The volunteer fire service has always been near and dear to my heart. This admiration for those who choose this profession prompted me to introduce House Bill 2268
to allow a 17-year-old junior firefighter to complete interior firefighter training. Previously, only people age 18 and older were permitted to enroll in the training.
Originally, this issue was brought to me by a young Adams County junior firefighter who graduated high school but could not continue his firefighter training until he turned 18. He and I worked on this legislation that I introduced this session in the House while Sen. Pat Stefano introduced the companion bill in the Senate. A short time ago, the Senate bill was signed it into law.
Easing the age restriction allows junior firefighters to hit the ground running as full-fledged firefighters when they turn 18. As volunteer fire departments continue to struggle with decreased membership, it is my hope the law will help keep junior firefighters interested and committed to the fire service and serving their communities.
Additionally, the pandemic highlighted unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy issues within state government. One of these areas included streamlining a teen’s ability to get a work permit to start his or her first job.
For teens to receive a work permit under the previous law, they had to sign the permit in front of a school official. The administration waived this regulation during the pandemic. As a result, the new law which I introduced permanently removes this requirement making is easier for teens to obtain a work permit.
First jobs are a rite of passage for nearly every teen. These jobs not only provide extra pocket money but also serve as a teaching opportunity for youth to learn the value of work.
Lastly, Ralph Serpe, president and CEO of the Adams County Community Foundation,
Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams) and I teamed up to create legislation that protects students who are awarded scholarships from private organizations for post-secondary education. This legislation ensures student who are awarded scholarships from private organizations actually receive the funding.
For example, if a student received $10,000 in financial aid from a Pennsylvania public university and is awarded a $5,000 private scholarship, the university would often reduce the student’s financial aid by $5,000. This is known as scholarship displacement. As a result of this legislation, this practice at public universities in Pennsylvania has ended.
As your state representative, one of the most rewarding aspects of this job is working to resolve issues that have a direct impact on our community. It is gratifying for all involved when community leaders and local citizens work together to collaborate and pass meaningful legislation in Harrisburg.
Representative Torren Ecker
193rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross