Families of first responders who died from 9/11-related illnesses would benefit under Missouri bill


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Dr. Christopher Bosche was 44 when he died on Sept. 12th, 2017. His 3-year battle with cancer was linked to exposure while responding to Ground Zero following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.  

State Rep. Brenda Shields (R-St. Joseph) said Bosche is one of three first responders from Missouri who died from illnesses linked to their response to 9/11.

“These families have suffered a lot,” she said. “The deaths have not been easy, they have all been cancer-related and I think that they have a lot of medical bills they need to pay.”

That’s why Shields filed HB 1771, which would establish the Christopher J. Bosche Memorial Act. The proposed legislation would allow the families of first responders who died from 9/11-related illnesses to receive a refund of state taxes their loved one paid for the year they died and the three years prior to their death. The Missouri House Ways and Means Committee held a public hearing on the bill Wednesday. 

Shields said her bill mirrors changes made to the federal tax code and told lawmakers, “It is time that we correct this omission from our tax code.”

Committee member Rep. Greg Razer (D-Kansas City) offered support during Wednesday’s hearing.  

“If this can help those families in someway for the sacrifice that these people made in trying to find survivors of that attack and clean up the debris and rebuild our country, I think that’s a small price that we can give back to them,” he said.

Bosche also served time as the medical team manager for Missouri Task Force One and the medical director for the Mehlville Fire Protection District. He responded to disasters around the country including the Joplin tornado.

“It is time that we thank the families who sacrificed so much,” Shields said.

She told lawmakers there were 63 Ground Zero responders from Missouri who would eligible for refunds under her proposed legislation, including the families of the three who died. The families of the remaining 60 Missourians could qualify for the refund but Shields hopes their loved ones go on to live long, healthy lives.

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