December 5, 2006 | Other News
FYI. The Depleted Uranium Bills (A-9116B and S-6964A) were finally signed into law by Governor Pataki on November 17th. I was waiting for some sort of Press Release from the Governor before I sent it out to everyone but none was put out. It is my hope that Governor-elect Spitzer will adequately man and fund this law so that those serving in the New York State National Guard and Reserves will be treated with the medical care that they have earned and deserve! Special thanks (and love) goes to Joan Walker-Wasylyk for her tireless dedication to this cause and to Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz (81st Assembly District/Bronx) and NY State Senator Morahan (38th Senate District/Rockland, Orange Counties) for sponsoring the bills. Lastly, thanks to all of you who were instrumental in fighting to get these bills passed. While we should all be proud the real work now begins! – Joe Bello
GOVERNOR SIGNS MORAHAN LEGISLATION PROVIDING MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL AND VETERANS EXPOSED TO TOXIC AND RADIOACTIVE METAL
Monday, November 20, 2006
Senator Thomas P. Morahan, Chairman of the State Legislature’s Armed Forces Committee, and a member of the New York State Senateâ€™s Veterans, Homeland Security & Military Affairs Committee, announced that on November 17, 2006, Governor Pataki signed into law legislation which will ensure that military personnel and veterans of New York State get the best screening and treatment for exposure to toxic and radioactive metal, particularly depleted uranium (D. U.).
Depleted uranium was widely used for the first time during the Gulf War to make anti-tank munitions and armor-plating for Abrams tanks. Exposure to depleted uranium has become a health problem for soldiers who have been struck by shrapnel containing uranium or who have inhaled uranium particles released by the combustion of depleted uranium weapons.
“This new law, which I sponsored in the Senate directs the Stateâ€™s Division of Veteransâ€™ Affairs to assist any military member or veteran in obtaining federal treatment services for exposure to depleted uranium. It also establishes a task force to study the health effects of exposure to hazardous materials, sets up a registry for those who may have been exposed, and will report on the effects of depleted uranium exposure,” said Morahan, himself a veteran of the Korean Conflict.
It is believed that hundreds of U. S. personnel were exposed to D. U. during the Persian Gulf War. Experts fear even higher numbers of people have been exposed to toxic and radioactive metal in Iraq.
LAWS OF NEW YORK, 2006
AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to assisting members and
veterans in obtaining treatment services for exposure to toxic materi-
als or harmful physical agents such as depleted uranium; to amend the
public health law, in relation to providing information on harmful
physical agents to veterans; and to establish a task force to study
the effects of health problems due to military service such as the
exposure to depleted uranium
Became a law November 19, 2006, with the approval of the Governor.
Passed by a majority vote, three-fifths being present.
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
bly, do enact as follows:
Section 1. Legislative intent. The legislature finds that pre-deploy-
ment health assessments and post-deployment assessments and reassess-
ments for evaluating Gulf War Veterans are required under Section 1074f
of title 10, United States Code.
The legislature finds that Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Hand-
book outlines the policy and procedures evaluating Gulf War veterans,
including those who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, with possible
exposure to depleted uranium. Army Regulation 700-48 prescribes policy
and procedures for the management of equipment contaminated with
depleted uranium or radioactive commodities. The regulation applies to
the department of the army, U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard.
The legislature finds that many veterans who have served in the
Persian Gulf area since the 1990s have been experiencing health prob-
The legislature hereby declares that an examination of the medical
issues and exposure of troops to toxic materials or harmful physical
agents such as depleted uranium should be explored.
The legislature also declares that assisting troops who are members of
the New York Army National Guard and New York Air National Guard who
have been federalized and sent to combat theater areas or combat zones
and have returned home to New York state is warranted.
Â§ 2. The executive law is amended by adding a new section 366 to read
Â§ 366. Veterans health screening. 1. As used in this section: a.
