(Austin) - Despite contentious negotiations on other bills during this Special Session, there is overwhelming bipartisan support for appropriating existing funds out of the Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Fund for training and equipping volunteer firemen.
Since their filing on June 14, just 6 days ago, HB 70 and HB 73 by Representative David Simpson (R-Longview) have garnered a remarkable 120 and 116 authors each, respectively.
"86% of our state's fire departments are either volunteer or combination volunteer and paid," said Simpson. "With wildfire season upon us in the middle of a drought, it is a necessity for us to provide proper training and equipment to the brave men and women who will be fighting those fires."
Governor Rick Perry recognized the urgency of the situation this week when he renewed the drought emergency declaration, saying: "These drought conditions have reached historic levels and continue to pose an imminent threat to public health, property and the economy."
Simpson continued, "The House evidently agrees with the Governor — given the dire conditions, Texas needs to make immediate preparations for defending our homes and property from fires. We respectfully ask the Governor to add appropriations for the VFD Assistance Fund to the Special Session call."
Representative Simpson has the privilege of serving House District 7, which is comprised of Gregg and Upshur Counties.