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 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 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.

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.