Senator Jeff Rabon said today that he plans to move for acceptance of House amendments to Senate Bill 1190 when the Senate convenes today at 1 p.m. The measure will provide $9 million for rural fire departments whose budgets of have been strapped through five months of fighting wildfires in Oklahoma.
“This is beginning and not the end. I made it clear yesterday that I believe rural fire departments need more money and I have had very fruitful talks this morning with my counterpart in the House,” Rabon said.
“Based on my belief that the Legislature will be able to work in a bi-partisan manner to provide even more funding to help rural fire departments repair and replace worn out equipment, I will take the next step today and move to give our rural fire departments some needed financial relief.”
The measure, like Senate Bill 1735 which passed the Senate three weeks ago, nearly doubles operational grants for rural fire departments at a cost of about $4.5 million - for more than $5,000 per department. The bill will also make the money available to rural fire departments immediately.
Additionally, SB 1190 includes a $5,000 death benefit for families of firefighters who perish in the line of duty.
Senate Bill 1190 also includes $2 million to replace and repair ruined or broken-down equipment. Another provision of the plan allocates about $1 million so the Department of Agriculture can increase the cap on reimbursement amounts that rural fire departments can apply for from the department's extraordinary fire cost recovery fund.