Bill introduced in wake of Whitehall firefighter’s death | Politics


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The James’ family is appealing the decision to the state workers’ compensation board.

The Chief James Brooks Jr. Act would create a presumption of coverage under the Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law for vascular ruptures suffered in the line of duty in the same way that heart attacks are covered, according to a news release.

Sen. Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, is co-sponsoring the legislation in the Senate, and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, is taking it up in the Assembly.

The lawmakers made the announcement of the legislation at a news conference on Monday in front of the Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Albany. Also in attendance were Long Island Sen. John Brooks, Assemblyman Matt Simpson, R-Horicon, and Whitehall Volunteer Company Chief Brian Brooks.

“Most of us will fortunately never need the help of a volunteer firefighter,” Stec said in a news release. “But for those who do, it’s wonderful knowing that help is on the way. Assistant Chief James Brooks was one of those special individuals who would put his life on hold to rush to help others.”

The bill is in the Senate Local Government Committee.

Woerner said certain insurers still fight these claims in an attempt to argue that they could not be related to duties as a firefighter, unnecessarily increasing litigation costs and delaying the payment of qualifying benefits to volunteer firefighters injured in the line of duty while protecting their counties, according to a news release.



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