Legislative Session Grants Victories to NY’s First Responders
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.