confusing IRS requirements that make it unnecessarily difficult for departments to administer plans and for first responders to receive benefits.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns