Joined by Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra and Police Captain Joe Rios, Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law Tuesday that creates a special fund for those who suffered psychological trauma after the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
"While almost three months have passed, the anguish of that day is still raw for many," said Malloy in a release from his office Tuesday afternoon. "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."
The bill creates the Sandy Hook Workers Assistance Fund, which lawmakers hope will be filled through private donations. A wide range of professionals are eligible -- from police, fire and other emergency personnel to teachers and other school employees.
The bill was a response to a need to help professionals recovering from Dec. 14. About a dozen Newtown police officers are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, and police have pressed for aid since December.
A prior bill, which would have offered more expansive coverage from the state, failed to gain traction in Hartford after critics said it would open the door to worker's compensation abuse. And some have been wary of the new fund. Stratford resident Linda Antagani, who runs Adopt a Sandy Hook / Newtown Cop program to raise funds for police, told Patch readers on her Facebook feed saw the measure as "a band-aid on a big wound."
But lawmakers are optimistic.
"One of the most important things we can do as a community and a legislature in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy is provide our neighbors -- many of whom have witnessed unimaginable horror and violence -- the resources they need to heal," said Sen. John McKinney, whose district includes Newtown. "This fund is an important step in that direction."