BILL INTRODUCED TO EXEMPT ACTIVE VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS FROM JURY DUTY
During the opening days of the 2023-2024 regular sessions of the NYS Assembly; Assemblyman
again introduced a bill (A137) that would exempt active volunteer firefighters from having to serve on a jury. Active-duty career firefighters and police are already exempt from serving. This bill if passed and signed would place vital volunteer firefighters in the same category where they are especially needed for responding during daytime emergencies. This same legislation has been introduced in prior legislative sessions: the 2019-20 sessions (A10912) and the 2021-22 sessions (A01533). Both prior sessions these bills were referred to judiciary committee where they remained without further action. On January 04, 2023 Assemblymen Santabarbara once again introduced Bill A137 which was referred to judiciary committee for the third time.
Your Association Of Fire Districts of the State of New York supports this bill and we encourage District officials and Firefighters to contact your elected representatives in support of this bill. The summary of the Bill is detailed below along with the assemblymen sponsor justification. The AFDSNY Letter of Support is included below for your use.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Sections 1: Amends judiciary law by adding a new section, 512.
Subsection 1 of section 512 provides for active volunteer firefighters, as defined by volunteer firefighters benefit law, to be exempt from jury duty. Subsection 2 of section 512 requires the chief administrator of the courts to create a form to be used by any qualified person to apply for the exemption. Section 2: Effective date. (The act would take effect on the 120th day after it shall have become a law)
Currently, there is an exemption in state law for active-duty police officers and firefighters for jury duty. This law however does not apply to active volunteer firefighters. Most of the state is facing a shortage of volunteer firefighters and this bill would help alleviate some of that stress by exempting them from jury duty as needed by rural departments to effectively serve their communities.
AFDSNY Letter of Legislative support (click to read, print or download)