Locally elected officials have called on state lawmakers to override Governor David Paterson’s veto of a bill requiring the Suffolk County Department of Social Services to notify police when a homeless sex offender moves into temporary housing. The governor vetoed the bill on Sunday. “We find ourselves here today totally surprised,” state Senator Brian Foley (D-Blue Point) said at a press conference outside the Suffolk County Police Department’s 7th precinct in Shirley on Monday. “We were appalled to find out the governor of the state vetoed this bill.” Mr. Paterson’s said the bill would absolve sex offenders of their duty to report their name and address to the state’s sex offender registry.
Mr. Foley and state Assemblyman Marc Alessi (D-Shoreham) said the governor’s veto is based on faulty reasoning. “I don’t agree with the governor’s assertion that this would alleviate the offender’s duty to report; that is still intact in the law,” said Mr. Alessi, who was at the press conference. “This does not take away the requirement that the offenders have to report themselves.”
According to the governor’s veto message, the bill might also violate the state constitution’s home rule provision, which protects the rights of local governments.
“The irony to the [home rule] point is that it was the local county government that has advocated for the passage of this legislation,” said Mr. Foley. “I come from town and county government and we don’t see this as a violation of home rule.” The bill was passed unanimously in the Senate and was opposed by one member in the Assembly.
Mr. Foley said the bill’s bipartisan support in a polarized Senate indicates its firm grounding.
Mr. Foley and Mr. Alessi, along with other lawmakers including Legislator Kate Browning (WF-Shirley), are calling on other state lawmakers to override the veto. “An override will enable our communities to be safer. It will enable our communities to be better protected. It will allow the Suffolk Police Department to do a better job,” Mr. Foley said. “This is a belt and suspenders approach for making our families safer,” Mr. Alessi said. “Who can ask for better than that?”