Firefighters Push For 'Mark's Law'

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The Firemen's Association of The State of New York (FASNY) will renew its push for passage of 'Mark's Law,' which mandates life without parole for anyone convicted of killing a 'first responder' - a firefighter, police officer or emergency medical technician at the scene of an emergency.

The bill is named after Cape Vincent emergency medical technician Mark Davis, who was killed by a man he was trying to help while responding to a medical emergency call.

The bill passed in the state Senate but stalled in the Assembly. This year, Republican state Senator Patty Ritchie is reintroducing the original Mark's Law in the Senate, while Democratic Assembly member Addie Russell is introducing a modified version of the law in the Assembly that adds more provisions.

All of which makes volunteer firefighters somewhat  frustrated.

""All of our guys have written letters, contacted our assembly people, contacted our senators, to get it done," said Lawrence Hall Jr., 1st assistant chief of the West Carthage fire department Sunday.

The West Carthage fire department hosted a meeting of FASNY Sunday to discuss what firefighters want the state legislature to do in the coming session.

Mark's Law figures prominently, especially after the December 24 ambush killing of two volunteer firefighters in a suburb of Rochester.

"It's scary, because now you're starting to think 'Gee, I've got to watch out for another element, besides the emergency that I'm responding to, that could take my life,'" said Thomas Arsenault, from the Firemen's Association.

The group's lobbyist, Peter O'Connell, sounded optimistic on the subject.

"This year, hopefully, the time has come for some action on it," O'Connell said.

But with the Assembly version adding new provisions, not everyone is convinced Mark's Law will make it through the Assembly.

"When you put so many stipulations on the bill, it gives more people in the Assembly a chance to vote against it," said Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush, R-117th District.
 

Saturday, August 23, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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