Revamped Firefighter Bill Passes House

(April 19) – The Colorado Firefighter Safety Act passed the House today by a vote of 35 to 28.

SB13-025, sponsored in the House by Rep. Angela Williams (D-Denver), has been significantly overhauled from its previous version that passed the Senate on Feb. 5 by a vote of 19 to 15.

The new form addresses concerns of the governor’s office and other groups by establishing procedures for firefighters if they choose to meet and confer with their employers over safety, equipment and non-compensatory matters. The bill also prohibits strikes and allows firefighters to participate off duty in the political process like any other citizen of the state, without discrimination, intimidation or retaliation. Lastly, the bill maintains local control by establishing a ballot process for local control relating to full collective bargaining between firefighters and their employers and lays out an impasse process that retains local control in the hands of voters.

“Our first priority should be the safety of firefighters who risk their lives for our safety all too often,” Rep. Williams said. “This bill gives firefighters a voice while maintaining local control for our communities.”

The bill continued to change throughout the process. During second reading, it was also amended to exclude municipalities that have an existing collective bargaining and impasse provision in their charters, and to add a requirement that five percent of electors in a jurisdiction must sign a petition for a measure to be included on a ballot in the next regular election.

The bill now goes back to the Senate for consideration of House amendments.

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