TRENTON – Senator Linda R. Greenstein, D-Middlesex and Mercer, released the following statement in response to the Governor’s veto of S-1778, the ‟Thomas P. Canzanella Twenty First Century First Responders Protection Act,” which would have ensured first responders receive medical care and compensation for conditions resulting from their actions in the line of duty, particularly medical conditions that may not manifest until long after the event:
“I am shocked and disappointed that the ‘Thomas P. Canzanella Twenty First Century First Responders Protection Act,’’ was not signed into law today. Years after a catastrophic event that has emergency responders rushing into danger while everyone else is running out, illnesses and post traumatic stress disorders can appear in our firefighters, police officers and health care workers. This legislation would have provided many of our first responders a sense of security that no matter what happens on the job, they will receive the workers’ compensation benefits they have earned and deserve.
“This isn’t a radical idea either. More than two-thirds of the states in our nation offer a form of this coverage, and some have offered it for decades, often with virtually no effect on budgets.
“This decision today is truly heartbreaking for our state’s first responders and their families. These men and women put their lives on the line each day to protect us and we should be doing everything we can to ensure we provide them with the care and services they have earned on the job.”