Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Governor Paterson vetoed a bill on Monday that would increase penalties for those convicted of assaulting a cab driver. Queens Assemblyman Rory Lancman, the author of the bill, said it is difficult to believe the governor rejected the Taxi Driver's Protection Act, which had near-unanimous support in both houses of the legislature.
"We've spent the last six months to get legislation that will protect these drivers and its just very disappointing that the governor has now vetoed that legislation and frankly on very flimsy grounds."
Governor Paterson said he vetoed the bill because it imposed a mandatory two-year sentence for less serious, misdemeanor-level assaults.
In New York, misdemeanor convictions can only receive sentences up to one year.
Lancman said he is confident the legislature will override the governor's veto -- or pass another, similar bill.
Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director with the Taxi Worker's Alliance, believes the veto is only a setback and said drivers will keep fighting for the legislation until they receive more protection for the work they do.
Desai said she was in shock the governor would veto the bill, when less than a month month ago, a Muslim cab driver had his throat slashed in an alleged hate crime. She said in the weeks since, seven other drivers have also been attacked trying to do their job.