Commission to End Childhood Drowning Passes Assembly

Bipartisan Efforts Lead to Bill Passage

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​Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C-Lockport) is pleased to announce the passage of legislation to create the Commission to Prevent Childhood Drowning (A.7734). Norris spearheaded this bipartisan effort at the state Capitol, reaching across the aisle to work with Rockaway Beach Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato and getting the legislation passed by the Assembly in less than four months’ time.

​“This is an example of good government at its best. The issue of childhood drowning is a deeply concerning one for parents and for us all. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to swim,” said Norris. “I introduced a bill (A.6141), worked with my colleagues and we were able to work out an agreement to get a final bill passed before leaving Albany for the summer.”

Norris said, “Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato and I represent very different communities. I am from Western New York, with many rural towns along the Great Lakes and Erie Canal. She is from Queens, New York City, with a very crowded city beach. But we have much in common on this issue, and that’s protecting our constituents – particularly small children – when they are near the water. From there, it was easy to move this forward.” 

​Sadly, drowning is the number one cause of death in children under the age of four, but people of all ages frequently overestimate their swimming abilities, not to mention those who accidentally fall into water over their heads or have boating accidents. An average of 10 people drown every day in the U.S., and 50 percent of people treated for near-drownings need follow-up medical care, making accidents as costly financially as they are to your health and well-being.

Swimming is an essential life skill to have, and Norris has been an advocate of encouraging all New Yorkers to learn to swim. Most municipal recreation programs offer swimming lessons, as do not-for-profits like YMCAs or JCCs. In addition to offering swim lessons, the American Red Cross also offers lifeguarding courses and vital lifesaving courses like CPR classes as well.

​Having passed in the Assembly, the legislation will now need to pass in the state Senate before being considered by the governor to be signed into law. Norris said he hopes these steps will happen soon.

Norris added he is very grateful for the leadership and cooperation of Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato for joining with him on this important effort.