Special to Iredell Free News

Rep. Patrick McHenry has co-sponsored legislation to allow full-time volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services personnel at nonprofit departments eligibility in their state retirement program.

Rep. Patrick McHenry

“I am proud to continue my support for this legislation that provides fire and EMS personnel serving at non-profit departments the same benefits as their state-employed counterparts,” said McHenry, a Republican who represents North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District. “These brave men and women work tirelessly to keep our communities safe and they deserve our support.”

McHenry previously introduced this legislation in the 117th Congress.

“I thank Representatives Murphy, McHenry, Foxx, Hudson, Rouzer, Bishop, and Edwards for introducing this legislation,” said Chief Donna Black, the president and board chair of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. “This legislation will ensure that our members of the North Carolina fire and emergency service are recognized for their commitment to their communities. As volunteer fire departments adapt to a changing environment, it is important that we recognize and look after the career firefighters who work alongside them and allow the sustainability of our volunteer service.”

For years, the IRS has prevented full-time volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel from joining the North Carolina state retirement system despite providing the same emergency and community services as those employed by the state. This legislation creates a special rule to clarify that 501c (nonprofit) public safety agency firefighters and EMS workers can join the governmental plan of the locality or state they are contracted to work in.