Van Drew Introduces the Public Safety Free Speech Act

February 23, 2024 — Congressman Van Drew introduced the Public Safety Free Speech Act to protect the First Amendment rights of our public safety officers. This bill guarantees that public safety officers, including firefighters, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, and police officers, are not disciplined for speaking out about their concerns with job-related issues, such as staffing, wages, and safety protections. 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic we saw so many first responders, healthcare workers, and law enforcement lose their jobs over opinions on vaccine and mask mandates while they were off duty,” said Congressman Van Drew. “Even beyond pandemic policies, there have been too many examples of first responders being reprimanded for off duty comments on topics such as staffing, wages, or administrative requirements.”


If this law is violated, then a covered employee may bring legal action against an employer if the employer engages in wrongful termination or any adverse employment action against the employee. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw many first responders lose their jobs for being outspoken about workplace policies. This bill would ensure that their livelihoods are not put at risk for speaking out while off-duty.

It is endorsed by the International Association of Firefighters, the National Association of Police Organizations, the New Jersey Retired Police and Fireman’s Association, the Federal Law Enforcement Officer Association, and the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey. Click here to read the bill.