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The APFF Convenes at Little Rock to Lobby for Fire Safety, Fair Working Conditions
Updated On: May 28, 2014
FEB 25, 2013 - The Arkansas Professional Fire Fighters met today at the Arkansas State Capitol.
Over 50 members of the APFF, representing municipal fire fighters from all corners of the state, rallied today at the Capitol to lobby for issues affecting fire safety and fair employment of the profession.
One of the key issues has been the introduction of a Bill to amend a portion of the Arkansas Code regarding Worker's Compensation claims for mental injuries. Under the current state law, Worker's Compensation claims for mental injuries can only be made when they include physical injuries. The current understanding of stress-related mental issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder makes clear their need for treatment as serious life- and work-affecting injuries in their own right, outside of the scope of physical injuries.
Arkansas State Senator Jon Woods (R) has recognized this need and stepped up to sponsor the Mental Injury/Illness Bill. It is due to be filed in the next few days, and will then go to the House and Senate committees for review.
There are other issues that the APFF has brought to the 2013 Legislation.
HB1280, amending a loophole in a previous Act that prohibited the sale of certain novelty lighters, added "grill lighters" to the defined list. The potential for these lighters to be seen and used as toys by children is an issue that has hopefully been resolved. HB1280 has passed both the Senate and the House, and is on it's way to the Governor for signature.
HB1392 establishes a timeframe for Civil Service Commissions to certify promotional listings. Currently, there is no established timeframe. If passed, this Bill will set the certification period to 90 days after the completion of testing. HB1392 has cleared the House of Representatives and is now on it's way to the Senate for committee review.
HB1481 (the Firefighter Vacation Equalization Bill) will clarify a discrepancy regarding interpretation of the "work day" with respect to firefighters' vacations. A few municipalities have treated the firefighter 24-hour shift as three work days in this interpretation, which results in firefighters recieving less than 3 weeks vacation per year, as the law intended. Public Safety employees recieving the same "15 days" vacation per year get the full 3 weeks. The amendment will change the 15-day rule to "three calendar weeks" which will clear up the discrepancy. This Bill is currently filed and on its way to the Senate and House committees.
The Arkansas Professional Fire Fighters Association continues to work toward improving the working conditions of firefighters throughout the state; this in turn improves the quality of service provided to the public.