My Bill Prohibiting The Falsification Of School Records Heading To The Governor

I am pleased to announce that A.2093-B/S.5273-A, legislation she authored, has passed the New York State Senate and Assembly and will be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo to be signed into law.

The bill would prohibit unauthorized and false alterations and tampering of any official student records, files, or data maintained by the school or college. Official records maintained by the school or college include identifying data, grades, records of attendance, records of student achievement, assessment results, disciplinary records, and individual education programs.

We must preserve the integrity of a student’s records. Information in these records is provided to colleges and considered as part of the admissions process. Falsifying such records creates a fraudulent representation of the student, and can either hurt their chances of acceptance or give the student with an unfair advantage over other applicants.

Tuckahoe middle-schooler Jack Doherty provided the genesis for this bill. He tied for second place in Paulin’s 2016 “There Ought To Be A Law” contest for proposing legislation that would protect a student’s records from tampering and alteration.

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

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 FOIL Bill Passed By Senate, Sent To Governor

I am pleased to announce that A.2750-A/S.2392-A, legislation I authored, was passed by the New York State Senate this week and will now be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo to be signed into law.

The bill would award attorney’s fees to a prevailing party who has gone to court to challenge an agency’s refusal to provide records requested under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). The time and cost involved in these court proceedings can be staggering for individuals, and may deter them from pursing legal action to compel agencies to provide the records. This bill would encourage agencies to comply with FOIL in order to avoid potentially paying the attorney’s fees for prevailing individuals who challenge the agency in court.

Very often, the time and effort involved in getting a FOIL request fulfilled is trying enough. A person petitioning an agency through FOIL shouldn’t have the added expense of a lengthy court proceeding as well.

This bill establishes a two-tiered approach. In court cases where an agency failed to respond to a person’s request for records or appeal within the allowable time, the court may require the agency to pay for a person’s attorney’s fees if the person prevails in court. In cases where an agency denied an individual’s request for records and the court finds that there was no reasonable basis for the denial, the court must order the agency to pay the individual’s attorney’s fees if that individual prevails in court.

The Committee on Open Government recommended this two-tiered approach in its 2016 annual report.

The bill is sponsored by Patrick Gallivan in the Senate.

Celebrate June’s Arrival In The 88th Assembly District

Dear friends and neighbors,

Enjoy a beautiful early summer weekend in style by taking in everything the cities, towns and villages of the 88th Assembly District have to offer. There are carnivals, movies, music, great food and much more.

Here’s a closer look at some of the events that are taking place in the 88th. Have a good weekend and remember that if you have an event you’d like me to include in the coming weeks, send the information to Paulina@NYAssembly.gov.

THURSDAY

  • The Church of the Immaculate Conception School (53 Winter Hill Road, Tuckahoe) will host its annual ICS Carnival beginning at 6 p.m. The Carnival will run through Sunday and will feature rides, games, food and much more. Visit icschoolonline.org for more information.
  • The New Rochelle Youth Bureau will hold its third annual Summer Employment Summer in the City Fundraiser at Mulino’s at Lake Isle (660 White Plains Road, Eastchester) from 6:30-10:30 p.m. Visit newrochelleny.com/205/youth-bureau for more information.
  • The League of Women Voters will hold “Convention 2017” at the Scarsdale Women’s Club (37 Drake Road, Scarsdale) beginning at 10:30 a.m. There will be a meeting followed by lunch and a presentation by Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause New York. She will be speaking on ethics reform in Albany. Visit lwvw.org for more information.
  • The After Dark Book Club will meet at The Pelham Library (530 Colonial Avenue, Pelham) at 7:30 p.m. to discuss “The Last Painting of Sara De Vos” by Dominic Smith. Visit pelhamlibrary.org for more information.
  • The Boys and Girls Club of New Rochelle will host its Summer Kickoff at Alvin & Friends Restaurant (14 Memorial Highway, New Rochelle) from 6:30-10 p.m. There will be drinks, appetizers and more with proceeds going to support the programs at The Boys and Girls Club. Visit alvinandfriendsrestaurant.com for more information.

 FRIDAY

  • The New Rochelle Down to Earth Farmer’s Market will open for the season at Huguenot Park at the corner of North Avenue and Eastchester Road at 8:30 a.m. and stay open until 2:30 p.m. There will be produce, baked goods, cheese and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Visit downtoearthmarkets.com for more information.
  • The Bronxville Spring Sidewalk Sale will ring Sidewalk Sale will take place on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at Park Place. Find great bargains,

    Mozart

    vendors, food, raffles and more. Visit bronxvillechamber.org for more information.

