GLENS FALLS — State Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, said she is poised to introduce legislation to require drug testing for infant and toddler children of parents arrested for possession of “serious” drugs such as heroin.
The law would apply to children under 3 who are too young to speak with investigators or social workers.
“They would not be able to tell you what is going on,” Little said Friday in a meeting with The Post-Star editorial board.
Little said she and Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan collaborated on drafting the legislation after a 13-month-old Kingsbury child died in February 2015 from complications resulting from narcotics use and pneumonia.
“We’re working on that and proposing that piece of legislation,” she said. “I have had support from other senators who believe they would be on board with that.”
Little said the proposed legislation would be a social services law, not a criminal law. Little, a seven-term incumbent, is running for re-election against Green Party candidate Steve Ruzbacki, a teacher and political activist from Minerva.
The Democratic Party did not field a candidate.
Little, on Friday, said she has advocated for increased drug treatment, including arranging funding and use of a building in Clinton County for a detox center.
Most drug treatment programs do not accept patients until they have been through detox, she said.
Little said she advocated for legislation to require health insurance companies to cover inpatient drug treatment without requiring the individual to first go through subsequent outpatient treatment regimens.
On other topics, Little said she has pushed for increased education funding and for property tax stabilization.
“In the previous years, getting a tax cap has been one of the most important things we have done for the constituency,” she said. “It’s difficult for the schools, difficult for the municipalities, and they complain. But it’s very important for the people.”
Little said she arranged $1 million in the state budget for improvements to the Northway rest area between exit 17 and exit 18, and other funding to relocate a sewer line and improve sewer infrastructure in Washington County.
Relocating the line will facilitate an expansion at Irving Tissue in Fort Edward.
Little said she has advocated for policy changes and public awareness regarding Lyme disease, and passed legislation to allow Franklin County to establish an occupancy tax for tourism initiatives.
She said she worked with environmental groups and Democrats in the Assembly to get first passage of a constitutional amendment to allow establishing a land bank for transfer of state-owned land in the Adirondack Park for public benefit projects such as drinking water wells, bridges and infrastructure.