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N.Y. governor vetoes heart disease presumption measure

heart disease

A New York bill to create a heart disease presumption for corrections officers and sheriff’s deputies participating in the New York State and Local Employees’ Retirement System was vetoed by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday.

The bipartisan measure, Assembly Bill 4607, would have amended New York’s retirement and social security law to state that any diseases of the heart contracted by corrections officers, correction supervisors, deputy sheriff patrol or deputy sheriff patrol supervisors should be considered presumptive injuries eligible for state benefits.  

Companion legislation in the Senate, S8558, also met the governor’s veto pen.

Sponsors of the measure said the presumption was necessary because corrections officers and sheriff’s deputies have a statistically high instance of death or disability from heart disease due the nature and stress of their jobs.

Under the bill, a heart disease diagnosis given to qualifying employees would have been presumptive evidence that the disability was incurred in the performance and discharge of their law enforcement duties unless proved to the contrary.

A veto message from the governor was not readily available, and the governor’s press office did not respond to a reporter’s inquiry.

One of the sponsors, Assemblyman William Colton, said he believes the governor vetoed the bill because of financial concerns.

“I believe that it was a budgetary question,” Mr. Colton said. “We may have to make a stronger case.”

Mr. Colton said a supermajority in both legislative chambers could theoretically override the veto, but it is more likely that legislators will have to revise the bill’s wording next year to make it “a little more palatable to the executive.”