Assemblywoman Addie Russell (D-Theresa) says that while her bill to allow registration in New York of newer heavier off-road vehicles has made progress, opposition in the Assembly is preventing it from moving further ahead.
“The legislation I have been pushing in the Assembly to allow for certain UTVs to weigh more than regular ATVs (A.4971), so that they can be registered at the DMV, has drawn significant opposition,” she said in a statement.
“While the bill was reported out of the Transportation Committee and then out of the Codes committee, the opposition prevented the bill from being considered by the Ways and Means Committee. My bill has made it further than any bill of this kind in the Assembly in many years and it will continue to be one of my top priorities moving forward.
“In an attempt to further the increased weight issue after it had stalled, I proposed an amendment to my bill to spur a dialogue between the ATV community and environmental advocate groups,” she said. “The amendment was well received by the advocates, but in the end, they were unable to reach consensus to move forward at this time.
“The proposed amendment has been taken off the table, meaning our work will need to continue in order to gain approval of the heavier side-by-side UTV's,” and also meaning the bill is sidelined as the current legislative session is about to close.
“However, the dialogue over the last few days has moved the UTV issue even further along in the legislative process,” said the Democrat who represents the Assembly’s “River District,” which includes all St. Lawrence County towns along the St. Lawrence River (Massena, Ogdensburg, Louisville, Waddington, Lisbon, Oswegatchie, Morristown, and Hammond) plus the towns of Canton, Potsdam, Rossie, Macomb, and DePeyster, and northern Jefferson County not including Watertown.
Russell indicates she is not giving up on the issue.
“There have been valuable discussions, and commitments by all involved to continue to work on addressing the issues important to everyone, and some common ground has been found.
“While there have been many people working on this issue with me, I would like to acknowledge the St. Lawrence Legislature's work on this matter, being a driving force on tackling these challenging issues. We have made significant progress this year which may allow us to address several other related topics as a result of my offer to work with those opposed to this bill,” Russell said in her statement.