FASNY President Urges State Senate and Assembly to Act Quickly on Presumptive Cancer Coverage

Bill introduced for 2017 session; sponsored by State Senator Joseph A. Griffo and Assemblymember Aileen Gunther

(January 12, 2017 – Albany, NY) Ken Pienkowski, president of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, today issued the following statement as the 2017 legislative session in Albany gets underway:

“Presumptive cancer coverage for volunteer firefighters is unquestionably FASNY’s number-one priority for the 2017 legislative session. FASNY thanks State Senator Joseph A. Griffo and Assemblymember Aileen Gunther for introducing this legislation to start the new year, and for their valuable leadership on this issue. We urge Albany to act quickly to send this bill to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk. Thirty-five other states in the nation, most recently Ohio, have passed presumptive cancer legislation. The New York bill contains many of the same provisions as the Ohio legislation, including length of service requirements, a statute of repose, and an opt-out. These compromises will limit the financial impact on local municipalities, and were carefully negotiated between Albany lawmakers and FASNY last year with input from leading medical experts about the scientific realities of firefighter cancer. Fully 89 percent of New York’s municipalities are protected by volunteer firefighters, who save the State approximately $3 to $4 billion each year, which is what it would cost to maintain an all-paid fire service.”

The bill (S. 1411 / A. 711) passed the State Senate in each of the past two sessions but has not come to a vote in the Assembly. There are approximately 110,000 volunteer firefighters in New York State who sacrifice their own time, safety, and health to protect their communities without asking for anything in return. The science is undeniable: firefighting causes cancer, and no firefighter in New York, paid or volunteer, should be left alone in the event of a cancer diagnosis.