My Bill Regarding Forwarding Reports Of Child Abuse Between Authorized Agencies Is Passed By The New York State Senate

I am proud to announce that A.2965/S.4172, legislation I authored, was passed by the New York State Senate on Thursday and will be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo to be signed into law. The New York State Assembly passed the bill on May 24.

The legislation amends current social services law in relation to forwarding reports of abuse. The bill requires reports of suspected child abuse or maltreatment of a child be provided to the social services district charged with the care, custody or guardianship of such child when the child has been placed in a home under the care, custody or guardianship of an authorized agency which is not in the social services district that placed the child.

The care and custody of a child may be transferred by a social services district to an authorized agency and the child placed in foster care.  There is no requirement that the authorized agency charged with the care and custody of the child and the child’s foster home be located in the same social services district that transferred the care and custody of the child.

Problems arise, however, when the foster home is the subject of a report of child abuse or maltreatment and the foster home is not located in the social services district that placed the child in the foster home. There is no mechanism under current law that requires notice of such report to be provided to the placing social services district. Absent information that the foster home may be the subject of a report of child abuse or maltreatment, the placing social services district may continue to place children in the care and custody of that foster home.

We must close gaps in communication between and among authorized agencies and social service districts responsible for the safety and welfare of our children. Placing agencies must be informed of reports of suspected abuse or maltreatment involving homes in which they have placed children so that they do not unwittingly place additional children in a situation that risks subjecting them to further abuse or maltreatment.

Patrick Gallivan (R-59) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

 

 

My Bill Responding To Jewish Community Centers Being Targeted Is Passed By The NYS Assembly

I am proud to announce that A.7198-A/S.5512-A, legislation I authored as a response to bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers across the nation earlier this year, was passed by the New York State Assembly on Thursday.

The bill would amend the penal law to include community centers in the definition of a “public place” as it relates to bomb threats and other offenses against public order.  Paulin was spurred into action after bomb threats in February forced evacuations of two community centers in Westchester, including the JCC of Mid-Westchester of which she and her family are members.  About 200 people were evacuated from the JCC of Mid-Westchester, including 100 children who attend the center’s early childhood program.

There have been more than 100 bomb threats called in to Jewish community centers nationwide since the beginning of 2017, actions that coincide with the recent dramatic rise in anti-Semitic crime.

The series of bomb threats not only disrupted everyday activities and put strains on tight-knit communities, but also created questions about the role of government in addressing and stanching these threats of violence.

Protecting our residents is my highest priority. The increase in hate crimes has shaken communities across the state and most recently here at home, the JCC of Mid-Westchester, where my kids went to nursery school.  We must use every means possible, including legislation, to thwart acts of hatred everywhere.

Patrick Gallivan (R-59) sponsored the Senate.

My Crib Bumper Bill Passed By The Assembly

I am proud to announce that A.4151A/S.4055-B, legislation I authored, was passed by the New York State Assembly on Wednesday.

The bill would ban the sale of crib bumpers pads and restrict their use in child care settings. This bill will prevent the deaths of and serious injury to infants which have been attributed to the use of crib bumper pads.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Institute have both issued warnings regarding the dangers of crib bumper pads and have urged parents not to use them.  Bumper pads pose a risk of death or serious injury because babies can get caught in the fabric and suffocate. In fact, the Journal of Pediatrics published a study reporting that 23 babies died in the United States between 2006 and 2012 from suffocation associated with the use of crib bumper pads.

Despite their danger, crib bumper pads remain for sale in New York, and are often showcased in store displays and included in baby bedding sets which gives parents the false impression they are safe to use.

One of the most horrifying things that can happen to a parent is suffering through the death of an infant. And if that death is caused by a crib bumper, the parents would have to live with that for the rest of their lives. They put their child in a crib, thinking they had done the right thing and created a safe environment for the baby. This legislation will ensure that infants will be safer in their cribs.

David Carlucci (D-38) sponsors the bill in the Senate.

