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State Firemenís Associationís Key Issue To Become Law

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on July 15, 2006:

Senator Dyson I have written to you about numerous laws that became law in the past few weeks. One bill I was very pleased to push for and get passed was one of the top priorities of the Maryland State Firemenís Association and the Ladies Auxiliary.

In a column a few weeks ago, I informed you that I had just recently attended the Associationís annual convention in Ocean City.

At the convention, Calvert Countyís Doyle Cox did a great job helping to coordinate the various activities that went on during the near week-long event. As one of the few legislators present, I heard a lot of kind words about the passage of House Bill 1668 which created the State Police Helicopter Replacement Fund (SPHRF).

This legislation will help fund the State Police Medevac Transport helicopter thus ensuring that those who need this service when they are at their most vulnerable receive immediate attention. None of us know if we will need the service of the State Police Medevac Transport to help us out in case of an emergency.

This program has saved thousands of lives and is invaluable to the people of Maryland.

I believe this is an excellent bill because it ultimately helps all fire and rescue companies statewide while encouraging road safety. If someone receives points for speeding, drunk driving, road rage or other dangerous driving, they will pay a fine. These dangerous drivers are the only ones who will pay for this program through the fine they will be assessed by their reckless driving.

Fittingly, those that respond to accidents caused by these destructive drivers will ultimately benefit from the penalties that the drivers will have to dole out for their indiscretions.

While the Maryland State Firemenís Association was solidly behind this legislation, the Maryland State Police obviously was very happy with it as well.

The revenues from this bill will help pay for purchase and repair or any other additional maintenance of this life-saving program. It is estimated that the program will raise $2 to $3 million a year.

The Department of State Police could incur potential significant savings over the years of up to 20 percent of the costs for auxiliary helicopter equipment, ground equipment and other helicopter related capital equipment for which it is responsible, according to the billís fiscal note.

This bill did not come easily. It was a reintroduction of legislation that died last year in the House of the Delegates. Thankfully, the Maryland State Firemenís Associations, the Department of Maryland State Police and people like you did not give up!

In addition to many of my constituents who contacted me via-email, postal mail or by phone expressing their support for House Bill 1668, the Maryland State Firemenís Association really did an outstanding job persuading my fellow legislators to vote for this bill. The Associationís new President, Southern Maryland resident Bobby Balta, and another Southern Marylander, Legislative Committee Chair Danny Davis, worked very hard in both the Senate and the House to make sure this legislation passed -- which it did on the final day of the Session. I was pleased to lend my support by rallying my colleagues in the General Assembly to support this program.

House Bill 1668, now Chapter 416 of the Annotated Code of Maryland, received strong, bi-partisan unanimous support. The Senate passed it 39-5 and only one House member voted against it because they understand how important this program is. I was pleased we were able to work with the governor to get this legislation passed as he signed the bill on May 2, less than a month after the adjournment of the General Assembly Session.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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