ALBANY—David Paterson vetoed two bills that would have stripped powers from officers of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and would have created an alert system for missing Alzheimer’s patients.
In both instances, Paterson wrote in his veto messages that he agreed with the spirit of both bills, but was sending them back to the legislature on technicalities. Relating to the Alzheimer’s bill, he said that “there are better and more fiscally responsible ways to achieve this goal” like adding a “silver alert” for elderly patients within the existing “amber alert” system for missing children.
Paterson vetoed the other bill because Erie County contracts with a local chapter of the SPCC to provide after-hours services, and “the immediate effective date in this legislation creates an emergency situation for Erie County, as they have no alternative arrangements to provide these services after hours.”
Most of Paterson’s vetoes since taking office have been for fiscal reasons, as was the case with the “silver alert” bill. The governor’s office bragged earlier this year that his veto pen has saved over $500 million in two years, but at times he has been criticized for going too far.
With the “silver alert,” he looks to be toeing that line once again.
On the other piece of legislation, given his crystal clear statements in the veto message for the SPCC bill – “there is just no longer a place for SPCCs to provide child protective services” and “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature to craft a remedy that deals with the problems associated with SPCCs without negatively impacting Erie County” – the veto seems fairly innocuous.