Stalled hit-and-run bills concern victims' families

Prosecutors in Nassau and Suffolk counties have been pushing for stiffer penalties against hit-and-run drivers, but the bills have stalled in the state Legislature.

On Tuesday, Speaker Carl Heastie told News 12 he is "unaware" of bills stalled in the Assembly that would increase the prison sentences against hit-and-run and unlicensed drivers.

"I'll have to go back and check on it," he told News 12. "Sometimes, there could be different technical things why bills don't pass."

Dawn Nappi, who lost her daughter seven years ago, says she's been lobbying Albany and thinks Heastie is trying to ignore the issue.

"It's in the news all the time," says Nappi. "We're constantly talking about it, so to say that they aren't aware of it, it kind of shows me that they are just trying to avoid it."

Bills have made it out of the Senate, but then become bogged down in the Assembly Transportation Committee.

Committee chairman David Gantt says he's against raising penalties against hit-and-run drivers and suspended drivers. He says "more punishment won't fix bad drivers."

Both Long Island district attorneys disagree.

Suspended drivers who cause injury or death currently face a maximum of seven years. Acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas says punishment should be 15 years.

Similar bills to raise penalties have been turned down in the state Assembly for the past five years.

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