Shore Lawmakers Move to Block EMT Revision Bill
For the second time in as many legislative sessions, Ocean County's Ninth District delegation lobs a Hail-Mary to knock an EMT revision bill off the Governor's Desk.
The measure (S-1650 / A-2463) would create more stringent qualifications for emergency medical technicians, require biannual testing and create state-level directorships and advisory panels. It's cleared both houses.
Its primary sponsors include state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Senators Joe Vitale (D-19), Herb Conaway (D-7) and Angelica Jimenez (D-32), situated in north, central and south Jersey Democratic strongholds.
State Senator Chris Connors and Assembly members Brian Rumpf and DiAnne Gove (R-9) contend that the measure would place onerous new costs on volunteer EMT and first-aid squads, which are the backbone of Ocean County's initial medical response services.
The costs, they believe, will stem from additional bureaucracy governing the sector, additional training and re-training, licensing fees and regulations.
The end result, they continue, is a thinning of volunteer squads that have thrived in their district and others for scores of years - to say nothing of the impact on property taxes in municipalities that have no reasonable option but to move to paid EMT services.
They maintain that the lawmakers driving the measure are overlooking areas of the state in which volunteer squads thrive, and the impact that the bill will likely have on services.
Ocean County is home to more people over ages 75 and 85 than any other county in the state, many of whom rely on emergency medical technicians and whose fixed incomes stand to be threatened by the higher cost of paid squads.