New York legislators concentrated on crime issues on the first day of this year’s legislative session. While the Republican-controlled Senate passed a law calling for the lifetime registration of all convicted sex offenders, the Democratic-controlled Assembly passed bills that would crack down on guns and firearms, says the New York Times. The pledges of cooperation that both houses made last week, when Gov. George E. Pataki delivered his State of the State address, evaporated during a day of partisan bickering.
The legislature is under pressure to reach an agreement on the sex offender bill, Megan’s Law, before Jan. 21, when hundreds of convicted sex offenders are scheduled to begin to drop off the state registry that lists their addresses, alerting communities to their presence. The Senate wants lifetime registration for all convicted offenders, while the Assembly urges a yearlong extension of the registry. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver cautioned against New York’s passing a law before federal regulations are settled. Silver accused Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno of using the sex offender issue to distract attention from gun control legislation. Like legislation the Assembly has passed in previous years, it would ban armor-piercing bullets and puts stricter controls on legal gun sales.