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House Bill 2348 to offer job security for volunteer emergency responders

Posted at 5:25 PM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 21:17:11-04

LAMPASAS, TX — A lot of volunteer emergency responders juggle volunteering with a paid position, however, it's not always easy for them to leave for an emergency without being punished by their employer.

As a Lampasas rancher, in the case of an emergency it is fairly easy for Randy Lake to leave his job and go volunteer for the Lampasas Fire Department.

"I work for myself. So if there's nothing major going on, then I come to the station," said Lake, who volunteers for the station as the assistant fire chief.

However, other volunteer emergency responders who do not have the same flexibility at work, could not say the same.

"It's harder for them... to be able to get loose is the hardest thing," said Lake.

A new bill, introduced in February, hopes to allow volunteer emergency responders to suit up and respond to an emergency without the fear of being penalized by their employer.

If passed, House Bill 2348 would prevent an employer from firing, suspending or in any other manner discriminating against an employee who is late or absent from their job for responding to an emergency.

Lake said it sounds like a good idea.

"We do have several volunteers that work here in town and I think it would help them immensely," said Lake.

The bill is a quarter way through the process of becoming a law.

It was first considered in a public hearing at the end of March and since then it has made it out of the House.