Without a Senate sponsor, new hit-and-run bill falters

06/25/2014 4:00 PM |
Police at the scene of the fatal hit and run on Route 58 near Woodcrest Avenue in  July 2013. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)

Police at the scene of the fatal hit and run on Route 58 near Woodcrest Avenue in July 2013. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)

Harsher punishments for those who flee the scenes of serious car accidents will have to wait another year, lawmakers say, after a pair of bills — one passed by the state Senate, another by the Assembly — failed to get enough support in the opposite house.

The legislative session in Albany ended last week with no agreement on the bills.

In May, the Senate had approved legislation — co-sponsored by state Senator Ken Lavalle — that would have increased penalties across the board for those who flee from accidents, minor or serious. That bill died in the Assembly transportation committee.

Meanwhile, the Assembly passed their own bill last Thursday night, with just hours left in the legislative session.

That legislation was co-sponsored by local Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo, and would have created a new charge for those who flee serious or fatal accidents while driving with a suspended license or a prior conviction for drunk driving or leaving the scene of an accident.

In an interview this week, Mr. LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) said there wasn’t enough time left to compromise on the differences between the two bills. The Assembly’s bill also lacked support in the Senate.