April 22, 2010 (San Diego) – Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) announced today that her legislation to generate new funding for emergency response equipment and personnel passed two Senate committees.
Senate Bill 1258 would create a 4.8 percent fee on home and commercial insurance policies that would be used for purchasing fire trucks, ambulances, fire fighting helicopters, and hiring more firefighters and other emergency responders.
The funds would be deposited in a designated account and could be used only for state and local emergency response.
The bill is intended to reduce billions of dollars in state budget deficits that follow catastrophic emergencies. SB 1258 would apply to insurance policies issued or renewed after July 1, 2010.
“Given that much of California is at risk at one time or another of mudslides, floods, earthquakes, wildfires or other disasters, it only makes sense to ask all property owners to help pay for the emergency services we use every year,” Kehoe said. “SB 1258 will help protect the public during future disasters and the committees recognize and support the need to bolster emergency response funding today.”
The Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee passed the bill 6-2 on April 21 and the Senate Governmental Organization Committee passed the measure 7-1 on April 13. Kehoe’s bill enjoys the support of Governor Schwarzenegger, the California Fire Chiefs Association, the California Professional Firefighters, and the Fire Districts Association of California.