(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the meanings given them.
(b) "Commissioner," unless otherwise specified, means the commissioner of public safety.
(c) "Emergency medical services provider" means a licensee as defined under section 144E.001, subdivision 8.
(d) "Independent nonprofit firefighting corporation" has the same meaning as used in chapter 424A.
(e) "Municipality" has the meaning given in section 69.011, but only if the municipality uses one or more qualified volunteers to provide service.
(f) "Qualified entity" means an emergency medical services provider, independent nonprofit firefighting corporation, or municipality.
(g) "Qualified volunteer" means one of the following types of volunteers who has provided service, for the entire prior calendar year, to one or more qualified entities:
(1) a volunteer firefighter as defined in section 299N.03, subdivision 7;
(2) a volunteer ambulance attendant as defined in section 144E.001, subdivision 15; or
(3) an emergency medical responder as defined in section 144E.001, subdivision 6, who provides emergency medical services as a volunteer.
(h) "Pilot area" means the following groups of counties:
(1) southern Minnesota, consisting of the counties of Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, and Watonwan;
(2) west central Minnesota, consisting of the counties of Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Redwood, and Renville;
(3) central Minnesota, consisting of the counties of Morrison and Todd; and
(4) north central Minnesota, consisting of the counties of Beltrami, Clearwater, and Mahnomen.
By June 1 of the calendar year following the year in which the qualified volunteer provided service, the commissioner shall certify to the commissioner of revenue each qualified volunteer's name and the qualified entity for which the qualified volunteer provided service, but the commissioner must remove duplicate listings of qualified volunteers who provided service to more than one qualified entity so that each qualified volunteer is listed only once. The commissioner shall also certify to the commissioner of revenue the total amount of aid to be paid to each qualified entity under subdivision 3. For qualified entities that are not municipalities, the commissioner must indicate the municipality to which the aid is to be paid, as designated by the qualified entity.
The commissioner of revenue shall pay aid to qualified entities located in the pilot area to provide funds for the qualified entities to pay annual volunteer retention stipends to qualified volunteers who provide services to the qualified entities. A qualified entity is located in the pilot area if it is a municipality located in whole or in part in the pilot area, or if it is an emergency medical services provider or independent nonprofit firefighting corporation with its main office located in the pilot area. The amount of the aid equals $500 multiplied by the number of qualified volunteers. For purposes of calculating this aid, each individual providing volunteer service, regardless of the different types of service provided, is one qualified volunteer. The commissioner of revenue shall pay the aid to qualified entities by July 15 of the calendar year following the year in which the qualified volunteer provided service. If a qualified entity is not a municipality, the commissioner shall pay the aid to the treasurer of the municipality designated by the qualified entity. The treasurer of the municipality shall, within 30 days of receipt of the aid, transmit the aid to the qualified entity.
Each year each qualified entity in the pilot area may apply to the commissioner for aid under this section. The application must be made at the time and in the form prescribed by the commissioner and must provide sufficient information to permit the commissioner to determine the applicant's entitlement to aid under this section.
A qualified entity receiving state aid under this section must pay the aid as retention stipends of $500 to qualified volunteers no later than September 15 of the year in which the aid was received.
No later than January 15, 2018, the commissioner must report to the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees having jurisdiction over public safety and taxes in the senate and the house of representatives, in compliance with sections 3.195 and 3.197, on aid paid under this section. The report must include:
(1) for each county in the pilot area, a listing of the qualified entities that received aid in each of the three years of the pilot;
(2) the amount of aid paid to each qualified entity that received aid in each of the three years of the pilot; and
(3) for each qualified entity that received aid, the number of qualified volunteers who were paid stipends in each of the three years of the pilot, and the number of qualified volunteers in the year preceding the pilot.
The report must also provide information on the number of qualified volunteers providing service to qualified entities in comparison counties in each of the three years of the pilot and in the year preceding the pilot, and must summarize changes in the number of qualified volunteers during the year preceding the pilot and during the three years of the pilot both within the pilot area and in the comparison counties. For purposes of this subdivision, "comparison counties" means counties designated by the commissioner to include at least half of the counties that border each group of counties in the pilot area, as specified in subdivision 1. Qualified entities in comparison counties must provide information to the commissioner necessary to the report in this subdivision in the form and manner required by the commissioner.
An amount sufficient to pay the state aid under this section is appropriated from the general fund to the commissioner of revenue.
This section expires for aid payable after calendar year 2017, except that the reporting requirement in subdivision 6 remains in effect through 2018.