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Federal Way Fire Chief Al Church keeps an eye on state Legislature
They may not be politicians, but that doesn't mean firefighters at South King Fire and Rescue don't have a vested interest in what goes on at the state Legislature.
The department is watching several bills closely this session, and Chief Al Church testified on Monday about one of them. Church regularly reports back to the board of commissioners on the status of these bills. The board and the department selected these bills to watch when the session started.
• House Bill 1080: This would allow impact fees to be used for all fire protection facilities. This would include fire districts that are part of a city or have had a city annex them and do not currently receive impact fees. This bill was brought back again this year. On Monday morning, Church was chosen to testify on the bill because SKFR is one of the largest fire districts in the state. Church is also the vice president and legislative chair of the Washington Fire Chiefs.
• House Bill 2224 and Sentate Bill 6451: There are currently two bills regarding the installation of residential fire sprinklers. SKFR has promoted fire sprinklers for the past few years, and put together a brief video on the message of sprinkler importance that runs on Federal Way's TV channel 21. The bills would remove barriers that homeowners currently face if they want to install their own fire sprinklers. The bills would create financial incentives for installing residential fire sprinklers and would put money toward educational materials. Those who want to put in a residential fire sprinkler system would not have to pay the fire operations portion of the impact fee. Public water systems would also not be held liable for damages from shutting off water to a residential home with an sprinkler if the shut-off is due to routine maintenance, non-payment or water system emergencies.
• House Bill 2351: This bill would create an additional source of revenue that would be used to create an enhanced 911 system. It would put a tax on switched access lines, radio access lines and interconnected voice-over Internet protocol service lines.
• House Bill 2396: This bill concerns emergency cardiac and stroke care. It would direct the Department of Health, with help from the Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Steering Committee, to address the needs in cardiovascular care. The bill came about after a 2008 report on emergency cardiac and stroke work. This bill has already undergone one revision and is now in the Senate.
• Senate Bill 6846: This is another bill related to 911 services. This bill would impose a state enhanced 911 excise tax on all interconnected voice-over Internet protocol service lines in the state. It would increase the current state and county enhanced 911 excise tax and would revise the duties of the state enhanced 911 coordination office. It also removes the expiration of the enhanced 911 advisory committee.