NewsChannel 9 investigation in February paves the way for new bill

An investigation by NewsChannel 9 back in February has led lawmakers to pass a bill.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – An investigation by NewsChannel 9 back in February has led lawmakers to pass a bill.

The state senate passed a bill to strengthen the limited background checks for those hired for a Medicaid waiver program project.

In February, NewsChannel 9 introduced two twins in Fayetteville with a degenerative form of muscular dystrophy.

The Willis family waited months for a county-contracted construction worker to finish making their home handicap accessible, before discovering he had a felony history of money fraud.

For months, the family struggled living in a home where they had to carry the boys with duchenne muscular dystrophy up a flight of stairs every time they needed to use the restroom.

“When your dealing with children that have a terminal disease or with anyone who has a terminal disease, time is of the essence and that clock is ticking and we just didn’t have that kind of time. So for this legislation to be moved through so quickly is actually quite relieving,” said the mother of the twins Alison Willis.

The legislation requires a quick background check, so families have complete confidence that criminals are not being sent to work in their homes.

State Senator John DeFrancisco sponsored the bill and credits NewsChannel 9’s investigation for bringing the issue to light in his press release.

He also believes the bill was a no-brainer for lawmakers.

“It’s just a common sense thing. It’s not a very big responsibility but hopefully it will save a few people from going through this and save some taxpayer money because you’re hiring the right people to do the contracting work. I just think when you balance it, this is the best thing to do,” DeFrancisco said.

The assembly did not pick up the bill this legislative session so it will not become law this year. DeFrancisco says he will push for an assembly sponsorship the next legislative session.

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