LANSING—Bipartisan efforts by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, and Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette, led to the completion of a legislative fix this week that will ensure the best of available emergency care will continue to be provided in the Western Upper Peninsula.
House Bill 5842, sponsored by Rep. Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, was sent to the governor on the last day of legislative session with an amendment added by Casperson that included language from a bill Kivela sponsored. Kivela’s bill, HB 5454, cleared the House last week, but due to timing issues the bill, it was prevented from being voted out of the Senate.
Without the legislative change included in HB 5842, Sonco Ambulance would have only been able to provide basic ambulance service, even when staffed by properly licensed EMT-specialists and EMT-paramedics.
“I am thankful for Representative Pettalia’s support in allowing his bill to be amended to include language from HB 5454. Without his support and the last minute work done by Senator Casperson, the Western Upper Peninsula could have lost a needed protection for public safety,” Kivela said. “It was a great effort by all of those involved, and I am extremely happy that we were able to get this legislation completed before session ended.”
“Although it was a true team effort to address this problem, I especially want to thank Representative Kivela for his leadership in championing this issue, because his effort set the stage for this legislative fix to be accomplished,” said Casperson. “As we look to the next legislative session, I look forward to working with Representative Kivela and emergency medical service personnel across the Upper Peninsula and rural Michigan to continue on this path of reforming emergency medical services law so that the best available care is provided for people in all rural areas.”
Kivela said, “This is another example of how the UP legislative team continues to work in a bipartisan manner to help one another and residents across the Upper Peninsula.”