Assemblyman Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) today called on the Assembly majority to bring to the floor of the Assembly for vote, legislation to "fix" New York’s capital punishment laws and establish civil confinement regulations. The state’s capital punishment statute was struck down last year as unconstitutional by the state Court of Appeals, effectively banning the imposition of the death penalty as a sentencing option in criminal cases.
Kolb noted that 11 majority members on the Assembly Codes Committee last week voted against a proposal to bring a revised death penalty bill to the Assembly floor for debate and a vote. Kolb added the bill deserves to be debated, and the public has a right to know how each legislator voted on this important piece of legislation.
"Apparently, these 11 majority members forgot there were 139 other members elected to the state Assembly," Kolb said. "By not allowing this important issue to be voted on by the entire house, the Assembly majority is attempting to thwart the democracy that we were all elected to preserve."
Kolb joined his Assembly minority colleagues to urge the majority-controlled Assembly Codes Committee to reconsider its decision and approve moving the legislation to the floor, where it can be debated and voted on by all Assembly members.
He noted that the majority members who control the Assembly Mental Health Committee voted the same day to keep from the Assembly floor important civil confinement legislation aimed at keeping New York’s most violent sexual predators confined after their prison sentences end. Civil confinement would give judges the option of ordering the most dangerous sexual predators held in secure mental facilities to receive proper medical treatment.
"Keeping legislation from the floor is a backhanded attempt at controlling bills, and not allowing the democratic process to approve or reject this legislation. Once again, the majority conference is putting politics before policy, and is choosing to block legislation that would protect our most vulnerable citizens," Kolb continued. "Some progress has been made in reforming the rules that govern the Assembly, but last Tuesday’s action by these two committees demonstrates the need for further rules reform. I’ll continue to fight to make sure these important issues are addressed by the Legislature this year."