Gov Christie Blocks Emergency Medical Services Bill
New Jersey’s 9th District Delegation remains cautiously optimistic about the Governor’s decision to conditionally veto a bill that would require all Emergency Medical Responders to undergo more advanced training and meet more stringent qualifications.
State Senator Chris Connors and Assembly Members Brian Rumpf and Dianne Gove have long opposed bill A-2095/S-818, saying the onerous rules would essentially put an end to volunteer Emergency Medical Services Organizations in the State leaving only paid first responders. “We’re just saying that this is not the right time to be adding on these requirements which drive up the cost and thin the ranks of volunteers. We should be doing just the opposite actually by trying to encourage more people to volunteer.”
Connors doesn’t buy arguments that this bill is a back door way for towns to fill their dwindling budgets. However, he agrees municipal budgets could reap additional funding as a result of having paid Medical responders. Connors gives authors of the bill the benefit of the doubt and says “while the intention perhaps may be to make sure that we have sophisticated service at the emergency level, the fact that of the matter is, if we price ourselves out of it then we’re actually going backwards.”
Connors says there’s something else to consider. “Our other concern frankly is that once we replace volunteer service with paid service, is that they’ll begin to unionize and that they’ll cost more money and more money and then the taxpayers are going to wind up getting a bill that they can’t afford.”
Lawmakers haven’t seen the recommendations laid out in the Governor’s conditional veto. Connors says they’re getting a copy of the Governor’s conditional veto message.
Bill A-2095/S-818, passed in both houses of the Legislature and could be signed into to law if the Legislature were to concur with the Governor’s recommendations.