Sammy's Law supporters begin hunger strike

Some might consider it painful to go on a hunger strike, but for the mother of Sammy Cohen Eckstein - it pales in comparison to the pain of having her son killed just steps from their home in 2013 by a reckless driver.

Amy Cohen and 3 other supporters of the ‘Sammy’s Law' bill have gone on a hunger strike because, they say, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is refusing to bring the bill, named after Cohen's son, to the assembly floor for a vote.

"I think people don't realize how hard it is to live every day without your child." Amy Cohen said while choking back tears, "This bill is about more than just me and my family. This is about all the families who have lost loved ones in a traffic crash. This is about all the families who are fortunate to not yet know this pain - but may if actions like this are not taken."

Sammy's Law would allow New York City to dictate speed limits on its streets. In a city where we routinely see examples of reckless speeding and pedestrians mowed down, data shows those hit at 35 mph are 5 times more likely to die as those hit at 20 mph.

The data is part of the reason earlier on Tuesday, the State Senate voted to pass Sammy's Law by a bipartisan 55-7 margin. But the momentum halted when it reached Assembly Speaker Heastie's desk. 

Amy Cohen and the others on a hunger strike now sit outside his office, determined to get Sammy's Law to a vote. 

State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal is the bill's main backer, and he says he's baffled as to why Heastie doesn't appear to be allowing the bill to move forward.

"The hunger strike they've undertaken is an appropriate and very powerful statement that they're willing to put a lot on the line to make sure that colleagues in both chambers understand the gravity of the situation," Hoylman-Sigal told Fox 5 New York.

Time is running out as the legislative session ends this Friday. Amy Cohen says they'll remain on a hunger strike outside Heastie's office, in the hopes of getting him to allow the State Assembly to vote on Sammy's law.