Meredith Files Bills to Raise Pay for Public Safety Workers; Expand Access to Military License Plates
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 4, 2016)- Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Brownsville, filed bills this week to take care of two of our most important citizen groups, public safety workers and veterans. Rep. Meredith’s public safety worker legislation addresses the lack of increase in incentive pay for paid police and firefighters, and also support for volunteer fire departments. House Bill 526 would raise training incentive pay for paid police and firefighters to $4,000 per year, and would raise the allotment for qualifying volunteer fire departments to $11,000 per year. Currently, paid police officers and firefighters receive a $3,100 annual stipend, and qualified volunteer fire departments are allotted $8,250 per year in state aid.
“Our public safety workers are vital to our communities, and we must make them a priority,” said Meredith. “These incentives come from a restricted fund that has long been able to fund these raises. However, previous Governors have swept these restricted funds to supplement the General Fund. With Governor Bevin’s decision to not sweep these funds, it is the right time to provide these increases.”
Additionally, Rep. Meredith filed House Bill 547, which expands access to Kentucky’s military license plate program to ensure access for every interested veteran.
“If you have served your country, you should be able to get a veteran’s license plate,” said Rep. Meredith. “HB 547 will ensure veterans don’t fall through the cracks anymore due to arbitrary requirements for participation in the program. American military members and their families should be guaranteed full access to these programs.”
Currently, Kentucky’s military license plate program requires a series of qualifications that open up the possibility of denial to those who have served. Rep. Meredith’s bill would simplify the process and grant access to the program if an individual was an active component member, a retired member, received a discharge under honorable conditions, or is a veteran’s widow. Under the current law, a veteran would have to serve at least 24 months active duty or be discharged under a disability, injury or hardship, keeping some military reservists from being able to take part in the program.