By STATE SEN. HOWARD MARKLEIN | 17th Senate District
I am extremely disappointed and frustrated that Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a bill that would have helped our small, local, rural EMS departments as they work very hard to recruit and retain volunteers.
In 2019, I held Rural EMS Summits all over the 17th Senate District to seek ideas for ways to help local, rural EMS. I know that many departments were struggling to recruit members and provide service and I wanted to help.
This bill was a direct result of those summits. It would have made the NREMT exam optional for Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs) so that individual departments would have had the ability to decide whether or not the NREMT exam would be required in addition to all of the other training that is required.
I heard about how irrelevant this exam is for EMRs and how many talented, trained volunteers struggle to pass it and then quit. It made sense to give our local, rural departments the option to require it — or not — in addition to all of the other training that is required.
I am frustrated that the governor decided to listen to the big, urban, paid paramedics instead of our small, rural, volunteer departments as they continue to struggle. Very disappointing.