ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A bill to decrease the number of license suspensions to receive a felony charge is about to hit the State Senate floor for a vote. That could happen as soon as tomorrow.
It’s been around since 2008, but has yet to pass the State Legislature. Angelica’s Law would make it a felony to drive after five suspensions rather than the current ten. The woman behind it says the reason it won’t pass is because of one state assembly member in particular, but he’s no longer in the position.
Angelica’s Law is named after a 14-year-old Long Island resident who lost her life when she was hit by a car that ran a red light. That driver also had seven license suspensions. Angelica’s mom, Dawn Nappi says ever since the incident, it’s been her mission to stop this from happening to anyone else.
“The man who was responsible for this crash and my daughter’s death was only sentenced to six months in jail because it was considered a misdemeanor charge, so my goal over these 15 years was to make a harsher penalty for people who should not be driving behind the wheel of a car with a suspended license,” she says.
The bill has been around since 2008, but has a history of being stalled in the assembly, except this year. Nappi says one reason for this is former Rochester Assemblyman David Gantt, who opposed the bill for a decade. The bill had to be changed to exclude suspensions based on parking tickets or failure to pay child support.
Supporters of the bill like 134th District Assemblyman Josh Jensen say passage of the bill should have happened a while ago. He says it’s common sense legislation holding individuals responsible for their illegal actions.
Even though the bill has changed over the past 15 years, it still means everything to Nappi to finally see the bill so close to passing.
“I have such a range of emotions going through my body right now.”
State Assemblyman Fred Thiele says changing the current law isn’t unreasonable, saying it hasn’t been a deterrent the way it stands now.
We’ve reached out to assembly members who voted “no” to the bill and are expecting a statement from Assemblymember Latrice Walker tonight. If the bill passes the Senate, it’s anticipated to take the governor’s desk before the end of 2023.