Transportation and Telecommunications

EMS funding increase clears first round

A proposal to bolster emergency medical services programs in Nebraska advanced to select file March 7 after lawmakers amended it to use a different funding source.

Sen. Myron Dorn
Sen. Myron Dorn

Currently, county treasurers collect a 50-cent fee in addition to registration fees for motor vehicles and trailers. The fee is credited to the Nebraska Emergency Medical System Operations Fund, which is administered by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The fund is used to carry out activities related to the design, maintenance or enhancement of the statewide trauma system and to support emergency medical services programs.

Adams Sen. Myron Dorn, sponsor of LB1108, said the fee has not increased since it was created in 2001. As introduced, the bill would increase the fee to $1.

Under a Transportation and Telecommunications Committee amendment, adopted 32-0, the fund also could be used to provide financial support for the statewide patient care reporting system and trauma registry and for the recruitment, retention and training of emergency medical responders.

Dorn estimated that LB1108 would direct an additional $1.27 million to the fund each year, helping to recruit and train new volunteer emergency medical technicians.

“In rural areas, we are really starting to struggle with having enough members on many of these squads,” he said.

The amendment also would require the department to submit an annual report to the Legislature that explains how the money appropriated to the department from the fund was spent or why it was not spent.

Dorn introduced an amendment, adopted 33-0, that instead of increasing the fee would transfer $1.27 million from the state Game and Parks Commission Capital Maintenance Fund to the Nebraska Emergency Medical System Operations Fund each fiscal year beginning in 2025.

The commission’s fund, which is used for deferred maintenance projects at state parks, currently receives sales and use tax proceeds from the sale or lease of motorboats, personal watercraft, all-terrain vehicles and utility-type vehicles for transactions occurring before Oct. 1, 2027. Dorn’s amendment would strike the sunset date.

Senators then voted 33-0 to advance LB1108 to select file.

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