- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Joins 52-state Ag Coalition Urging Congress to Support First Responders During Covid-19 Pandemic
Boston — Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a bipartisan coalition of 52 attorneys general urging Congress to pass a bill to support first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter sent to Congress today, AG Healey urges Congress to pass the Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act (S.3607). The Act would permit the families of first responders, who die or are permanently disabled as a result of COVID-19, to receive the same federal benefits extended to first responders, or their survivors, otherwise killed or injured in the line of duty. Current federal law only allows survivors to access certain benefits if the deceased or permanently disabled first responder contracted COVID-19 while on duty.
“Our first responders have been risking their lives to keep people safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said AG Healey. “Congress has a responsibility to make sure that these frontline heroes and their families have access to every federal benefit available.”
The SAFR Act would establish a temporary presumption that officers contracted COVID-19 while on duty if diagnosed within 45 days of a first responder’s last shift. The legislation ensures families of officers and first responders lost while fighting the pandemic do not face unnecessary barriers to benefits already promised under existing federal law.
This legislation is sponsored by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. It passed the United States Senate on May 14, 2020 and is currently being considered by the House of Representatives. The HEROES Act, a comprehensive coronavirus response bill passed in the House on May 15, 2020, includes a similar provision.
This letter is being led by the Attorneys General of Florida and Washington, D.C., and is joined by AG Healey as well as Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.