Special Session Ends in Disappointment

December 14, 2006

The state Legislature met in the Capitol recently for a special session called forth by the governor. The sole purpose of this session was to debate and vote on civil confinement legislation. While the state Senate passed the measure with no opposition, the Assembly majority conference refused to allow it to be brought to the floor where its merits could be debated and voted on. I am extremely disappointed with this irresponsible action by the Assembly Majority to waste time and taxpayers’ money.

For the last 13 years, the state Senate repeatedly passed meaningful civil confinement legislation, yet it is continually blocked from the house floor by the Assembly majority. Last week this same legislation was unanimously passed by the state Senate, with strong bi-partisan support, including Lieutenant Governor-elect Paterson. I continue to support this legislation because it is imperative we do all we can to protect the general public from violent sexual predators who are likely to repeat their actions if left unchecked.

Because of the failure of the Assembly majority to let civil confinement legislation be brought to a vote, another session will elapse with no mechanism in place to keep the most violent sexual predators away from the law-abiding public. Although not all Level 3 offenders pose significant threats to society, without a civil confinement law there is no effective process in place to keep the most violent sexual predators out of our neighborhoods.

It is imperative that we address this matter as soon as possible. I will continue with members of my minority conference to invite the Speaker and his majority conference to join us and both parties of the state Senate to support meaningful civil confinement legislation in what should be a non-partisan issue. Government’s number one job is to provide for the safety of the public and having a civil confinement law follows that ethos. I encourage those who share this ideal to call members of the Majority and the Speaker’s office to reconvene this month for another special session of the Assembly to allow a debate and vote on civil confinement legislation.