'Mark's Law,' Hospital Change Fail
There will be no 'Mark's Law' in New York state for the time being.
Nor will Clifton-Fine hospital get to change the rules it operates under.
Despite support from north country legislators, neither measure even made it to the floor of the state assembly for a vote Thursday.
'Mark's Law' was named after emergency medical technician Mark Davis, (seen in the picture) who was shot and killed in Cape Vincent while responding to an emergency.
The law would require life imprisonment without parole for someone who murders a 'first responder' like an emergency medical technician.
The measure passed twice in the state senate, the second time being an attempt to make the law acceptable to the Assembly.
It's never been completely clear where the opposition to the law is coming from, though one frequently repeated rumor has it that a police union did not want the 'life without parole' provision - which now covers only law enforcement officers - expanded to take in other emergency personnel.
"I don't see it being passed in the forseeable future given that I don't believe there's going to be any change in the committee's position," said Addie Russell, (D-Theresa), the Assembly member who pushed for law.
The north country's other Assembly member, Ken Blankenbush (R-Black River) didn't have any more luck with a bill he was pushing.
Blankenbush is trying to get the legal status of Clifton-Fine Hospital changed, so that the hospital is considered a private, not for profit organization.
That would allow the hospital to stop paying state government level retirement benefits and replace them with a 401-K style program.
Without the change, Blankenbush fears for the hospital's future. It's opposed by the state Civil Service Employees Association.
"We've been in discussion with CSEA," Blankenbush told 7 News. "It's their objection to the bill that's holding it up in the Assembly majority conference. They don't like the bill, therefore the majority isn't going to push it out."
A letter from the state comptroller added urgency to Blankenbush's push: it stated the tiny hospital lost $1.5 million over the last three years.
Friday, May 24, 2013, Watertown, NY
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