Senate passes Queens lawmaker’s bill designating September as first responder appreciation month

State Senator James Sanders passes legislation that would designate September as Firefighter, Police Officer and EMT appreciation month. (Photo courtesy of FDNY)

The state Senate unanimously passed legislation introduced by state Senator James Sanders that designates September as Firefighter, Police Officer and Emergency Medical Technician Appreciation Month in celebration of their efforts and sacrifices to vigilantly serve their communities.

“Our brave and devoted police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians should not receive our appreciation only as a result of tragic occurrences,” Sanders said. “Their unwavering commitment to duty, to our state and to our nation should always be recognized and honored. It is not only appropriate, but also good policy, to designate a reasonable period dedicated to showing our appreciation.”

And the appreciation goes beyond their heroic actions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is fast approaching, and Sanders’ legislation aims to remember that among the nearly 3,000 who lost their lives in the World Trade Center collapse were 37 Port Authority police officers, 23 officers from the NYPD, 341 firefighters, two paramedics from the FDNY and eight emergency medical technicians from private hospital units who paid the ultimate price while doing a job to which they were extraordinarily dedicated.

“In tribute to and in cherished memory of our heroes who gave their all on Sept. 11, 2001, this bill will designate the month of September as a time to show appreciation and also provides an annual period where we can recognize and celebrate the service of those who now and in the future will fill the places of our heroes who have served,” Sanders said.

The Senate also approved a legislative package to support survivors of domestic violence and combat human trafficking across the state.

One measure introduced by Sanders that passed 63-0 will allow victims to recover greater damages from their perpetrators and allow them to be “made as close as whole as possible.” The legislation extends the statute of limitations from 10 years to 15 years to give human trafficking victims more time to file a civil cause of action.

“Human trafficking is a heinous crime that should be disincentivized in every possible way,” Sanders said.

Additionally, the legislative package will require public posting of human trafficking information, mandate state contractors to submit human trafficking prevention statements, and establish human trafficking recognition training for all lodging employees, among other measures.

“Victims of domestic and gender-based violence and human trafficking experience horrific wrongs and should not be subjected to continued injustices due to bad public policy,” state Senator Michael Gianaris said. “The Senate is taking up action to enact serious, common sense measures to alleviate continued trauma and help survivors heal.”

The package also includes legislation to enact the “New York State Transparency in Supply Chains Act” to increase the legal marriage age to 18 and classify clergy members as mandated reported of suspected child abuse and maltreatment.

“The horrors of domestic abuse and human trafficking usually happen behind closed doors and in the shadows,” state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said. “This legislation helps empower the victims of these crimes to break free from the cycle of abuse in which they are trapped. It also alerts New Yorkers to the warning signs of exploitation. I applaud my colleagues in the Democratic Majority for moving this legislation forward. Predators that commit these heinous acts will not stop until we do all we can to stop them.”