“Eligible member” means a member of the New York army national guard or
the New York air national guard who served in the Persian Gulf War, as
defined in 38 USC 101, or in an area designated as a combat zone by the
president of the United States during Operation Enduring Freedom or
Operation Iraqi Freedom;
b. “Veteran” means a person, male or female, resident of this state,
who has served in the active military, naval or air service of the
United States during a time of war in which the United States engaged
and who has been released from such service otherwise than by dishonor-
able discharge, or who has been furloughed to the reserve;
EXPLANATION–Matter in italics is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law
&nbbsp; to be omitted.
CHAP. 743 2
c. “Military physician” includes a physician who is under contract
with the United States department of defense to provide physician
services to members of the armed forces; and
d. “Depleted uranium” means uranium containing less uranium-235 than
the naturally occurring distribution of uranium isotopes.
2. On and after February first, two thousand seven, the adjutant
general and the state director shall assist any eligible member or
veteran who has been experiencing health problems. Such problems may
include exposure to toxic materials or harmful physical agents such as
depleted uranium. An eligible member or veteran who has been assigned a
risk level I, II or III for depleted uranium exposure by his or her
branch of service, is referred by a military physician, or has reason to
believe that he or she was exposed to toxic materials or harmful phys-
ical agents such as depleted uranium during such service, in obtaining
federal treatment services. Such treatment shall include, but not be
limited to, a best practice health screening test for exposure to
depleted uranium using a bioassay procedure involving sensitive methods
capable of detecting depleted uranium at low levels and the use of
equipment with the capacity to discriminate between different radioiso-
topes in naturally occurring levels of uranium and the characteristic
ratio and marker for depleted uranium. As more scientific reliable
tests become available such test shall be included in the treatment
protocol. No state funds shall be used to pay for such tests or such
other federal treatment services.
3. On or before February first, two thousand seven, the adjutant
general shall submit a report to the chair of the senate veterans, home-
land security and military affairs committee and the chair of the assem-
bly veterans’ affairs committee on the scope and adequacy of training
received by members of the New York army national guard and the New York
air national guard on detecting whether their service as eligible
members is likely to entail, or to have entailed, exposure to toxic
materials or harmful physical agents such as depleted uranium. The
report shall include an assessment of the feasibility and cost of adding
predeployment training concerning potential exposure to depleted uranium
and other toxic chemical substances and the precautions recommended
under combat and noncombat conditions while in a combat theater or
combat zone of operations.
Â§ 3. Section 3803 of the public health law, as added by chapter 106 of
the laws of 2003, is amended to read as follows:
Â§ 3803. Veterans health care information program. 1. There is hereby
created within the department the veterans health care information
program (referred to in this section as the “program”), which shall
provide information on health issues associated with military duty,
including but not limited to Agent Orange, Gulf War [Syndrome]
Syndromes, toxic materials or harmful physical agents such as, depleted
uranium, and hepatitis C, for veterans, their surviving spouses and
health care providers.
2. The program shall include but not be limited to the following
(a) public service announcements; [and]
(b) establishment of a toll-free telephone hotline to provide informa-
tion regarding health care providers and treatment centers with exper-
tise in illnesses associated with military duty; and
(c) establish a veterans health information clearing house on-line.
3. In exercising any of his or her powers under this section, the
commissioner shall consult with appropriate health care professionals,
3 CHAP. 743
providers, veterans or organizations representing them, the division of
veterans’ affairs [and], the federal department of veterans’ affairs and
the United States defense department.
4. The commissioner may make rules and regulations necessary and
appropriate for the implementation of this section.
