Bills To Support New Mexico’s Firefighters Advance

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Bills To Support New Mexico’s Firefighters Advance

SANTA FE – Two bills to provide support for New Mexico’s firefighters have passed the House Labor, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee.

House Bill 324, sponsored by Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-Albuquerque), would amend the Occupational Disease and Disablement Law to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions that are presumed to be caused by a firefighter’s employment.

House Bill 512, sponsored by Rep. Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez (D-Bayard), Rep Anthony Allison (D-Fruitland), Rep. Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces), Rep. Willie Madrid (D-Chaparral) and Rep. Harry Garcia (D-Grants), would amend the Volunteer Firefighter Retirement Act to allow a one-year period for a volunteer firefighter to claim an earned service credit for one or more years of service.

“Our firefighters are on the front lines every day protecting our communities,” Rep. Melanie Stansbury said. “As they are responding to emergencies and traumatic experiences, they are subjected to a tremendous amount of stress — and face PTSD rates similar to that of our military personnel. This bill will help our first responders get the care they need as they are serving our communities, and I am ecstatic that it will head to the House Floor in the coming days with bipartisan support.”

“This bill is critical for our volunteer firefighters who work hard to protect our communities,” Rep. Rudy Martinez said. “Allowing volunteer firefighters to obtain retirement assistance honors the support they have given to our state, and ensures that we can continue to have a strong volunteer firefighter program.”

House Bill 324 now moves to the House Floor for consideration. House Bill 512 moves to the House Local Government, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee for consideration.