Lopez Sex-Abuse Bill, O’Donnell Anti-Bullying Bill Both Advance

ALBANY—Before the Assembly went into budget mode, the Codes Committee met and advanced two bills. The first, the Dignity for

ALBANY—Before the Assembly went into budget mode, the Codes Committee met and advanced two bills.

The first, the Dignity for All Students Act had only one dissenter—Assemblyman Dave Townsend—after sponsor Danny O'Donnell amended it to explicitly prevent bullying by weight.

"I'm hoping to get a unanimous vote," O'Donnell told me on the chamber floor.

Assemblyman Vito Lopez's bill to extend the statute of limitations for sex-abuse victims was also voted out of committee today; it was previously laid aside on March 17.

That day, the committee instead advanced a bill that could  open the door to more lawsuits because of a clause that allows a window for filing suits currently outside the statute of limitations. It hasn't been voted on by the full chamber.

The bill that passed today is an amended version of Lopez's bill; it would make employers liable for sexual abuse committed by employees and it removes a requirement in the first bill that notices of claim against public institutions and employees be filed within 90 days of an alleged incident. O'Donnell called this a "poison pill" to which municipalities would never agree.

"There's two bills, and I'm hoping now they'll be conferenced," Lopez said today. "I'm hoping that we'll reach a reasonable, responsible compromise to this important issue."

Assemblywoman Marge Markey, who sponsored the bill that was already advanced, did not seem as excited as Lopez.

"He's never had his bill passed," she said. "One bill has a solid voting record of being passed in the Assembly."

Lopez said, "The momentum has shifted. Even the governor has praised the Lopez bill." Lopez Sex-Abuse Bill, O’Donnell Anti-Bullying Bill Both Advance