HARRISBURG – The number of volunteer first responders in Pennsylvania has declined from approximately 300,000 in the 1970’s to less than 37,000 today.
For state Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Elk/Clearfield), it’s a matter of recruit, retain and respect.
“In those three elements lies the solution to our emergency responder crisis both statewide and nationally,” Gabler said. “They are also the basis for the ‘Heroes and Helpers’ package of legislation the House is considering this week and next.”
One of Gabler’s contributions to the effort is House Bill 1705, which passed unanimously Tuesday and may now be taken up in the Senate.
“House Bill 1705 would give school districts the option of offering a property tax credit for volunteer first responders,” Gabler added.
“It is one way we can say thank you to the men and women who make sacrifices for our communities and often put their lives on the line in the name of public safety.”
The bill is one of several Gabler has had a hand in advancing through the legislative process as a first-time member of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.
“I worked hard to join this committee because of how vital an issue this is in rural areas of the state like the one I represent,” said Gabler.
“My hope is that our Senate colleagues realize how critical these bills are and quickly move them to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.”
Questions about this legislation or any state-related matter may be directed to Gabler’s DuBois office at 814-375-4688, his St. Marys office at 814-781-6301 or his Clearfield office at 814-765-0593.