Something crazy happened in Albany this week: The Assembly passed a bill, then the Senate passed their version of the bill, and then Governor David Paterson signed it into law—all in two days! Yesterday New York instituted the nation's toughest drunk driving law, making it a felony to drive intoxicated with a passenger 15 years old or under. The bill, "Leandra's Law," was named for the 11-year-old New York girl killed in a DWI crash on the West Side Highway last month. At the signing yesterday, Leandra's father Lenny Rosado vowed to take his crusade to Washington and pass the law on the federal level:
From here on, those that think it’s OK to drink and drive - with children in the car or not - will pay the price...This is not going to be where I stop. I'm going to go out there to as many people as I can and educate them about this terrible disease we have out there...and hopefully we can take it all the way up straight to the White House.
Senate President Malcolm Smith told Rosado, "I don’t know how you stand it. I’m not sure, as a father of a 16-year-old, that I could be standing here if I had befallen the challenge that you have… We stand behind you. If you move this to be a national crusade, know that under leader Sampson and myself we stand to move with you." Leandra died October 11th when an allegedly drunk adult crashed a van full of children, killing her and injuring her six friends. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn told reporters, "It is tragic that it had to take the loss of Leandra Rosado's life in order for this to come to our attention and for action to be taken."
Both houses also passed the Authorities Reform Bill Wednesday, which is meant to bring increased transparency to the state's authorities, NY1 reports. But there is still no deal to close the state's $3.2 billion budget deficit. A frustrated Paterson said yesterday, "I don't know how people are walking around here saying we are close to a deal. I don't know people think they are leaving here and I don't know why it is so difficult to understand we have a fiduciary responsibility to the state of New York... and the only way to reduce this deficit are real, recurring cuts."