Gallivan Continues Push for ‘Alix’s Law’

Senate has passed bill six straight years with no success in Assembly

Tom Puckett
July 10, 2017 - 4:00 am

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) As the Alix Rice Peace Park breaks ground, a state senator continues his push to close a loophole associated with Rice's death. 

Back in 2011, Rice died after being hit by a drunk driver who claimed he was not aware he hit Rice and was acquitted on the felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident.  The defendant was convicted on a lesser charge of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. "The loophole would be closed, saying you can't use intoxication as an excuse for not knowing you were in an accident," says State Senator Patrick Gallivan. He says the bill modifies the current statute so that drivers illegally operating their vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol are held responsible when they leave the scene of an accident. It also presumes that an intoxicated driver knew, or has reason to know, that damage or injury has occurred and should have stopped to investigate.

While the Senate has passed it for six years, the Assembly has not done the same. "We've tried to accommodate concerns about the language in the bill," says Gallivan. "It's my job to herd the bill through the Senate and it's the sponsor's job in the Assembly to push the bill there, so I don't know what the issue is." Gallivan says he hopes to meet with those in the Assembly who oppose it and take the guidance of Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes in guiding the bill forward in the future. Peoples-Stokes sponsored the bill this year.

Gallivan says he will try again next year. 

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