PS Item 1
Public Safety Committee
Michael Faden, Senior Legislative Attorney
Essie McGuire, Senior Legislative
Worksession: Expedited Bi1117-12, Fire and Rescue Service - Emergency
Medical Services - Reimbursement
Expedited Bill 17-12, Fire and Rescue Service - Emergency Medical Services
Reimbursement, sponsored by the Council President at the request of the County Executive, was
introduced on. April 24, 2012. A public hearing was held on May 8. Council action is tentatively
scheduled for May 15.
Introduced Bill Expedited Bi1117-12 would authorize the County to impose and collect
a reimbursement to recover costs generated by providing emergency medical services transports.
This Bill is essentially identical in all material respects to Bill 13-10, which the Council enacted
on May 19,2010, but the voters rejected in a referendum in November 2010 (see ballot and
petition language on ©55-56).
Executive amendments On May 8 the Executive submitted an amended Bill, shown on
©61-66. (Also see the Executive's explanatory memo on ©59-60.) The Executive's
amendments clarify, but do not substantially change, the central elements of the introduced Bill.
They also add provisions that would authorize the Executive to conduct an outreach and
information campaign to publicize the reimbursement program, and would create a Patient
Advocate position in the Office of Consumer Protection.
Public bearing testimony Attached on © 18-54 are selected representative public
hearing testimony and related letters, including two from regional advisory boards which
endorsed this Bill. Much of the testimony at the May 8 hearing repeated viewpoints about this
fee which the Council has heard many times before.
The most notable new testimony came
IMuch of the testimony from opponents of this Bill centered on the theme of "Respect the Voters", which would
treat as binding on the Council and Executive, for some unknown period of time, the 2010 voters' rejection of the
previous EMST fee law. In Council staffs view, this argument carries weight but should not be conclusive. There
is no legal bar to the Council enacting a similar, or even identical, law post-referendum. Presumably, no one would
argue that the Council is forever bound not to do so, so the question is what period of time constitutes a "decent
interval" before the Council should revisit the issue. The Executive's view, emphasizing recent state and County
fiscal developments, is that now is not too soon. Just as a party in a court case can seek reconsideration of a
seemingly erroneous court decision, we think the Council, and potentially the voters, can fairly be asked to
reconsider their initial decision on this issue when circumstances warrant.