  • The Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum (895 Shore Road, Pelham Bay Park) will host “First Friday! Music & Trolley” at 5:30 p.m. The New Rochelle-based group Glenwood will be performing while the trolley makes hourly loops to City Island. Visit bartowpellmansionmuseum.org for more information.
  • Concordia College (171 White Plains Road, Bronxville) will host The Bands Bash Concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Schoenfeld Campus Center. Visit concordia-ny.edu for more information.
  • The City of White Plains will host Outdoor Adventure Teen Night at Delfino Park (110 Lake Street, White Plains) from 7-9 p.m. There will be laser tag, rock wall climbing, obstacle courses and more. Visit cityofwhiteplains.com for more information.
  • The Hudson Chorale, Westchester’s largest chorus, will perform Requiem, featuring Mozart’s interpretation of the Christian mass for the dead, in an 8 p.m. performance at St. John the Evangelist Church (148 Hamilton Avenue, White Plains). Visit hudsonchorale.org for more information.
  • The New Rochelle Library (1 Library Plaza, New Rochelle) will host “The Friends Big Book Sale” from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Visit nrpl.org for more information.

SATURDAY

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo, The Westchester Community Opportunity Program, Inc. and the White Plains Community Action Partnership will sponsor a Citizen Preparedness Corps Training Program at the Thomas Slater Center (2 Fisher Court, White Plains) at 11 a.m. Visit prepare.ny.gov for more information and to register.
  • The New Westchester Symphony Orchestra will perform at The Tuckahoe Community Center (71 Columbus Avenue, Tuckahoe) at 1 p.m. The performance is sponsored by the Friends of the Tuckahoe Library. There will be refreshments, raffles and a Chinese auction. Call 914-961-2121 for more information.
  • The New Rochelle Grand Market Downtown will open for the season at 1 Library Plaza at 9 a.m. The market, which will remain open until 2 p.m., will feature fresh produce, baked goods, honey, crafts and more. Visit newrochelledowntown.com for more information.
  • The Bronxville Farmer’s Market opens for a new season at Stone Place at Paxton Avenue from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Visit bronxvilleframersmarket.com for more information.
  • The band Plan B will be the first performers in the Bronxville Summer Concert Series with a 6:30 p.m. show at Park Place. Visit bronxvillechamber.com for more information.
  • The White Plains Outdoor Arts and Craft Festival will take place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Tibbits Park (North Broadway and Main Street, White Plains). The festival is the largest source of arts scholarships for White Plains High School. Visit whiteplainsoutdoorartsfestival.com for more information.
  • The LOFT Community Center (252 Bryant Avenue, White Plains) will be hosting The LBGT Pride Event and Festival from noon-5 p.m. There will be food, raffles, vendors and more. Visit loftgaycenter.org for more information.
  • The Greenacres Neighborhood Association in Scarsdale will host its outdoor movie night with a showing of “Moana” at 8:30 p.m. on Greenacres Field. The rain date is Sunday June 11.
  • The Peter Hand Trio will perform at Alvin & Friends Restaurant (14 Memorial Highway, New Rochelle) from 6:30-10 p.m. Visit alvinandfriendsrestaurant.com for more information.
  • The New Rochelle Senior Citizen Expo will take place at The Hugh Doyle Center (94 Davis Avenue, New Rochelle) from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. This is a one-day exposition to gather information and resources to improve and enrich the quality of life. There will be free workshops, refreshments, health screenings, beauty care tips and more. Visit newrochelleny.com for more information.
  • The New Rochelle Soap Box Derby will take place at 8 a.m. in New Rochelle at the junction of Quaker Ridge and Sussex Roads. Visit newrochelleny.com for more information.
  • The Westchester Italian Cultural Center (One Generoso Pope Place, Tuckahoe) will present Italians and the World of Music from 10:30 a.m.-noon. Learn about Guido D’Arezzo, Antonio Vivaldi, Giacomo Puccini and more. Visit wiccny.org for more information.
  • The Pelham Civic Olympics will take place at Glover Field (East Sandford Boulevard, Pelham) from 9 a.m.-noon. More than 100 children grades K-5 will participate. Visit pelhamcivics.org for more information.

SUNDAY

  • Bicycle Sunday will take place on the Bronx River Parkway from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. between the Westchester County Center in White Plains and Scarsdale Road in Yonkers. The 13.1 mile loop will be open to bikers and closed to car traffic. Visit westchestergov.com for more information.
  • The Tuckahoe Farmer’s Market will open for the season in Depot Square. The market will be open every Sunday through the end of November from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Visit tuckahoe.com for more information.
  • The Eastchester Farmer’s Market will make its debut in the parking lot of Country Markets of Westchester (344 White Plains Road, Eastchester) from 10 a.m.- 3p.m. The Farmer’s Market will run through mid-October. Visit facebook.com/EastchesterFarmersMarket for more information.
  • The Play Group Theatre (One North Broadway, White Plains) will present Urinetown, a musical about love-struck Bobby Strong, at 2 and 7 p.m. Visit playgroup.org for more information.

    Die Fledermaus

  • The Taconic Opera will perform Die Fledermaus by Johan Strauss (sung in German with English dialogue) at The Music Conservatory of Westchester (216 Central Avenue, White Plains) at 2:30 p.m. Visit taconicopera.org for more information.
  • The Hoff-Barthelson Music School Jazz Studies Program students will present “All That Jazz” in Chase Park (32 Chase Road, Scarsdale) from 5-6:30 p.m. Visit hbms.org for more information.
  • The Hudson Chorale, Westchester’s largest chorus, will perform Requiem, featuring Mozart’s interpretation of the Christian mass for the dead, in a 4 p.m. performance at St. John the Evangelist Church (148 Hamilton Avenue, White Plains). Visit hudsonchorale.org for more information.
  • The Community Church of the Pelhams (448 Washington Avenue, Pelham) will host a worship service to honor and welcome refugees. The church is hosting a refugee family from Syria. Several speakers will discuss the refugee crisis, including parishioner Rhonda Morgan, who will talk about her recent trip to Germany and how that country is handling its refugee situation. Visit communitychurchofpelham.org for more information.

