Sen. Joseph Griffo announced Thursday that the New York State Senate’s proposed budget includes more benefit coverage for volunteer firefighters who are diagnosed with cancer related to their duties. Griffo, R-Rome, has co-sponsored legislation (S3891) that would expand existing coverage under the Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law to include cancer of the digestive, hematological, lymphatic, urinary, prostate, neurological, breast and reproductive systems.
While the Senate has previously approved this legislation, the Assembly has not. By now including this proposal in the language of the Senate’s budget, expanded cancer coverage for firefighters will become part of the ongoing negotiations between the Senate, Assembly and Governor to finalize a state budget by April 1.
If all parties agree to the expanded coverage as part of the budget, then these benefits would take effect to help firefighters cope with cancers that develop as a result of their exposure to smoke and toxic fumes.
Senator Griffo issued the following statement on this matter:
“I am proud that the Senate has taken a stand in support of our volunteer firefighters and passed legislation that would help those brave men and women who are suffering as a result of their public service. But until we approve this expanded coverage as a state, firefighters continue to confront this pain everyday without the benefits they need. The Believe 271 Foundation has made very clear the challenges that our firefighters face across Central New York, and I thank them for their passion in keeping this issue a priority. I am pleased that expanded cancer coverage will now be part of our discussions in the next several weeks, and I am hopeful that we will all do the right thing on behalf of our firefighters.”