As the New York State legislature ended its 2018 session last week, lawmakers enjoyed a few minutes of hilarity as they looked ahead at which party would control the divided state Senate after this fall’s elections.
However, amid the fun and games, they failed to approve legislation that would continue the program of placing speed cameras around New York City schools in an effort to crack down on dangerous driving.
The cameras now in place are scheduled to go dark on July 25, according to the Gothamist.
“They should be ashamed of themselves,” said mother Amy Cohen, whose son, Samuel Cohen Eckstein, 12, was killed in 2013 as he crossed a Brooklyn street, according to CBS New York.
The target of her rage was Sen. Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who caucuses with the Republicans.
As Cohen begged for action on the legislation to renew speed cameras, Felder was having fun with his Republican colleagues, who taped him to a chair with a sign reading “Reserved Threw [sic] 2019”, Fox News reported. The GOP may need Felder to maintain the razor-thin majority it now holds.
Although Felder had time for games, he was more cavalier about letters from constituents about speed cameras, Cohen told CBS.
She told the network she personally delivered constituents’ letters to the lawmaker during a lobbying trip to Albany.
“Hundreds and hundreds of your constituents have written you letters. We hope you will take the time to read them,” Cohen said she told Felder. When Felder would not take them, she said, she threw them at him in an elevator.
Felder said he would only support speed cameras if his proposal for armed guards in schools also passed, according to the Gothamist. As the session ended, neither proposal was approved.
Cohen was livid.
Albany “just issued a death warrant for hundreds of innocent children and New Yorkers,” Cohen said, according to Politico.
“I am just a mother who paid the highest price for this failure to protect our children,” said Cohen. “And I cannot comprehend how they can let politics get in the way of saving lives, how they play it like a game. This is not a game.”
Cohen said she did not want anyone else to live through her nightmare.
“Four years ago I lost my son Sammy to a speeding driver. He would have graduated high school this week with his friends. Instead, I have been fighting ever since to make sure no one else has to lose their child,” she said, according to the Gothamist.
New York City’s Department of Transportation has credited the cameras with reducing injuries by 17 percent and deaths by 55 percent.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said that there is the chance a special legislative session may be called and the issue could be considered then.
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