Â§ 4. (a) There is hereby established a task force on health problems
due to military service to study the health effects of exposure to toxic
materials or harmful physical agents such as depleted uranium, as they
relate to military service. The task force shall, within available
appropriations and with the approval of the temporary president of the
senate and the speaker of the assembly, and subject to the provisions of
(1) commission a study to consider the health of service members who
have been exposed to toxic materials or harmful physical agents, such as
depleted uranium since August 2, 1990, and conduct a scientific confer-
ence on such health effects;
(2) develop in conjunction with the department of health, state direc-
tor of veterans’ affairs and the adjutant general a health registry for
veterans and military personnel returning from Afghanistan, Iraq and
other countries in which exposure to toxic materials or harmful physical
agents such as depleted uranium may be found;
(3) develop a plan for outreach to and follow-up of military personnel
and veterans in consultation with the division of veterans’ affairs and
the adjutant general;
(4) prepare a report for service members and veterans concerning
potential exposure to toxic materials or harmful physical agents such as
depleted uranium and the precautions recommended under combat and non-
combat conditions while in a combat theater or combat zone; and
(5) make any other recommendations the task force considers appropri-
(b) The task force shall consist of eleven members to be appointed as
follows: five members to be appointed by the governor, two members to be
appointed by the temporary president of the senate, one member to be
appointed by the minority leader of the senate, two members to be
appointed by the speaker of the assembly and one member to be appointed
by the minority leader of the assembly. Of such appointments:
(1) two members who are veterans with knowledge of or experience with
exposure to toxic materials or harmful physical agents such as depleted
uranium appointed, one each, by the temporary president of the senate
and the speaker of the assembly; and
(2) four members who are physicians or scientists with knowledge of or
experience in the detection or health effects to exposure to toxic mate-
rials or harmful physical agents such as depleted uranium appointed, one
each, by the temporary president of the senate, the speaker of the
assembly, the minority leader of the senate and the minority leader of
(3) in addition to the foregoing appointed members, the following
state officers, or their designees, shall serve as ex-officio members of
the task force:
(i) the state director of veterans’ affairs;
(ii) the commissioner of the department of health; and
(iii) the adjutant general.
(c) The person retained to conduct the study under subdivision (a) of
this section shall, prior to being retained, disclose to the appointing
authority any research done by such person (1) on any matters related to
exposure to toxic materials or harmful physical agents such as depleted
CHAP. 743 4
uranium, or (2) that was funded by an entity that is engaged in manufac-
turing processes that use toxic materials or harmful physical agents
such as depleted uranium.
(d) All appointments to the task force shall be made no later than
thirty days after the effective date of this act. Any vacancy shall be
filled by the appointing authority.
(e) No appointed member shall be a member of the executive, legisla-
tive, or judicial branch of the state government at the time of his or
(f) The temporary president of the senate and the speaker of the
assembly shall appoint chairpersons of the task force among the members
appointed under subdivision (b) of this section. The chairpersons shall
schedule the first meeting of the task force, which shall be held no
later than sixty days after the effective date of this act.
(g) The members of the task force shall receive no compensation for
their service, but members who are not state officials shall be reim-
bursed for their actual and necessary expenses, including travel
expenses, incurred in the performance of their duties. State officials
and employees shall be entitled to such reimbursement for actual and
necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as task
force members as otherwise provided by law or rules and regulations.
(h) The task force shall issue and submit a report on its findings and
recommendations to the chair of the senate veterans, homeland security
and military affairs committee and the chair of the assembly veterans’
affairs committee. Such report shall be transmitted to the governor,
temporary president of the senate and the speaker of the assembly. The
report shall be filed no later than thirty days after the completion of
the responsibilities set forth by subdivision a of this section.
Â§ 5. This act shall take effect immediately, provided, however, that
the task force established pursuant to section four of this act shall
expire and be terminated on the first day next succeeding the date of
the submission of its report as provided in section four of this act
and; provided further, however, that the chairpersons of the task force
shall notify the legislative bill drafting commission upon the
submission of its report as provided for in section four of this act in
order that the commission may maintain an accurate and timely effective
data base of the official text of the laws of the state of New York in
furtherance of effecting the provisions of section 44 of the legislative
law and section 70-b of the public officers law.
The Legislature of the STATE OF NEW YORK ss:
Pursuant to the authority vested in us by section 70-b of the Public
Officers Law, we hereby jointly certify that this slip copy of this
session law was printed under our direction and, in accordance with such
section, is entitled to be read into evidence.
JOSEPH L. BRUNO SHELDON SILVER
Temporary President of the Senate Speaker of the Assembly