 

 

Hoping For Recovery, For Steve Scalise And The Rest Of The Country

I was saddened upon learning that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others were shot this morning on a baseball field in Virginia.

I hope that he and the other victims of this heinous, senseless act recover quickly. I was left wondering how this could happen and how easily people can become targets, seemingly in this case because of the victims’ political party affiliation.

The fact that this happened to Congressman Scalise, a duly elected representative in the United States government, left me shaken. I am an elected representative of the 88th Assembly District in New York State. My job allows me to shape the laws in New York, as well as to work closely with the public and my constituents.

As elected representatives, one of the most important parts of our job is to be close to our constituents whenever possible. This shooting was an attack on our democratic values and upon our tradition of politicians being accessible to the public. No person, whether elected or not, should become a target simply because another disagrees with their political beliefs.

Today’s events should give us all a reason to pause. We need to do more to work together so that the differences we have can be resolved civilly and not escalate into senseless acts of violence.

I hope that Congressman Scalise and the other victims will make a full recovery and by the time they do, perhaps we will have turned our attention to making sure that something like what happened today never happens again.

My Domestic Violence Voting Bill Passed By The Assembly

I am pleased to announce that A.7009/S.5741, legislation I authored, was passed by the New York State Assembly on Wednesday. This bill would allow a voter to reques

t a special ballot for a victim of domestic violence by mail, and cast the ballot by mail within the same time period and in the same manner as an absentee ballot.

Currently, a victim of domestic violence may request and cast a special ballot in person at the county board of elections rather than voting at his or her polling place. However, it may not be safe for a survivor to vote in person in the same county where his or her abuser resides. Allowing the special ballot to be cast by mail will ensure that domestic violence victims can safely exercise their right to vote.

Survivors of domestic violence should not have to choose between exercising their right to vote and ensuring their safety. This bill will enable these individuals to vote safely and remain engaged in civic life.

Diane Savino (D-23) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

My Veteran’s License Plate Bill Passed By The Assembly

I am proud to announce that A.1112-A/S.2139-B, legislation I authored, was passed by the New York State Assembly this week. The bill would authorize the issuance of distinctive license plates to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars or their spouses, bearing the words “Veteran of the Iraq War” or “Veteran of the Afghanistan War.”

The veterans of these two wars deserve the same type of recognition as those who fought in World War II, Korea or Vietnam. They have taken the same risks and made the same great sacrifices to help keep us safe and provide us with the freedoms we enjoy. We should be proud of them and seek to acknowledge them in any way we can.

Sue Serino (R-41) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

My Bill Covering Costs For Seized Animals Is Passed By The Assembly

I am pleased to announce that A.62-A/S.4796-A, legislation I authored, was passed by the New York State Assembly this week.

The bill would improve the process by which animal-sheltering organizations may responsibly meet the costs associated with caring for the victims of animal cruelty during a criminal investigation. Under current law, sheltering organizations holding these animals are able to petition the court for the posting of a security. This legislation will clarify that such a petition may be filed with the court in which criminal charges have been filed.

The shelters and organizations that take care of these poor, abused animals are doing such wonderful work. They shouldn’t have to worry about whether the costs of bringing these animals back to health will be recovered. Nor should they have to jump through hoops just too simply get the costs covered.

The issue of whether a criminal court has jurisdiction to hear the petition for a security posting has arisen multiple times in courts throughout New York City, and in other jurisdictions as well. Judges have questioned their authority to hear these petitions, and the issue has also been raised by defense attorneys in opposition to these petitions. Each time this happens, the sheltering organization that brought the petition must submit filings arguing that the court does, in fact, have jurisdiction.

This legislation will help to resolve one issue that can create significant time lags, cost shelters money, and compromise animal health and well-being. Clarifying that a sheltering organization may file a petition for a security posting with the court in which criminal charges have been filed will help to streamline the process for organizations seeking a security and will also help to avoid unnecessary jurisdictional challenges.

Andrew Lanza (R-24) sponsored the bill in the Senate.