Mulroe puts firefighers' safety firstState Senator John G. Mulroe is helping Chicago firefighters benefit from money that is supposed to go toward materials and supplies to ensure their safety but often is withheld for other purposes.

“Firefighters risk their lives for us every day, and they should have the tools they need to safely protect our communities,” Mulroe (D-Chicago) said. “After hearing that firefighters in Chicago are dealing with gloves that do not provide the necessary dexterity for them to do their jobs, I knew I had to do something to help them.”

Mulroe fought for funding for Chicago firefighters that every other Illinois municipality benefits from. He helped to advance House Bill 5197, which creates a Foreign Fire Insurance Board in Chicago to control foreign fire insurance funds.

These funds are received through a 2 percent tax on out-of-state fire insurance companies that sell policies in Illinois. The board would use the funding to support maintenance or enhancement of fire stations, training facilities, emergency response vehicles, tools and equipment or to benefit firefighters.

“This newly created board will draw on the knowledge, experience and expertise of the rank-and-file to purchase items that allow them to safely operate in the many hazardous situations they routinely encounter,” said Robert Tebbens, legislative director of Chicago Firefighters’ Union Local 2. “It will also give their families confidence that they will return home safely.”

Currently, all Illinois municipalities with fewer than 500,000 residents have a foreign fire insurance board. In Chicago, the money is distributed to the city’s general revenue fund. In other municipalities, the Illinois Municipal League collects and remits the money to the various boards.

Proponents believe the Chicago Foreign Fire Insurance Fund has a balance of more than $4 million.

“This funding is supposed to support firefighters and fire stations. Rather than go directly to firefighters like it does in every other municipality, in Chicago this money goes straight to the city,” Mulroe said. “This legislation brings Chicago in line with the rest of the state and sets up a local board to control the funding.”

Under this proposal, board trustees would be elected by their peers and serve pro bono. The measure is awaiting a concurrence vote in the House before it can be sent to the governor’s desk.

Category: News Releases

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