Senator Timilty Testifies on First Responder Exposure to Infectious Diseases Bill
BOSTON, MA – State Senator Walter F. Timilty (D-Milton) testified before the Joint Committee on Public Service on Wednesday urging a favorable report on his bill, S.1786, An Act relative to the safety of fire, police, and emergency medical technicians from contagious diseases, which would ensure that they receive benefits as a result of work-related illnesses.
“The safety and welfare of our first responders is one of our most pressing concerns,” stated Senator Timilty. “Every day, our public safety officers and first responders put their lives on the line in order to protect the public. Throughout the last year, we have witnessed their heroic service, as they have engaged with and cared for individuals with COVID-19 during the pandemic. This legislation, if enacted and signed by the Governor, would ensure that those who put their lives on the line will receive the same level of care that they selflessly deliver each and every day to the general public.”
Specifically, the bill creates a presumption for police, fire, emergency medical services personnel, corrections officers, and court officers. That presumption is that any contagious disease resulting from exposure to blood and other body fluids of the sick, including Hepatitis A, B, or C, Tuberculosis, and HIV, were suffered in the line of duty.
This legislation would guarantee that public safety officials receive benefits due to these work-related illnesses resulting in death, disability, or medical services.
“I was proud to work with the New England Police Benevolent Association, in shaping this legislation,” stated Timilty. “NEPBA believes that the health and well-being of its members is paramount to the success of community policing. This legislation would allow our first responder professions to do what they do so well knowing that they will receive the necessary benefits to address their medical needs.”
Additionally, this legislation would give the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health the authority to add to this list of contagious diseases, if it is determined a disease has a statistically significant correlation with police, fire or emergency medical services.