Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Commish Pushes 1st Responder Health Trust Fund

This guest column was authored by Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney.

When I consider some of the most important jobs a person can hold, firefighter quickly rises to the top of my mind. Firefighting, for some, is a profession: a noble one that requires time, physical strength and stamina. For others, it is a voluntary service to their community and neighbors, still strenuous and demanding. Police officers and other first responders hold equally important jobs in our communities.


In 2019, I proudly supported the passage of the Mississippi First Responders Health and Safety Act to care for first responders with occupational cancer and other diseases caused by their job. There are nearly 17,000 firefighters in Mississippi. Of those, around 13,000 are unpaid volunteers. It seems only right that we care for the men and women who have cared for us, risking their lives to save others. Now, nearly a year since its passage, we must consider how to fund this important program.

With Senate Bill 2302, I am proposing an amendment to existing law that would divert a portion of the surplus lines fees currently collected. Surplus lines fees are collected from non-admitted insurance carriers in the state. Surplus lines fees generate between $12 and $14 million in revenue annually. Amending current law would guarantee money for firefighters through the Mississippi First Responders Health and Safety Trust Fund.

Benefits would be paid to fire and police officers who have 10 or more years on the job. The law allows for a $35,000 lump sum benefit if diagnosed with metastasized cancer or terminal cancer and a $6,250 lump sum benefit if diagnosed with non-metastasized cancer.

I also propose diverting a portion of fees to fund the Rural Fire Truck Fund. Since the Rural Fire truck program’s inception in 1995, the State of Mississippi has paid out more than $47 million to help counties buy fire trucks. The program is estimated to have saved MS homeowners more than $1.6 billion since the program began. This program has put more money into consumer pockets than any tax cut ever will.

My proposal also calls for a portion of the surplus lines fee to fund fire prevention and education through the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Fire safety educators in my office visited more than 70 schools and educated more than 3,000 children and adults in 2019. I can only imagine the number of lives that would be impacted and saved by our educators if the proper funding was in place.

A portion of the diverted fees would also be paid to the Comprehensive Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program. I am particularly motivated to fund such a program after visiting with poultry farmers. Poultry is one of the leading industries in our state, valued at nearly $3 billion. There are more than 1,400 broiler farms and hundreds of layer farms – yet these farmers are paying increasingly high premiums for insurance on their chicken houses. Only a small number of insurance providers are willing to write coverage for poultry farms, largely because of the expensive replacement cost for destroyed or damaged poultry houses. The Mitigation Program would give farmers a better chance at a successful business by funding improvements to their poultry farms.

There is a common misconception that funds paid into the wind pool are assessed from policies only on the coast. That is incorrect. Approximately 60% of the fee is collected on policies written outside the coastal counties.


At this time, the wind pool has approximately $280,000,000.00 in surplus, positioning it well to handle the next big storm. Moving a small percentage of the surplus lines fee funds would benefit everybody, from Desoto County to the Gulf Coast.

Senate Bill 2302 is making its way through the legislature now and I urge lawmakers to pass this bill. My proposal would not take money from the general fund or adversely affect other programs. This takes politics out of the funding for fire protection, storm mitigation, and caring for our heroes.



6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds good to me. Probably makes too much sense and does too much good. They don't pass stuff like this.

Anonymous said...

Hell, just don't let those MFers pass yet another unfunded mandate on counties or municipalities.

Anonymous said...

Chaney is the most credible elected official in this state. As long as this does not give the cowboy deputy-dogs the right to run radar.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 4:01! Look out for legislative bills that require Counties and cities to increase spending. I have had enough of that smoke and mirrors. This one looks like it helps reduce cost to local governments.

Anonymous said...

Everyone in the House will support this Bill, except Bomgar The Magnificent. If those firefighters would just smoke marijuana they wouldn’t need this legislation. LOL

Anonymous said...

I see good, better, great. It wont make it folks. They are looking for bad, worst, horrible. If it is not setup like family first it is DOA.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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