Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) today expressed satisfaction with a new Timothy’s Law that passed both houses of the State legislature in a special session Wednesday, and now awaits the Governor’s signature. The measure requires adults and children with mental illnesses to receive the same health care coverage benefits as those provided for any other physical ailment.
Hawley originally opposed the legislation, stating it placed an impossible financial burden on small businesses. The new version exempts businesses of fifty or fewer employees from being responsible for coverage.
“I always felt that this law was important, especially when it comes to the well being of children,” said Hawley. “In its original form however, it would have placed yet another impossible mandate on small businesses, making it even more difficult for small employers to operate in this state.”
Timothy’s Law is named after Timothy O’Clair who was twelve years old when he committed suicide. The family has attributed the tragedy to a dysfunctional insurance system in New York State that discriminated against the needs of their son and has been lobbying the legislature for passage of the bill.
“I hope this law will help prevent another family from experiencing this unimaginable loss,” said Hawley. “The O’Clair family has been diligent in getting this law passed, and I commend them for the courage they have shown.”