NVFC Names Senator Mark Warner and Representative Lou Barletta 2014 Legislators of the Year

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is pleased to announce that Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Representative Lou Barletta (R-PA) will be the co-recipients of the Council’s 2014 Legislator of the Year award for their 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 and Barletta introduced identical legislation in the House (H.R. 3979) and Senate (S. 1798), respectively, 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, H.R. 3979 had garnered more than 100 co-sponsors, while 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.

“On behalf of volunteer emergency services agencies across the country, I’d like to thank Senator Warner and Representative Barletta for their 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 the 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 the support of Senator Warner, Representative Barletta, and all of the members of Congress who supported us on this issue.”

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