LOUISVILLE — Gov. Bill Ritter today proclaimed this Emergency Medical Services Week and signed into law three bills that will improve public safety, save lives and help create new jobs all across Colorado.
“There is no more important public service than protecting people and saving lives,” Gov. Ritter said during a signing ceremony at a Louisville fire station. “To the thousands of emergency medical personnel, firefighters and law officers who work on the front lines every day, you have my deepest gratitude. The bills I am signing into law today will reduce emergency response times, create new jobs, and most importantly save lives.”
Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Sen. John Morse and Rep. Cherilyn Peniston, will increase grant funding for emergency services so that local and county agencies can maintain their equipment and keep their doors open. The additional funds could translate into more than 100 new jobs.
“This bill deals with two very important issues we were faced with this session: economic development and public safety, and it focuses on those issues in the important rural parts of the state,” said Senate Majority Leader Morse. “We will see more than 100 new jobs in much-needed areas of the state and we will cut down response times for people in emergencies. We need to get people to work and we need to make sure every single Coloradan is safe and protected. This bill will help do just that.”
House Bill 1275, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Apuan and Sen. Morse, streamlines the process for EMT certification, creating good jobs and reducing the number of emergency personnel vacancies throughout Colorado, especially in rural communities. It will shorten the current long wait times to process out-of-state candidates, filling vacancies faster and ensuring safety for everyone.
“This bill is going to create more than 100 jobs in areas of the state that need those jobs and the additional emergency services personnel the most,” Rep. Apuan said. “Ensuring we fill all our EMT jobs will also cut down response times for Coloradans during emergencies. We need to get people to work and we need to make sure every single Coloradan is safe and protected, and that’s what this bill does.”
House Bill 1100, sponsored by Rep. Debbie Benefield and Sen. Lois Tochtrop, creates a new specialty license plate to raise awareness and support for the “Alive at 25” program, which saves lives by teaching young people safe and responsible driving skills.
“Young drivers are involved in too many fatal crashes; more than 6,000 teens are killed every year in car accidents. It doesn’t have to be this way,” Rep. Benefield said. “This legislation creates the new ‘Alive at 25’ license plate for those who support the Colorado State Patrol Family Foundation. Alive at 25 is a highly interactive program that teaches young people 16 to 25 that the choices they make on the road have real-world impacts, and real-world consequences. The strategies and skills our kids learn from Alive at 25 will keep them and other Coloradans safe on the road, and ultimately, will help save lives.”
Visit www.colorado.gov/governor or click here for a list of 2009 legislative action by Gov. Ritter.