LOSAP bill would create financial benefits program for volunteer firefighters

Volunteer firefighters may get financial boost from Mississippi Legislature
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 2:45 AM CST
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COLLINS, Miss. (WDAM) - A bill in the Mississippi House would set up a new financial benefits program for volunteer firefighters in the state.

If passed, House Bill 521 would establish the Mississippi Length of Service Award Program.

LoSAP would create a points system and allow volunteer firefighters to receive annual incentive payments of $500.

That money would remain in individual accounts and after 20 years would be awarded in a lump sum, including interest earned.

Points would be awarded each year based on the firefighter’s participation in training courses, drills and other duties.

“Per the bill, 521, the funds will come from the fire insurance premium tax, there’s a diversion that comes out of that, which the fire rebate funds are provided to the counties and municipalities and these would be funds that would come from that same fire insurance premium tax that’s already in place,” said John Pope, chief of the Collins Fire Department and president of the Mississippi Firefighters Association.

“It’s not a new tax, it’s dollars that are already there and this is just basically putting some of those dollars to work for this program.”

Currently, more than 9,000 volunteer firefighters serve in Mississippi.

“This is a very small thing we can do as a state with dollars that are there that we can put to work to be able to maintain our firefighting force and also to enhance it by having more volunteers,” Pope said.

House Bill 521 is currently in the appropriations and insurance committees.

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