Brothers and Sisters,
As this Session comes to a close, I think there were some definite highs and lows. It was great to spend as much time down at the State House this year as I did. Over the last few years I was only down once or twice a week. This year far exceeded that. It gave me the opportunity to meet and build relationships with lots of new Legislators as well as meet with our Brothers and Sisters from other Labor organizations. I also had the opportunity to work closely with Grant and Shaun. They are great guys and have done a fantastic job.
I tried to keep my legislative updates short, but also failed to not send them out weekly. I will make sure that next Session I am sending them out on a more regular basis. I am happy to say that this year we again avoided an attack on our Collective Barging and our PERSI. Although, the Teachers Union was bombarded with attacks and still are threatened with bad legislation. We met many times with the IEA and hope to support their efforts in the future. A Chairman held our Bill this year, his name is Stephen Hartgen in case anyone forgot. He asked the Industrial Commission to have another hearing on the issue. They as well as I are uncertain why he wants to have that meeting, but we will be in attendance to answer any questions.
On a positive note, we helped in Legislation that redefined what a Firefighter definition is in State Code. This is a benefit to all members that our coming out of Social Security. We worked very closely with the State Controller’s office on this. The other item of legislation in that we supported was the .25 cent tax on cell phones. This helps department’s get communication grants state wide. The last bill that we followed very closely was Personal Property Tax. We continued to tell our legislators that any reduction of money to cities, counties, and fire districts would potentially be devastating to our safety of our citizens. We did help write some legislation regarding the consolidation of Fire Districts.
We had a good turnout of Legislators at the AFL/CIO hospitality night, our hospitality night, and the freshman legislator night out two weeks ago at the Ha’ Penny. I am excited for Fire Ops. We are hoping to have a record turnout of legislators this year. I am excited to start getting more involved with the Labor groups and PERSI this month and throughout the year.
As a final note, thanks for all the support this year! Many of you know that Kelly and I adopted an 8 year old girl three weeks ago, but have been going through the process for almost nine months. I have had huge support from my Local (4553), my department, as well as the PFFI. I have also been blessed with tremendous support from my wife Kelly on taking over as the Executive Vice President. I don’t think this would be possible without her support.