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M. Brandon Smith
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New Legislation To Aid Ground Zero Heroes And Victims

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The smoke and dust resulting from the fall of the World Trade Center towers affected thousands of New Yorkers and their families as well. To address this issue Gov. George Pataki signed legislation Monday that will benefit workers who have died or become sick in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. The legislation is designed to help not only those injured in the line of duty but also those who may develop health risks later on down the road as well.

The legislation is expected to help those 8,000 workers and civilians currently involved in a class action lawsuit that blames Sept. 11 for sinusitis, cancer and other ailments developed after the attacks. It also is expected to suspend the two year statute of limitations previously imposed in such claims to allow many who were previously denied workers compensation benefits who filed after the two year period.

This is a great example of the government stepping up and doing the right thing. I am sure some of the insurance companies involved were not thrilled to hear about this legislation and made their positions known as it will mean more exposure for them. Kudos to the New York legislators for recognizing the greater public good achieved by this legislation and for putting their constituents first. I am sure the voters there will not forget this come election time.