A new bill making its way through the House committees aims to protect volunteer first responders’ day jobs during times of major disasters in Texas.
Manchaca Fire Chief and Executive Director of the State Firefighters and Fire Marshals Association Chris Barron introduced Texas House Bill 2348 on Tuesday to a House Business and Industry Committee hearing, requesting lawmakers take it into consideration.
“Right now there’s this basic fear that, ‘I’m not going to sign up for deployment or I’m not going to sign up to go help others, because what if I get terminated from my job?'” Barron said to KXAN. “ basically bringing the protection that the National Guard has to the Texas firefighters and EMS responders.”
The bill would allow a compromise to permit employers to reduce the first responder’s pay while they are volunteering at natural disasters, as the state pays the volunteers while they’re responding to emergencies.
A similar bill failed in 2007.