MORRIS COUNTY — Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi and Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco allowing local emergency volunteers to continue serving their communities without fear of losing their state pension was signed today by Governor Phil Murphy.
For more than two years, Schepisi has fought to resolve an interpretation of IRS code requiring retiring police officers, teachers and government employees to stop volunteering when they retire from their public jobs.
“Volunteers and communities they serve have been in a state of limbo due to inconsistent opinions from the pension board,” said Schepisi (R-Bergen). “This law protects the dedicated men and women who are the lifeblood of our communities and it protects residents who are dependent on the round-the-clock emergency response they provide. Volunteer firefighters, EMTs and first-responders will no longer be risking their pensions when they respond to an emergency.”
Seventy-five percent of fire departments are all-volunteer in New Jersey, and 18 percent have paid and volunteer responders. There are 579 volunteer fire departments in the state and 49 career fire departments. The volunteers often hold paying jobs with local municipalities.
“Our hard-working volunteers protect lives and property 24 hours a day, seven days a week without compensation or complaint,” said Bucco (R-Morris), a 38-year member of the Boonton Volunteer Fire Department. “Their volunteer service saves millions of tax dollars for our residents and the State. This new law finally allows them to continue to serve their communities without the fear of financial penalty.”
The new law is also sponsored by Assemblymen Robert Auth and John DiMaio.