Reps. Maffei, Capuano Introduce Legislation To Establish National First Responders Day

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Dan Maffei (D-NY) and U.S. Representative Michael Capuano (D-MA) today (Feb. 27) announced they have introduced legislation that will establish a public holiday known as National First Responders Day.

Rep. Maffei began working on this legislation after Fulton resident Beverly Belton, whose life was saved by first responders when her home was destroyed in a fire in 2013, contacted Rep. Maffei and asked him to introduce a bill that would create a day honoring first responders.

“Every day first responders in Central New York and across the country risk their lives to keep our communities safe, and they deserve a day of recognition to honor their bravery and sacrifice,” said Rep. Maffei. “This bill is one meaningful way that we can show our gratitude for their service. It is also a testament to the difference that everyday citizens across Central New York can make, and I’m thankful that Ms. Belton brought this great idea to my attention. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in supporting this important legislation.”

The bill is simple, within 90 days of enactment, the President would be required to designate a legal public holiday that would be treated in the same manner as every other legal public holiday in section 6103(a) of Title 5, U.S.C. This legislation has bipartisan support and 25 original cosponsors.

“I absolutely believe that our first responders deserve this day,” said Belton. “For them, protecting our communities isn’t just about a job or a paycheck; they are caring people who are there for us, protecting us day and night. I am thrilled at how hard Rep. Maffei and his staff have worked on this issue and so grateful for what they have done, and I’m going to continue working to spread awareness about this bill so we can get it passed into law.”

Rep. Maffei’s counterpart on the bill, Rep. Capuano, has been working on this legislation with the family of Officer Sean Collier, who was killed on April 18 by those responsible for the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon.

“When Officer Collier’s family first approached us with this request, they explained that they wanted the legislation to be about all of the men and women who have protected us over the years, not just about what happened in Boston last April. That is the reason we are leaving the choosing of a date up to the President. First responders put their lives on the line for us every day without regard for their own safety,” stated Congressman Capuano.