Albany – A.10249/ S.8129 by State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato to revive and extend the September 11th Workers Protection Task Force passed both the State Senate and the Assembly today and will be sent to the Governor’s desk for signature.
The Task Force legislation reauthorizes the task force until 2025 and seeks to revitalize it by refreshing appointments, expanding the areas of study, and setting a biannual meeting requirement to accompany the provision that the task force deliver reports on its findings to the Governor, Senate and Assembly by June 1st each year.
These issues remain more relevant than ever: In the years since 9/11, at least 10,000 first responders and people around the World Trade Center have been diagnosed with cancer, and at least 2,000 have died. The toll for emergency responders from 9/11-related diseases continues to rise.
“While we have made progress to protect first responders who were not originally covered, we have a long way to go before we achieve full benefits and assistance for all those who answered the call to action on 9/11 and in the days after. This Task Force will help us fill in the gaps in worker protection and address those issues that still remain decades after the 9/11 terrorist attack,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes.
"Last year, we started on the path towards making things right for our 9/11 first responders - we began to reform the NYCERS board by increasing the number of physicians who could take on cases, and we finally provided unlimited sick leave to those battling for their lives as a result of a 9/11 illness," Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato said. "Now, we're taking another major step in that direction. The reinstatement of this Task Force will allow us to identify more people that we can help, and more lives that we can potentially save. I'm thankful for Senator Gounardes' partnership in helping pass many of these bills, and I look forward to seeing the great work this Task Force produces."
The September 11th Workers Protection Task Force was a key component of New York’s landmark 2005 legislation creating pension benefits for first responders who participated in the rescue, recovery and cleanup operations at the World Trade Center. First set to expire in 2010, it was extended many times, most recently in 2015. In recent years, it has become dormant and has taken little action.