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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: March 25, 2015 04:15 PM
From: Representative Judy Ward
To: All House members
Subject: Co-Sponsorship of Legislation -- Protection of Utility Line Crews During Emergencies

In the near future, I plan to re-introduce former House Bill 1246 of 2013-2014 which includes utility line crews as emergency responders during declared disaster emergencies.

Currently, Pennsylvania has a defined list of emergency service responders who are given specific protections during emergencies. Most notably, directing protected traffic in hazardous areas in order to keep drivers and emergency workers safe at the scene. Section 3327 of Title 75 provides for the duties of drivers to pass an emergency response area carefully following traffic markers, road flares, signs, or directions of emergency responders, and requires all drivers to travel cautiously at reduced speeds.

Currently, some emergency service responders include:
* A police officer
* A firefighter
* Ambulance personnel
* Highway maintenance and construction personnel
* Emergency medical services personnel
* Towing and recovery personnel.

This legislation will define electric utility personnel as emergency service responders during the first seventy-two hours after a declared emergency, or until the expiration of a declared emergency, whichever is later.

I believe it is appropriate that we give these emergency utility workers a safer and more effective traffic-controlled environment so that they may be able to safely provide disaster-related work for the betterment of our communities. These utility line crews deserve our support in their efforts to help provide disaster-relief services, especially at a time when electricity restoration is paramount.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB1169