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 approved by the Senate today by a vote of 39-0.
“On September 11, heroes were born from tragedy, as so many of New Jersey’s first responders and average citizens answered the call and volunteered their time and energy to rescue efforts,” said Senator Doria, D-Hudson. “While we were assured at the time that the air at the site was safe enough to allow rescuers access, we’ve seen continued tragedy, as healthy rescue workers have developed fatal respiratory illnesses. These men and women are casualties of the September 11 attacks, and their surviving family members should have the same right to collect on relief funds set up for other survivors.”
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.
“As rescue volunteers uncover new medical conditions caused by their time at the World Trade Center site, we’ve learned the awful truth that the casualties didn’t end on September 11th,” said Senator Sacco, D-Bergen and Hudson. “The attack on America continues, and we need to honor our obligation to the families of the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives in order to help on the days and weeks following the initial attack. When we remember the cost of freedom, paid in part on September 11, 2001, we should always remember those casualties who lost their lives because they volunteered to help.”
The bill, which was unanimously approved by the Assembly in June, now goes to the Governor to be signed into law.