Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law today that will help the first responders, teachers and others who have suffered the effects of post-traumatic stress after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.
A bipartisan group of state lawmakers formed The Sandy Hook Workers Assistance Fund, which will be administered by the state, but funded through private donations.
Current workers compensation laws don't allow first responders and others to take time off for post-traumatic stress disorder and this legislation would give people directly affected by the tragedy the financial safety net to take the time off- to cope.
The fund, which lawmakers passed unanimously, is expected to help between 150 and 200 people.
“While almost three months have passed, the anguish of that day is still raw for many. The creation of this fund will allow first responders, school employees, and other professionals and volunteers who so bravely responded to this horrific event to receive the support they deserve,” Malloy said. “I want to commend the members of the General Assembly for coming together in a bipartisan manner to provide relief to those who have been affected by this tragedy.”
Most officers with the Newtown Police Department continue to cope with the horror they experienced on Dec. 14 and the days and weeks that followed.
Most have returned to work, but many continue to have challenges.
"Some of us come back too early and realize we should have stayed home and rested a little longer," Det. Jason Frank, a 17-year veteran of the Newtown Police Department, said.
AT&T, Dominion Resources, Covidien, WWE, CT Trial Lawyers, Northeast Utilities, CT Bar Association as well as The New England Cable Television Association are contributing to the fund.
Companies have already pledged several hundred thousand dollars.
"I cannot imagine the horror and tragedy that these first responders, teachers, I can't imagine what they saw and went through," Stephanie McMahon, of Stamford-based WWE, said. "It is incredibly important to unite together to support this community."
WWE pledged $10,000 and McMahon said she will personally match that amount.
The United Way will also take donations from the public.