Bill would raise retirement age for police, fire officials




For the Gazette

Published: 11-16-2023 4:34 PM

As a way to help cities and towns retain police and firefighters longer, a local lawmaker has filed a bill that would allow them to work in public safety roles until age 72.

Under state law, emergency services personnel such as police officers and firefighters cannot work past the age of 65. However, through a piece of special legislation known as a home-rule petition, these personnel can seek approval to work until age 70.

State Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Deerfield, filed bill H.2449 because of how frequently home-rule petitions are filed for individual towns within the 1st Franklin District, which Blais represents. According to the text of the bill, it will allow a member of a police or fire department to serve until the age of 72. The act would not take effect until it has been adopted by a vote of the local legislative body, meaning a city or town.

“With town approval [the bill] would make it so that towns are not having to do these individual home-rule petitions for individual members,” Blais said. “If we were to pass this legislation, not only would the age be increased to 72, rather than 70, it also would just make it a little bit easier for towns to be able to continue to employ fire and police members.”

The bill was introduced in February and had a hearing on Oct. 31. Blais said the Joint Committee on Public Service will now take into account any testimony submitted and determine if it will be reported out of committee.

Among the Franklin County towns to seek home-rule petitions this year alone are New Salem, Wendell, Northfield and Bernardston.