State Representative Don Moffitt (R-Gilson) introduced the proposal in the House, and Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) sponsored the legislation in the Senate.
“I was glad to see the Senate pass this bill which honors both our veterans and our aspiring firefighters,” Moffitt said. “If a person who wants to be a firefighter passes the age limit for taking the fire service exam because they are serving in our armed forces, the least we can do is give them some additional time to take the fire exam for their service to our country.”
“Our veterans will have another opportunity to serve the community if they so choose,” Moffitt said. “In addition, our fire departments will potentially benefit by being able to hire firefighters who are highly trained and have many very useful skill sets.”
“Keeping fire departments fully staffed is always an issue, especially in rural areas of the state. If someone, especially a veteran, is fit to pass the exam and serve as a firefighter, age shouldn’t be an issue,” Sullivan said.
The proposal, House Bill 3203, allows veterans who turned 35 while serving in the military and are currently under the age of 40, to take an exam for a firefighter position.
Currently, no one who is 35 or older can apply to be a firefighter unless they have previously served as one.
House Bill 3203 applies to active duty or reserve members of the military, including national guardsmen.
The plan was approved unanimously and now goes to the governor for approval.