TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Joseph V. Doria and Nicholas J. Sacco which would extend eligibility for the New Jersey World Trade Center Scholarship Program to the children and spouses of those who died due to illnesses contracted because of exposure to the attack site was unanimously approved by the Senate Education Committee yesterday.
“On September 11, 2001, people from across New Jersey answered the call to help, and over the weeks and months ahead, volunteered their time and energy in rescue efforts at the World Trade Center site,” said Senator Doria, D-Hudson. “At the time, we were assured that the air at Ground Zero was safe, but in the years since, we realize that we were wrong, with otherwise healthy people succumbing to respiratory illnesses contracted due to their time helping there. To the heroes of September 11 who have paid the ultimate price to aid those in need, and to their families that continue on, we need to show them our thanks.”
The bill, S-2130, would expand the scope of the New Jersey World Trade Center Scholarship Program to include the dependents and spouses of persons who died as a result of illness caused by exposure to one of the attack sites subject to terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. The scholarship program was originally established for the dependents and spouses of those killed by terrorist action on September 11. Under this bill, individuals applying under this new category of eligibility would be responsible for providing to the board of trustees of the World Trade Center Scholarship Fund any medical documentation necessary to prove their eligibility.
“What we’ve seen in the aftermath of September 11 is that the terrorist attacks continue, as rescue workers currently face long-term health effects and even death because of their time at Ground Zero,” said Senator Sacco, D-Bergen and Hudson. “After September 11, we established the World Trade Center Scholarship Fund to show solidarity with the victims who lost their lives on that day. We need to continue our obligation to care for the children and spouses of those effected by September 11, and always remember the sacrifices of those who put their lives at risk to help their fellow men and women.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.