Two Exum bills to protect firefighters and our most vulnerable headed to Gov’s Desk

(May 2) – The House sent two bipartisan bills sponsored by Rep. Tony Exum to the Governor’s desk.

“As a former battalion chief, we often used the material during training and this toxic material increased the health concerns of my fellow firefighters,” said Rep. Exum, D-Colorado Springs. “When we used this material, it would frequently contaminate the drinking water of the surrounding communities. It’s past-time we do something to protect our courageous firefighters who fight for us and protect the health of people in our communities.”

HB19-1279 was unanimously approved. The bill will protect firefighters from the dangerous impacts of the manmade Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFA) which they use on a daily basis.

PFA substances are used to battle high-heat fires. The EPA has deemed this material toxic as it stays in the body for two to seven years upon exposure. HB19-1279 would prohibit the use of PFA during firefighting training exercises and includes a fine for compliance failure. The money collected from these fines would go to the Local Firefighters Safety and Disease Prevention Fund.

Finally, it also created the Firefighters Foams and Personal Protection Equipment Act which prohibits the use of PFAs, requires companies to inform consumers if their equipment has been treated with this hazardous material, and requires the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) to conduct surveys to learn if any stations are using this material.

Rep. Tony Exum’s bill to expand the benefits and eligibility for the Property, Tax, Rent, Heat Credit program (PTC Rebate) is also headed to the Governor’s desk.

“This program helps keep some of Colorado’s most vulnerable families and individuals warm and secure in their own homes.  This program can help keep people safe and potentially save a life when temperatures plummet,” Rep. Exum  said.

This program, within the Department of Revenue, provides property tax, rental, fuel and heat assistance to seniors over the age of 65, those with disabilities and surviving spouses over the age of 58. This bill expands these benefits and eligibility for the PTC rebate program. The bill passed the House last session but was blocked in the previously Republican-controlled Senate.

HB19-1085 passed with a bipartisan vote of 43-20. The bill was approved in the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 29-6.

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