New WA Bill Asks Volunteers to Pay to Serve

In Washington state, House Bill 2141 proposes legislation requiring all firefighters to pay a fee for their certification, according to a recent report from MyNorthwest.com.

State Representative Ross Hunter, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, was quoted in the report to say, “It’s one of the 30 or so bills that the governor introduced that are necessary to implement her budget. It’s clearly not a good idea. The questions is, is it a worse idea than some other idea that we would have to implement instead. We’re trying to find the lesser of many evils.

The report states that Fire Chief Alan Predmore from the small town of Buckley, is worried this bill would make it difficult to recruit and retain young volunteers. “It’s like telling them, ‘You can put all of this time into training and you can volunteer all of these services to your community, but only if you’re willing to pay for it.’ There’s something that’s just not right about that.” Predmore said.

Approximately 75 percent of 22,000 firefighters in Washington are volunteers, according to the report, and all would be subject to HB 2141 requiring them to pay for certification.

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