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Cuomo signs firefighter law

August 6, 2014

MONTICELLO, NY — Sen. John Bonacic announced on August 4 that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed Senate Bill 1885-C sponsored by Bonacic, which would require prospective volunteer firefighters to authorize a background check for sex offense convictions upon the submission of their application.

The bill would also allow individual fire companies to determine if the prospective volunteer shall be eligible to become a volunteer member of the fire company if a sex offense is found.

“Volunteer fire department personnel should have all the means necessary to keep convicted sex offenders from becoming volunteers and remove any who presently serve,” said Senator Bonacic. “Oftentimes, volunteer firefighters are in situations where children and families are present, whether in the actions of a fire or medical emergency, but they also take part in community and school events. This will give those that approve new volunteer firefighters the support they need. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this common sense measure into law.”

The bill also allows departments to screen current volunteers for sexual offense convictions, to terminate any with a conviction for sexual offenses, and to shield municipalities with volunteer fire departments from potential lawsuits from such convicted sex offender volunteers.