DEER PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – “Brianna’s law” is proposed legislation named for a Long Island girl who died in a boating crash.
After years of failing to pass in Albany, the legislation is getting a renewed push.
The girl’s grieving, yet tenacious, mother is seeing it through and making Brianna’s law her focus and passion.
“It’s unbearable. The pain to have somebody’s life just ripped from you,” Gina Lieneck said.
Lieneck, her husband, and two daughters were boating home from Fire Island on Aug. 17, 2005 when a larger boat slammed into theirs and killed 11-year-old Brianna.
One month from now, Brianna would have been celebrating her 25th birthday.
“The only gift I can give her is to get this law passed and I will not give up,” the grieving parent told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
Lieneck spent five months last year traveling to the statehouse in Albany, pushing a bill legally requiring all operators of motorboats in New York to get in-classroom safety training.
“It’s an eight-hour class, that’s it, and it’s good for a lifetime.”
She says most assembly members and state senators pledged support, but on the final day of the last session the bill failed to make it to the floor of the senate.
“I had enough yeses to the floor and I don’t know why it never made it to the floor,” Lieneck explained.
The setback it did not dim her determination to make New York’s waters safer.
Lieneck said before the weather gets warmer, boats come out of storage, and head back out onto the water, she wants everybody better educated about boat safety.
“A boat is a deadly weapon, there is no escaping.”
CBS2’s calls and messages to leaders with the New York Marine Trades Association went unreturned Monday. They argued to lawmakers the boating bill would be ineffective; saying New York has similar fatality rates as New Jersey and Connecticut.
Those neighboring states have broader mandated safety courses. New York does not.
CBS2 did not hear back from state senators about the bill’s current status.
They definitely will be hearing from Lieneck, who remembers little about the boat crash that critically injured her. When she came to in the hospital she said she found out about Brianna in a very abrupt way.
“The doctor came in and said ‘you keep asking about Brianna, she’s dead’ and she walked away and I went into shock,” the mother recalled.
“I can’t be knocked any harder than I’ve been knocked in life so you can’t beat the woman who’s been beaten down to the ground and I will fight this until the bitter end.”
Late next month is when Brianna’s mother plans to restart her regular trips to Albany to lobby for the bill’s passage into law.