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State Senate Approves Package of Anti-Terrorism Bills

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – State lawmakers continue to spar over anti-terrorism bills -- including proposals to combat biological, agricultural and cyber-terrorism.

The Republican-controlled Senate Tuesday passed the anti-terrorism legislation, 52-8 -- but not without heated objections from several Democratic senators. They complained that the bills were introduced so fast they couldn't acquaint themselves fully with their provisions.

One of the bills, sponsored by Williamsville Republican Mary Lou Rath, would allow local governments to recoup their costs from those found guilty of perpetrating a terrorist hoax.

"Some people think it's a prank or something that will give them notoriety," Rath said. "That's not something we can allow in post 9/11 America. These people need to be punished. And they need to make restitution because municipalities spend a lot of money responding."

The Democratic-controlled State Assembly is reviewing the Senate legislation. The Democrats have questioned whether some of the anti-terrorism measures would impinge on the constitutional rights of New Yorkers.

Governor Pataki made a rare appearance on the Senate floor Tuesday to promote the bills.