|4/20/2011 1:32:00 PM|
Nugent bill oks first responders to assist neighboring states
Indiana's House of Representatives voted 91-0 Tuesday in favor of a bill allowing state and local units of government in Indiana to enter into agreements with counterparts in neighboring states, so first responders can assist across state lines when emergencies arise, State Sen. Johnny Nugent said.
"Today's vote on Senate Bill 6 brings us one step closer to assisting our dedicated emergency responders who devote their lives to serving others," Nugent (R-Lawrenceburg) said. "Communities in our state are already entering into mutual-aid agreements with neighboring cities and towns. It's important for border counties like Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio and Union to receive and provide this similar benefit, allowing them to call on Ohio responders in emergency situations."
Nugent said fire chiefs from Indiana and surrounding states developed the concept for rendering mutual aid and helped promote this effort. The Indiana Fire Chiefs Association, Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) and Professional Firefighters Association support the proposal.
"This is essential to protect firefighters and other emergency personnel and their families when state lines are crossed to respond to nearby emergencies," said Thomas Hanify, president of the Professional Fire Fighters Union of Indiana.
Nugent said similar legislative initiatives will be pursued in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio while efforts to involve Kentucky are ongoing. He said the legislation will become even more effective as more states pass similar laws.
George Thompson, general legal counsel for IDHS, said Indiana is setting a great example for neighboring states to follow.
SB 6 can now be signed into law by the governor.
Nugent is in his ninth term as a state senator for District 43, which includes Bigger, Campbell, Center, Columbia, Geneva, Sand Creek and Vernon townships in Jennings County. The district also encompasses Dearborn, Ohio, Ripley and Union counties, and part of Franklin.
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