Even if Speaker Carl Heastie (r.) gets the bill passed through the Assembly, its fate in the Senate, led by Majority Leader John Flanagan (l.), is unknown. (MIKE GROLL/AP)
BY KENNETH LOVETT NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
ALBANY — The longtime sponsor of a bill to help victims of child sex abuse seek justice on Tuesday declared the measure dead for the current legislative session.
Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Queens) said she doesn’t expect a deal to be reached by Gov. Cuomo, the Assembly, and Senate before the session ends on Thursday.
Markey said the Assembly is not even likely to take up a bill it had drafted on the issue until after the fall elections at the earliest.
“This is an election year and why put some people in jeopardy if the bill is not going anywhere (in the Senate)?” she said.
But a spokesman for Speaker Carl Heastie was quick to deny a decision on the fate of the Assembly bill has been made.
He said a vote could come at any time on the bill that would extend the time child sex abuse victims can bring cases by five years, open a six-month window to revive old cases, and treat public and private entities equally when it comes to child sex abuse cases.
Melanie Blow, COO of the Stop Abuse Campaign, is one of many advocates lobbying the Senate to make their case. (JEFFERSON SIEGEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Even if it passes, the GOP-led Senate is not expected to take up the measure, which is opposed by the Catholic Church over the six-month window for old cases and by some victim advocates who don’t think the legislation goes far enough.
Markey said she is disappointed another legislative session is seemingly coming to an end without a law being adopted to help survivors of child sex abuse.
“I feel in a sense I’m letting the victims down,” she said. “But I’m not giving up.”
She said she is hopeful the issue will face a better reception in the Senate if the Democrats can grab control of the majority in the November elections.
“I really think the Senate will turn,” she said.
Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (l.) joined by her Child Victims Act co-sponsor, Sen. Brad Hoylman (r.), said she was disappointed in the legislature's inaction on this important issue. (JEFFERSON SIEGEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Senate Democratic Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins urged state leaders to strike a last-minute deal that will aid victims.
“We have two days left,” Stewart-Cousins said. “This bill is crucial and unfortunately we may be waiting on a miracle now. I just hope that everyone understands how important this is and we commit to providing justice to the victims of these heinous crimes.”
The Senate Democrats introduced the most comprehensive version of the Child Victims Act, only to watch the Senate GOP block it from coming to the floor.
The bill would have done away entirely with the statute of limitations on criminal and civil child sex abuse cases and opened a one-year window to revive old cases. And like the Assembly bill, it would have treated public and private entities the same when it comes to child sex abuse cases.
Advocates on Tuesday were trying to cling to hope, with some traveling to the Capitol to make their case outside the Senate.
“I am convinced that everything we do this year will get us closer to the result we want,” said Melanie Blow, of Stop Abuse Campaign. “It is horrible that we have a building full of politicians who think protecting children will cost them an election. I think that shows where the problem is.”
Let's make it Not protecting children will cost them the election. Make the GOP Senators pay for their lack of empathy for victims and their obvious support of the perpetrators. They should be ashamed and they should be thrown out of office.