Gov. Pataki with yesterday’s results. His “civil confinement for sex offenders legislation” will not become law under his tenure as NY State Governor. This measure would “keep sexual predators confined to psychiatric hospitals after they complete their prison terms”. The Assembly rejected this proposal, as it does not allow provisions for juvenile offenders. (I speculate that one reason he wanted this legislation to pass was so that he could use this as a talking point in his presidential campaign.)
Barring an unforeseen last-second compromise, there will be no civil confinement for sex offenders the very issue that prompted Pataki to call the special session. Nor will there be more charter schools, early retirement for state employees or raises for lawmakers, at least for now.
Spitzer left the door open to pay raises for legislators, judges and state commissioners, if the Legislature enacts wide- reaching ethics, lobbying, elections and campaign-finance reforms.
Timothy’s Law was passed, which mandates for mental health insurance coverage equal to other illness coverage for some mental health issues.
The Assembly also passed legislation requiring insurers to cover certain mental health conditions, including major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and eating disorders, and to cover up to 30 days a year of hospitalization and 20 days of outpatient treatment. The Senate has passed the bill, but Mr. Pataki has not said whether he would sign it.
…insurers have to allow a minimum of 20 outpatient visits and 30 inpatient days a year for mental illness. Backers said it would put mental illness on a par with physical illness in regards to insurance coverage. Co-payments and deductibles for mental-health visits would have to be comparable to those for physical ailments. More than three dozen other states have such mental-health “parity” laws.
The state would pay for the extra cost of premiums for businesses that have fewer than 50 employees. Large employers would have to provide additional coverage for children and adults. Self-insured companies and governments would be exempt under federal law.
Let’s hope that Gov. Pataki won’t veto this bill.
Both houses appeared to go beyond mere brinkmanship as they closed their sessions. Senators approved some 60 nominations by Pataki of people to various boards and authorities. It also appointed at least five Court of Claims judges, including Lt. Gov. Mary Donohue and Henry Zwack, executive deputy commissioner and general counsel at the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, and a former Rensselaer County executive. Also approved for the court was Richard Platkin, one of Pataki’s closest legal advisers.
The Senate did not approve two Court of Claims nominees backed by Silver: Dan Conviser, counsel to the Assembly Rules Committee and Elizabeth Foley, director of special investigations for the New York City Department of Education.
Pataki agreed to leave some key state government positions open so they can be filled by Democratic Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer.
Pataki had been criticized by Spitzer and others for filling slots on his way out the door after 12 years in office.
Here’s an honest assessment of yesterday’s session:
“We’re closing the Pataki era in classic fashion,” said state Sen. Eric Schneiderman, D-Manhattan, referring to the governor’s final days in office before his term expires. “There’s a long list of matters we could attend to. But we gavel in and then there’s no agreement on anything and there’s poor communication.”
I can’t wait to see how this legislature is going to operate in conjunction with the Spitzer Administration.