Please visit www.burbio.com/lists/district-88-events for more information about these and other area events.

 

Continuing The Fight Against Human Trafficking

I am proud to announce that Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation (Chapter 408) I authored into law on Friday. The law requires hospitals, public health centers, diagnostic centers, treatment centers and outpatient departments to establish and implement written policies and procedures for the identification, assessment and treatment/referral of persons suspected as human trafficking victims. Additionally, the law requires that specified personnel in the service units of these facilities complete training regarding these policies and procedures.

According to Dr. Douglas Chin, director of outreach for Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans (PATH), 87 percent of trafficking victims have had contact with a healthcare provider while being trafficked. Nevertheless, fewer than 10 percent of doctors recognize trafficking victims and fewer than three percent of ER doctors have received training in recognition and action. ff54a7fdac723e5b09b936d18c3c868b

With appropriate training, the doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who are the most likely to come in contact with a potential victim will be able to recognize the signs that indicate the person seeking treatment may be a human trafficking victim. They will also be able to refer the victim so that she can get specialized services and escape her life of violence and enslavement. Human trafficking is a $32 billion industry and nearly 300,000 children, some as young as ages 11 and 12, are at risk of becoming sexually exploited. This is happening right here, in our state, in our backyards.  We need to continue to do all that we can to help bring an end to this deplorable practice of selling people, particularly children, for sex.

The Polaris Project, a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that works to combat and prevent modern-day slavery and human trafficking, used data collected by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline and determined that between 2001 and 2012 New York, California, Texas and Florida received the most potential reports of human trafficking. New York City was identified as a hub for human trafficking.

A Law About Which I Am Very Proud

I am proud to announce that A.47-A/S3484-A, legislation I authored, was signed into law on Thursday by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The bill provides that a person is guilty of facilitating female genital mutilation when he/she intentionally aids in the commission or attempted commission of a person circumcising, excising or infibulating female genitalia of a person under 18 years old.

This horrific and barbaric practice needs to be stopped. The physical pain and suffering is just the beginning of what these young women endure for the rest of their lives. The psychological scars are deep and long-lasting, impacting the women in ways that most people cannot imagine. The idea that this is a problem confined to third-world countries is just plain wrong. Female genital mutilation (FGM) happens here, in the United States, in New York, and it needs to come to an end. This law will hold accountable not just those who do the cutting but those who help make the cutting possible.

According to a 2013 study, more than 65,000 females at risk or who have undergone FGM live in the New York City metropolitan area and Newark.

FGM refers to a harmful traditional practice, carried out largely on girls under the age of 18.  Procedures range from clitoridectomy, the removal of part/all of the clitoris, to infibulation, in which all of the outer genitalia are removed and the vagina is sealed, often with stitches, except for a small opening.  FGM has no medical purpose or health benefits but in fact results in devastating physical, sexual and psychological problems, including severe bleeding, tetanus, sepsis, urinary tract infections, increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths. It is illegal to perform FGM under federal and New York state law.

Despite current law prohibiting FGM, every year girls in New York remain at risk of facing imminent danger of FGM when the procedure is carried out either within the state or in traditional ceremonies overseas.

We have learned from testimony of survivors that families are increasingly engaging in a practice known as ‘vacation cutting,’ in which family members send their female children overseas to undergo FGM during school vacations, as part of a trip organized to expose the girls to the customs of their ancestral homelands, and thereby avoid criminal prosecution in this state. These young girls are sent overseas for FGM without their consent and in some cases without the knowledge or permission of one or both of their parents. This law will better enable us to protect these children from being forced to undergo FGM by holding criminally liable the individuals who intentionally assist in subjecting children to FGM.

The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Andrew Lanza.

I was pleased to learn that the Governor has proclaimed January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in New York on Tuesday

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. By launching his campaign to educate the public on identifying possible signs of human trafficking, the Governor has again demonstrated his commitment to ending this heinous industry.

As the Governor recognizes, bringing an end to human trafficking in our state requires a multi-pronged approach which includes education and awareness, training of law enforcement and government agencies, funding critical services to trafficking victims, and enacting legislation to strengthen our current law and hold traffickers and buyers more accountable.  Enacting the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act, a bill I authored, is integral to this strategy. We need to stop talking about the politics and work together to do all that we can to stop human trafficking.

I am also thrilled that the Senate voted to pass the TVPJA. It’s an important step in curtailing the horrible practice of buying and selling human beings in New York State and I applaud the Senate for taking this step. I look forward to the Assembly voting on the bill as quickly as possible so that we can give human trafficking victims the help they desperately need today.