Snyder: Volunteers deserve break on background clearance fees

Area first responders supporting bill that would provide waivers

JEFFERSON, June 5 – Flanked by area volunteers, state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, today called for prompt action on legislation that would exempt emergency responders from paying fees for state and federal background clearances.

“Pennsylvania relies on volunteer firefighters and emergency responders more than any other state, and we should not jeopardize their crucial service with burdensome fees,” said Snyder at the Jefferson Volunteer Fire Co. station. “We need to be encouraging such contributions to our communities and not placing financial barriers on such sacrifices.”

Snyder said H.B. 1081 would ease the burden of the $47.50 in combined state and federal clearance fees on firefighters and emergency services providers.

“The legislation would exempt firefighters and EMS personnel from the $10 clearances from the state police and state Department of Human Services,” Snyder said. “It also would waive the FBI clearance requirements, which can cost almost $30, if the volunteers have clean records and have been state residents for the last 10 years.”

Snyder noted that rural fire departments and ambulance squads have been struggling to find volunteers to keep their community stations operating.

“We’re fortunate in southwestern Pennsylvania to have a legacy of service from volunteer first responders,” said Snyder, who thanked the representatives of area fire companies and EMS squads attending the news conference in support of the measure. “However, they never should be taken for granted.

“Volunteers save Pennsylvania billions of dollars every year,” Snyder said. “The commonwealth should further recognize the value of volunteers of all types in shaping our communities and remove more barriers to volunteering or seeking a career in public safety.”

House Bill 1081 has garnered bipartisan support and is awaiting consideration in the House Judiciary Committee.