Leg­isla­tive Ses­sion Grants Vic­to­ries to NY’s First Re­spon­ders

The Jewish Voice - - NEW YORK - By Re­becca Gold

Lit­tle was ac­com­plished dur­ing the re­cent leg­isla­tive ses­sion, but one group that greatly ben­e­fited by sev­eral poli­cies are the first re­spon­ders to New York City’s 9ll ter­ror­ist at­tack.

On the last day of ses­sion, the leg­is­la­ture passed a bill that gives mu­nic­i­pal or state em­ploy­ees who no longer work in the city but be­came ill dur­ing the cleanup and re­cov­ery of the at­tacks on the World Trade Cen­ter, un­lim­ited sick leave.

Ac­cord­ing to Politico, “This bill en­sures that peo­ple who were New York City uni­formed of­fi­cers when they worked at the World Trade Cen­ter site and who now work for other ju­ris­dic­tions can have as much sick leave as they need to deal with 9/11-re­lated can­cers or other dis­eases. Their cur­rent mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties would be re­im­bursed by the state.”

Long Is­land Demo­crat and co-spon­sor of the bill, State Se­na­tor Todd Kamin­sky said that de­spite the bills call for state spend­ing beyond bud­get, he still ex­pects the leg­is­la­tion to be signed by Gover­nor Andrew Cuomo. He ex­plained that the bill is not an open-ended ex­pense, but rather pro­tects a lim­ited num­ber of pub­lic work­ers.

Politico re­ports, “The Leg­is­la­ture also passed a bill that pro­vides vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers who con­tract cer­tain can­cers with en­hanced dis­abil­ity ben­e­fits, the same kind ca­reer fire­fight­ers re­ceive. The bill would al­low vol­un­teers who are di­ag­nosed with cer­tain can­cers to re­ceive a lump sum pay­ment of $25,000. Fire­fight­ers who can no longer work are el­i­gi­ble for $1,500 per month of dis­abil­ity, ac­cord­ing to the bill, and the fam­i­lies of those who die are el­i­gi­ble for an ac­ci­den­tal death ben­e­fit of $50,000. These ben­e­fits would be paid for by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and rev­enue would be ex­pected to be raised through prop­erty taxes.”

Nas­sau County’s Ocean­side Fire Depart­ment’s chief Kevin Klein said that his men and women should re­ceive the same pro­tec­tions, since as ca­reer fire­fight­ers they re­spond to the same fires.

Klein said, “When your peo­ple get sick and are dy­ing, it sure would be nice to have a lit­tle peace of mind for them and their fam­i­lies. As a chief with 215 men and women in this depart­ment, it is some­thing I’m very happy to see. If we don’t take care of our peo­ple, who is go­ing to want to do this?”

A third bill was also passed that will pro­vide train­ing and safety of­fi­cers along with air­port fire­fight­ers in­creased dis­abil­ity pen­sions. Last ses­sion, sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion was ve­toed by Cuomo, who said the state bud­get not in­de­pen­dent leg­is­la­tion, should be ad­dress­ing the costs of this na­ture.

“When your peo­ple get sick and are dy­ing, it sure would be nice to have a lit­tle peace of mind for them and their fam­i­lies.”

Sev­eral bills were passed by leg­is­la­ture that will pro­tect the

first re­spon­ders on 9/11, who have ill­nesses re­sult­ing from their ser­vice.

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