New Jersey lawmakers could soon pass a measure designed to help make sure first responders get the medical benefits they're entitled to if they get sick after a terror attack or some other catastrophe.

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Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Stender would create a rebuttable presumption of workers' compensation coverage for any death or disability, including post traumatic stress disorder, if the death or disability arises from the physical or psychological impact of stress or injury experienced by a public safety worker engaged in response to a terrorist attack, epidemic, or other catastrophic emergency, in which the worker is exposed to pathogens or biological toxins from biological warfare or epidemics, hazardous chemicals used in, or related to, chemical warfare, or cancer-causing radiation or radioactive substances, or witnesses death and suffering of a magnitude sufficient to cause significant psychological trauma.

"We so appreciate the work our first responders do, our police, our firefighters, our medical personnel, and assume that they will be taken care of. Well this is to make sure they are taken care of," says Stender.

She says these individuals should not have to go out and be forced to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt they've been exposed to some really difficult or life-threatening condition.

"They put their lives on the line for us," she says. "It's only right that if they need help as a result of their work that they will get all the coverage that they need."

The measure could be voted on by the full lower House in the coming weeks.


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