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.

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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.

 

 

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 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.

My Electric-Car Charging Bill Is Passed By The Assembly

I am pleased to announce that A.288/S.3745, legislation I authored, was passed by the New York State Assembly on Tuesday.

This bill would require utilities to file a tariff with the Public Service Commission to allow a customer to purchase electricity solely for the purpose of recharging an electric vehicle. This would enable either a time-of-day or off-peak rate to be offered to customers, encouraging them to charge their vehicles at times that are most beneficial for the grid.

New York has set an ambitious, but much needed target to reduce greenhouse gases in the coming decade through a drastic increase in the amount of renewables. While the 50-percent renewables by 2030 goal is crucial, it is important to ensure that it is complementary towards the nascent electric vehicle industry. This bill is intended to encourage grid-responsible charging of electric cars by allowing New York’s combination electric and gas corporations to develop pricing structures that would incentivize charging during periods when a significant portion of renewable energy is dispatched into the grid. This will help ensure that electric vehicle usage will grow in a manner consistent with New York’s environmental and energy goals.

People purchase electric vehicles to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they may be inadvertently charging their vehicles at peak times when coal and fossil fuel plants are running to meet the demand. By offering a separate charging tariff, with lower rates for off-peak times when renewables like wind are abundant, customers can significantly decrease their carbon footprint while encouraging renewable energy production.

Joseph Griffo (R-47) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

My Child Marriage Bill Was Sent To The Governor To Be Signed Into Law

I am proud to announce that A.5524-B/S.4407-B, legislation I authored, was passed by both the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate this week and will now be sent to Governor Cuomo to be signed into law.

The bill would prohibit the marriage of minors under the age of 17 and strengthen the process to obtain court approval for marriage of persons at least 17 years of age but under 18 years of age.

The current minimum age to marry in New York State is 14. If a child is 16 or 17, she can marry with parental consent.  If a child is 14 or 15, she can marry with parental consent and the approval of the court. Current law enables children to be forced into marriage by their parents who bring their children before the court or the court clerk to provide their “consent” when in reality the parents have forced their child to marry, threatening the child with ostracism, beatings or death if the child refuses to marry.

Children who are 14 and 15 years old should be worrying about their schoolwork and spending time with their friends. They are much too young to be married. We are seeing girls getting married to much older men who are being abused physically, mentally and emotionally. This is an appalling practice that destroys the lives of young girls.

How has it been possible that we allow a 14-year-old to get married yet we don’t allow her any practical ways out? She can’t sue for divorce in her own name. Under current law, she has to sue for divorce through a parent, who likely forced her into the marriage in the first place, or through a guardian. We have needed to address this for a long time.

According to Fraidy Reiss, executive director and founder of Unchained At Last, nearly 4,000 minors were married in New York between 2000 and 2010 and more than 84 percent of those children were minor girls married to adult men.  Unchained At Last is the only nonprofit in the U.S. dedicated to helping women and girls leave or avoid arranged/forced marriages. 

“This bill is an important first step toward ending the human rights abuse of child marriage in New York State,” Reiss said. “I applaud Assemblywoman Paulin for her leadership.”

The current court approval process for the authorization of marriage of persons under 16 hasn’t provided adequate protections for a child against abuse and fraud on the part of parents or guardians to force a child into marriage. This legislation will strengthen the process for marriage of persons at least 17 but under 18 by, among other things, requiring the appointment of an attorney for the child who must have received training in domestic violence including a component on forced marriage, and requiring the court to hold an in camera interview, separately with each minor party, and make specific written findings.   The bill also provides that if the court approves the marriage, each minor party will have all the rights of an adult, including the right to enter into a contract, except for specific constitutional and statutory age requirements.

“New York is poised to lead the nation in recognizing child marriage as a human rights violation,” said Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization for Women of New York. “Governor Cuomo has been very clear that child marriage is a scourge on the values we hold dear in New York. It’s not a surprise that he will be signing into law the strongest protections in the nation. We urge the rest of the country to follow suit.”

“Child marriage is a human rights violation that fosters gender inequality and exploitation and whose victims are three times more likely to suffer domestic violence, are much less likely to complete their education and are not able to bring divorce or annulment in their own names,” said Hon. Judy Harris Kluger, Executive Director of Sanctuary for Families. “Sanctuary for Families has seen the deleterious effect it has had on our clients. We thank Assemblywoman Paulin and Senator Lanza for their leadership and applaud the New York State Legislature’s swift action to halt this unacceptable and outmoded practice. Marriage is rightfully a milestone of adulthood, not childhood.”

Andrew Lanza sponsored the bill in the Senate.

 

 

 

 

 

My Bill Regarding Forwarding Reports Of Child Abuse Between Authorized Agencies Is Passed By The Assembly

I am proud to announce that A.2965/S.4172, legislation I authored, was passed by the New York State Assembly 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.