Assemblywoman Russell holding up UTV bill
Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 7:00 am

Letter to Editor:

Last year Senator Ritchie was successful in getting her bill in the Senate passed, which by the way was the third time she has been successful in doing this.

Assemblywoman Addie Russell effectively halted any hopes of getting the UTC bill passed in the Assembly by inserting language into her bill that mandated the requirement of seatbelts and roll bars. The manufacturers already build these machines with roll bars and seatbelts. Now the language in the Senate bill and the language in the Assembly bill did not match and this effectively prevented any hopes for passage of a bill to legally register UTV’s. I believe this was intentionally done by Assemblywoman Russell.

This year Assemblywoman Russell got cute and insisted on including language in her bill that not only included the requirement of seatbelts and roll bars but also included the restriction of a maximum of three riders on UTV’s even if they were designed for four persons and even if they came in under the proposed maximum weight allowance of 1500 lbs.

Reluctantly, and in the spirit of cooperation to get this bill passed in this legislative session, Senator Ritchie change the language in her bill and was successful in getting it passed on June 17, this being the fourth time that she has succeeded in doing this. Now everything looks like a “go.” Senator Ritchie works tirelessly on everything she is involved in.

Ask her a question and you better be prepared for an answer. It may not be what you want to hear, but she will tell you right up front why she supports or does not support an issue. She does not say one thing and then do just the opposite.

Now comes the Addie Russel “dog and pony show.” It looks like the bill will finally make it through this time. So on June 17 she decided to add the “englebright bill” to the ATV weight limit bill which would forgid ATV use on State Forest Preserve Lands as well as on a parcel around Albany and a parcel around New York City. The measure would effectively kill our hopes of getting a cross-country trail through St. Lawrence County because there are some short section of state land that need to accessed and it would also shut down many other current trails and prevent any hopes of opening any trails in the future that would cross State Forest Preserve lands.

A bad bill is worse than no bill. I am a voting member of the St. Lawrence County Recreational Trails Board and we voted unanimously to reject the inclusion of the Engldebright Bill.

It is my belief that this was an intentional ploy by Assemblywoman Russell to effectively put a halt to the UTV Weight Bill. She pretends to be working so diligently to get a bill passed and on the flip-side she is also working with the environmentalists to literally kill the bill or at least water it down so much that ATVing as we know it would become a thing of the past.

I laugh at the argument that downstate lawmakers stand by regarding heavier vehicles causing more damage to trails. There is a fewer pounds per inch compression on the ground from a UTC than there is from a human foot.

Let’s pretend this bill is about a horse trail and lawmakers allow Arabian and Appolosa horses on the trial, but not quarter-horses because they weigh a few pounds more. I would like to purchase a UTV and would like to have power-steering on it, but that will disqualify registering it because that would put it about 40 pounds over the current limit. Ridiculous.

Addie Russell supports Common Core and has also voted for Gov. Cuomo’s SAFE Act which does nothing more than penalize law-abiding citizens. She has screwed up this UTV bill for several years now and I see no hopes of getting anything passed as long as she remains in office. When November comes around folks, please get to the polls and vote her out.

Art Wilson

President of Parishville Area ATV Club