Nearly twenty years after the 9/11 terror attacks, New Jersey has passed legislation that will help the families of New Jersey State Police troopers who died of illness following rescue, recovery, and cleanup efforts at the World Trade Center.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill into law May 3, saying he was “proud to sign this legislation and support survivors of the Troopers who served valiantly in the ruins of the World Trade Center.”
“This September we will mark 20 years since 9/11, but for many who faced illness or loss stemming from that fateful day, the wounds are still fresh,” stated Murphy. “We must never forget their heroic sacrifice and must continue to assist the families that Troopers…left behind.”
The benefits would be provided through the State Police Retirement System (SPRS). Previously, SPRS only provided benefits to loved ones of those who died due to an accident during the performance of a member’s regular or assigned duties.
The legislation would allow families of 9/11 responders in the ranks of the State Police to collect benefits provided they died of health impairments or qualifying illnesses connected to recovery efforts.
Remembering the Lost
Gov. Murphy, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, and State Troopers Fraternal Association President Wayne Blanchard noted the legislation would remember and honor the lost, including Trooper Robert Nagel, Staff Sergeant Bryan McCoy, and Lieutenant William Fearon.
This announcement coincided with the State Police’s annual Survivors of Triangle Memorial Ceremony, where each year the families of our fallen gather together to remember and celebrate the lives of our troopers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
“On behalf of the New Jersey State Troopers who made the ultimate sacrifice and their families who have suffered so greatly, I would like to thank Governor Phil Murphy and the State Legislature for ensuring that the families of our fallen heroes are provided the benefits they deserve,” said Callahan.
Menendez Strives to Find Justice
In Washington, Sen. Bob Menendez was joined by Connecticut’s Sen. Richard Blumenthal and New York’s Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Jerrold Nadler in introducing legislation that would cut through the “state secrets privilege” to find justice for 9/11 victims and their families.
The bipartisan group of tristate-area federal lawmakers challenged the Trump Administrations assertion of privilege, arguing federal documents would show the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s complicity in the attacks.
Many families of victims are part of pending litigation against Saudi Arabia, and were hoping the documentation could help them in their lawsuit.
“We understand that the families in this litigation seek documents that they believe would show Saudi Arabia’s complicity in the attacks, as well as information related to Operation Encore, an investigation conducted by the FBI between 2007 and 2016. Like other victims, these families deserve to go to court with all the evidence available to them under a fair application of the law,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter intended for Attorney General Merrick Garland.
North Jersey signatories seeking to investigate Saudi Arabia include Sen. Cory Booker and Reps. Tom Malinowski, Mikie Sherrill and Josh Gottheimer.