ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A bill named in honor of a baby girl from Washington County who died from a drug overdose has passed in the Senate and is now on its way to the Assembly.
It’s called Kayleigh Mae’s Law, in honor the 13-month-old from Kingsbury who died of a drug overdose. If passed, it would make drug testing of some young children mandatory.
The case shocked the Capital Region. Her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, both self-admitted heroin addicts, were sent to prison after pleading guilty to their role in her death.
At the time, the DA said hair follicle samples from the baby proved she was given drugs from the time she was a few months old.
It’s spurred reaction at the Capitol. North Country Republican Betty Little pushed a new legislation named Kayleigh Mae’s law.
It would allow for Social Services to open up an investigation if a child under three-years-old is in the vicinity of a parent or legal guardian when they are arrested on a drug charge.
A hair follicle test would be required and could be initiated through a court order if the parent refuses to cooperate.
“[It’s a] good start,” Cassell’s Great Aunt, Robin Sorrell, said.
Sorrell is quick to point out though that the law would not have made a difference in Kayleigh Mae’s case.
Washington County DA Tony Jordan says it would help case workers whom he works with every day.
“They feel hamstrung,”
NEWS10 ABC’s Anya Tucker reached out to Social Services in Saratoga, Washington and Albany Counties. Only Albany County said they could not comment on legislation that hasn’t become law.
Washington County Attorney Roger Wickes says the bill looks good on paper, but that most counties like his will be looking at the cost. Namely for these tests, which so far is unclear.
The bill now moves on to the Assembly.
A companion bill is being sponsored by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, a democrat from Brooklyn.