(Rockville Centre, New York) — On the sixteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on New York and the United States, Governor Cuomo signed legislation championed by Senator Todd Kaminsky to help 9/11 first responders into law. This legislation, Senate Bill S.6398a, -- which applies to active police officers – will provide sick time to the selfless individuals who worked on the rescue, recovery and cleanup following the World Trade Center attacks. This will help ensure these heroes no longer have to exhaust their accrued personal time and suffer financial penalties as a result of their actions in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the first responders who put their lives and health on the line during and after the September 11th attacks,” Senator Todd Kaminsky said. “Far too many of the courageous first responders from those terrible attacks continue to battle cancer and other illnesses caused by the debris at Ground Zero. These heroes are faced with financial ruin, and even risk losing their jobs as they seek treatment, and that is no way for our state to treat them. That is why I was proud to work on this legislation and I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing it into law. I will keep up the fight to ensure our first responders receive the support, help, and respect they earned during the 9/11 attacks and every day since.”
Though the New York City Police and Fire Departments provide unlimited sick leave, first responders who served on September 11 and left city agencies to pursue other public service opportunities on Long Island and elsewhere are ineligible for such “line of duty” sick benefits. Additionally, since their illnesses were contracted while employed by the City, their current municipal employer cannot treat their illness as “line of duty” either. Many of Senator Kaminsky’s constituents are facing these concerns, which is one of the reasons the Senator championed this legislation. To ensure these heroes receive the support they need, the legislation supported by Senator Kaminsky and sponsored by Senator Martin Golden will require the state to pick up the tab for these rescuers’ sick days so they are no longer forced to exhaust the time they accrue.
Here is a video of Senator Kaminsky imploring his colleagues in the State Senate to pass this legislation. The bill was unanimously passed by the State Senate on June 21, and was signed into law by Governor Cuomo today.