Bill S6592-2013

Relates to training and education courses for certain organizations

Relates to training and education courses for certain organizations.



  • May 21, 2014: referred to governmental operations
  • May 21, 2014: PASSED SENATE
  • Apr 30, 2014: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • Apr 29, 2014: 1ST REPORT CAL.455




VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Energy and Telecommunications - Apr 29, 2014
Ayes (11): Maziarz, Carlucci, Griffo, O'Mara, Ritchie, Robach, Flanagan, Parker, Kennedy, Dilan, Peralta



TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the state technology law and the state finance law, in relation to training and education courses for certain organizations

PURPOSE: To make volunteer emergency response organizations eligible for the Empire Knowledge Bank program offered by the NYS Office of Information Technology Services.


Section 1 of the bill amends section 103 of the state technology law to make fire districts, volunteer fire organizations, and volunteer ambulance organizations eligible to participate in the Empire Knowledge Bank program offered by the NYS Office of Information Technology Services.

Section 2 of the bill amends subdivision 3 of section 99-q of the state finance law to make participation in the Empire Knowledge Bank program eligible for grant funding through the Volunteer Firefighting and Volunteer Emergency Services Recruitment and Retention Fund.

Section 3 of the bill is the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: The Empire Knowledge Bank is a training and education program offered by the NYS Office of Information Technology. The program is an e-learning program that provides a convenient and cost-effective way to continue training and develop professional skills. The program offers over 3,000 courses in information technology (e.g. programming, web development, security), professional development (e.g. management, leadership, project management, accounting, human resources), and desktop software (e.g. word processing, spreadsheets, etc.). For a small fee, dozens of government agencies have participated in the Empire Knowledge Bank in recent years. At this time, the program is not open to not-for-profit volunteer emergency response organizations.

Volunteer emergency response organizations are experiencing difficulty with retention of existing members and the recruitment of new members. Training and education opportunities are benefits that are projected to enhance recruitment and retention efforts within the volunteer fire service. The courses offered through the Empire Knowledge Bank program would serve the volunteer fire service well at both the organizational level and at the individual volunteer level.

At the organizational level, courses in accounting or financial management would be helpful for proper record-keeping and financial duties at the firehouse or ambulance company. Also, courses in information technology and software applications will assist in improving administrative effectiveness and efficiency. This type of training and education will help volunteer fire companies and ambulance companies better serve the communities they protect.

For individual emergency response volunteers, the Empire Knowledge Bank provides various personal and professional benefits. For example, some volunteer emergency responders are small business owners The

professional development courses offered in the program may provide useful education on how to improve operations at their business, or help them develop a skill that they currently do not possess. In addition, according to the website for the Office of Information Technology Services, the program also offers courses that provide continuing education credits and courses that follow professional tracks for Six Sigma, Project Management, and others. Making this type of training available to volunteer responders will help retain existing volunteers that are working to maintain their volunteer and professional activities. Further, some courses may even be eligible for college credit. These courses will be especially attractive to young men and women that are interested in volunteering but have not done so because of their need to work in order to pay for college.

By making volunteer fire and ambulance companies eligible for the Empire Knowledge Bank, volunteers will be provided with personal and professional development benefits that will aid in the recruitment and retention of members. This will help ensure that our communities have the volunteers they need in order to ensure the highest levels of fire protection and emergency response services.



EFFECTIVE DATE: On the 90th day after it shall have become a law.


STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6592 IN SENATE February 11, 2014 ___________
Introduced by Sen. MAZIARZ -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Energy and Telecommuni- cations AN ACT to amend the state technology law and the state finance law, in relation to training and education courses for certain organizations THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 103 of the state technology law is amended by adding a new subdivision 22 to read as follows: 22. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, ANY FIRE DISTRICT OR VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY OR VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE COMPANY OR STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION THAT REPRESENTS THE INTERESTS OF THE VOLUNTEER FIRE SERVICE AND/OR THE VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE SERVICE SHALL BE ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM COMMONLY REFERRED TO OR KNOWN AS THE EMPIRE KNOWLEDGEBANK OR ANY SUCH SUCCESSOR PROGRAM OFFERED BY THE OFFICE. THE DIRECTOR IS AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO ADOPT, AMEND OR RESCIND ANY RULES AND/OR REGULATIONS NECESSARY OR CONVENIENT TO IMPLEMENT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE TERM "VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY" SHALL MEAN A FIRE COMPANY AS SUCH TERM IS DEFINED IN SECTION ONE HUNDRED OF THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW AND THE TERM "VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE COMPANY" SHALL MEAN A VOLUNTARY AMBULANCE SERVICE AS SUCH TERM IS DEFINED IN SECTION ONE HUNDRED OF THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW. S 2. Subdivision 3 of section 99-q of the state finance law, as added by chapter 490 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read as follows: 3. Moneys in such fund shall be expended only to provide grants to volunteer firefighting and volunteer emergency services organizations and to statewide organizations which represent the interests of volun- teer firefighters and/or volunteer emergency services providers for the purpose of encouraging the recruitment and retention of volunteer fire- fighters and volunteer emergency services personnel. Such purposes may include, but need not be limited to: PARTICIPATION IN TRAINING AND EDUCATION COURSES OFFERED PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION TWENTY-TWO OF SECTION ONE HUNDRED THREE OF THE STATE TECHNOLOGY LAW, development and implemen- tation of marketing plans, publicity campaigns, and community awareness
initiatives; design, production and distribution of promotional merchan- dise, brochures and other materials; sponsorship of local community events designed to help recruit volunteers; newspaper publications, promotional mailings and other advertising designed to help recruit volunteers. S 3. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law, provided however that, effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized to be made on or before such effective date.


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