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Will this be year for Alix's Law?

WBFO News File Photo

Elma Republican Patrick Gallivan said it is frustrating and troubling that the bill he sponsored - named for a teenager who was killed by a hit-and-run driver - has been passed unanimously, again, in the State Senate, but for several years has failed to come to a vote in the Assembly. The future of the bill is unclear. This is the 5th consecutive year the Senate has approved the measure and, every year, it has failed to come to a vote in the Assembly.

"It's very frustrating that the Assembly has refused to take this up for a vote and I don't know why," said Gallivan. "I point out that it passed in a bipartisan fashion unanimously in the Senate and it's very troubling that the Assembly has not taken it up to this point."

Alix's Law is named for Alix Rice, who in 2011 was struck and killed by a drunk driver as she rode home on her long board in Amherst. The driver charged in her death - Dr. James Corasanti - was acquitted on the felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident, arguing he left because he did not know he had struck someone.

Current law requires drivers to report an accident only when they know or have reason to know the accident resulted in an injury or property damage. Alix's Law would make it illegal to leave the scene of any accident while intoxicated.

It was approved this week in the Senate by a vote of 58-0 and now goes to the Assembly. Gallivan said Alix's family also is frustrated with the delay.

"To their credit, Alix left a tremendous legacy," said Gallivan, "and they continue to stand up to honor that legacy and stand up to try to make positive change to prevent future victims."

Gallivan, a former Erie County sheriff, said he is more hopeful of passage this year. Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes is helping push through the bill in her house, for which he thanks the Buffalo Democrat. Gallivan said this "dangerous loophole in the law" needs to be closed so drunk drivers are held accountable for their actions.