Almost exactly five months after NYS Gov. Andrew Cuomo that would have put fallen Malverne volunteer firefighter Paul Brady's name on a state memorial, the Assembly has passed a new version of the legislation.
Assembly Bill 10046, which was co-sponsored by NYS Assemblyman Brian Curran, R-Lynbrook, who represents the fourth district including part of Malverne, and Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, D-Long Beach, was approved unanimously Monday.
The legislation mandates that any firefighter who is killed due to services performed in the line of duty will be added to the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial on the Empire State Plaza in Albany.
The companion Senate Bill, 7458, which was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, is currently awaiting action in the state senate and is expected to pass.
This bill was created as a result of the tragic death of Malverne volunteer firefighter Paul Brady, 42, who was killed on June 30, 2006 in an accident while performing training activities inside the firehouse.
Brady was on the top of a heavy rescue fire truck performing maintenance activities as part of the training, when another firefighter, unaware of Brady's presence, began to drive the truck, causing him to hit a ceiling beam and fall off. He suffered serious internal injuries, which led to his death later that day.
Despite being killed while performing the duties of a firefighter, Brady’s name was not added to the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial.
However, Weisenberg says, "Brady's death has been deemed to be ‘in the line of duty’ by the president of the United States, the U.S. Department of Justice, the New York State Workers Compensation Board, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the County of Nassau and the Supreme Court of the State of New York.”
Similar legislation, also co-sponsored by Assemblymen Curran and Weisenberg, in 2011 and but was vetoed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 2, 2012.
Cuomo explained his decision in a memo, writing:
"I am sympathetic to the families and colleagues of every firefighter who has died in circumstances that do not make that firefighter eligible for inclusion on the State Memorial Wall, and this was a very difficult decision, but there should not be one set of eligibility criteria for volunteer firefighters and another for paid firefighters."
Weisenberg, who met with Cuomo on the day he killed the first bill, told Patch in early January that he was determined to resurrect the legislation, saying, "New York’s memorial is a source of healing, but this has turned a hallowed place into one of dividedness. ”
“This action is long overdue," Curran said. "Volunteer firefighters like Paul Brady risk their lives every day for their communities and their neighbors. To deny people this honor -- especially when it is rightfully deserved -- is a disgrace."
Curran added: "Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg and I made sure this legislation passed unanimously today in the Assembly. We look forward to seeing Senator Skelos’ success with this same legislation in the Senate.”