NVFC Names Senator Mark Warner 2014 Legislator of the Year

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is pleased to announce that Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) will receive the Council’s 2014 Legislator of the Year award for his leadership in helping volunteer fire and EMS agencies avoid tax penalties under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or Obamacare) for failing to furnish nominally-compensated volunteer responders with health insurance coverage.

Late last year, Warner introduced the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act (S. 1798) clarifying that volunteer emergency responders, including those who receive nominal recruitment and retention benefits, are not considered employees of the agencies they serve under the PPACA. The NVFC was very concerned about possible penalties for agencies and sent a formal request to the Department of Treasury last September that asked that volunteers be formally exempted from the employer mandate under health care reform.

Within weeks of being introduced, a third of the U.S. Senate had signed onto S. 1798. Since then, the Department of Treasury has published final implementing regulations clarifying that volunteers will not be counted as employees under the PPACA. The regulatory language was very similar to S. 1798 and Treasury referenced input received from members of Congress and those in the volunteer emergency services community as the reason for deciding to exempt volunteers from the employer mandate.

“On behalf of volunteer emergency services agencies across the country, I’d like to thank Senator Warner for his leadership on this critical issue,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “Clarifying that nominally-compensated volunteers will not be treated as employees under health care reform was a top priority for NVFC. Receiving this clarification in the final implementing regulations, which the NVFC asked the Treasury to do last fall, simply would not have happened without Senator Warner’s hard work and support.”

The award presentation is planned to take place in conjunction with the NVFC’s Spring Board Meeting in Alexandria, VA, on May 2-3.