The New York State Senate today passed a bill that would increase the fines for passing a stopped school bus. The bill (S.1064), sponsored by Senator George Maziarz, also requires criminal penalties for drivers who injure or kill a person by doing so.
“On average, 36 children a year die because of pedestrian accidents and injuries caused when a motorist illegally passes a stopped school bus,” said Senator Maziarz. “These statistics and others are a clear demonstration that strengthening the penalties for these accidents is a necessity. This legislation will not only help deter drivers from committing these acts, but it will go a long way in ensuring the safety of children.”
The bill significantly increases the fines for passing a school bus. The maximum fine for a first offense would increase from $400 to $700. The maximum fine for a second offense would be $1,500.
This legislation also requires that if a driver injures someone while passing a school bus, the driver would be charged with aggravated vehicular assault. The charge would be criminally negligent homicide if the person is killed in the incident.
More than 40 percent of school bus-related fatalities include pedestrians. These increased penalties are intended to further deter drivers from passing stopped buses.
The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S4791), sponsored by Senate Majority Coalition Leader Dean G. Skelos, that would increase criminal penalties for sexual contact between a child and a person in a position of trust.
“It’s not possible for parents to be with their children every moment of the day, at some point they must be supervised by other adults, whether it’s day care, school, athletics or other group activities,” Senator Skelos said. “These adults are responsible for the children and they should be held to a strict standard of conduct. If they violate that trust, the adults should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
The bill would create the new crimes of sexual assault against a child by a person in a position of trust in the first, second, and third degrees, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. There are prohibitions in law against sexual contact with a minor, however the law does not increase penalties if the crime is committed by a person in a position of trust.
The law defines someone as a person in a position of trust when any person is charged with any duty or responsibility for the health, education, welfare or supervision of a child, either independently or through another person.
“When parents entrust their children into the care of another adult, the parents should be able to have a sense of security that their child will not be subject to any sexual contact while under that other adult’s supervision,” Senator Skelos said. “This bill would help ensure their safety and punish people who violate that trust.”
The Senate also passed legislation (S2017), sponsored by Senator Skelos, that would allow law enforcement agencies to disseminate to the public, information regarding Level 1 sex offenders. Currently, law enforcement can provide information about Level 2 and 3 sex offenders, but not Level 1 offenders.
The bill also authorizes members of the public to provide an email address to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services so they can receive an email notification if a sex offender moves into their same zip code.
The Senate also passed legislation (S4113), sponsored by Senator Martin Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), that would prohibit criminals convicted of certain crimes from applying or participating in a home or center based child day care program.
Currently, felons can work in or volunteer at a day care program if the State Office of Children and Family Services – after conducting a criminal background check for convictions of certain crimes — feels that the individual’s criminal background does not jeopardize the health and safety of the children.
“There are more than 27,000 children in day care in New York State and we have to ensure that they are being cared for in a safe environment,” Senator Golden said. ”However, a loophole exists that would allow people with histories of crimes such as the sexual abuse of children, to work in a day care setting. When someone is charged with the daily care of young children, we should not be taking chances and potentially placing them at risk. This bill would help protect kids from potentially dangerous individuals.”
This bill expands the list of offenses, resulting in a felony conviction, to include: assault, homicide, strangulation, sex, kidnapping, obscenity and sexual performance by a child. The bill also removes the Office of Children and Family Services’ existing discretion to permit criminals to participate in day care programs.
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Senator Mark Grisanti (R, I-60) announced passage of bill that amends the highway law to designate the bridge that crosses over Route 198 into Delaware Park that connects Nottingham Terrace with Hoyt Lake in the City of Buffalo as “Scajaquada 9/11 Memo…
In a video released early Wednesday morning, former congressman Anthony Weiner says he’s made some “big mistakes and let a lot of people down” but “I hope I get a second chance to work for you.”
In the two minute video formally announcing his mayoral …
A new lawsuit alleges the city’s high school admission practices discriminate against black and Latino students. [Clara Hemphill]
The Yankees bought a minority stake in the city’s first Major League Soccer team and expressed a willingness to consider building a stadium somewhere other than in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. [Annie Karni]
ALBANY, N.Y. – Three-year-old Jay J. Bolvin, his grandfather Joseph Retzer and his Uncle Kevin and Aunt Chris Retzer visited Albany Monday to lobby members of the State Legislature and urge them to pass Jay-J’s Law (S.530/A.2623) this year. Jay-J’s Law – which is sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy – aims to crackdown on repeat [...]
Well within his four-to-six week timeframe he gave last month, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber announced the formation today of the twentieth M.L.S. team and the second in the New York market: New York City Football Club (N.Y.C.F.C.), to be owned in part by the group who own Machester City in the English Premier League, which has been reported for weeks.
The big reveals Tuesday concerned that group’s newly revealed partners, the New York Yankees, along with a 2015 start date for the team to begin play, which will necessitate an interim venue while a new stadium is built.
“New York is a legendary sports town, as well as a thriving global city with a rapidly expanding soccer fan-base,” Ferran Soriano, C.E.O. of Manchester City Football Club, said in the press release. “We are thrilled to contribute to the energy and growth of New York City Soccer. In the Yankees, we have found the absolute best partner for developing a world-class sports organization and a winning team that will carry the New York City Football Club name with pride.”
Interestingly, the obvious interim home in the area by Flushing Meadows Corona Park where M.L.S. has been trying to win approval for a new stadium in Citi Field, home to the New York Mets. But getting the Mets and Yankees to agree might not be so easy; the two clashed back in 2011 over the location of the Yankees’ Triple-A team while that team’s stadium was renovated. It was acrimonious on both sides.
A 1 p.m. conference call with Garber, Yankees president Randy Levine and Manchester City C.E.O. Ferran Soriano should shed further light on the next steps.
But we know this for sure: Garber has his owners, and they are owners with proven track records for two of the best-capitalized sports teams in the world.
The New York State Senate today passed three bills to help farmers succeed by improving agricultural marketing efforts and better connecting farms to consumers across the state.
The “Buy From the Backyard Act” (S978), sponsored by Senator Thomas Libous (R-C-I, Binghamton), requires state agencies with food contracts to buy at least 20 percent of their food from New York sources. The bill expands upon an existing law that encourages state agencies to purchase local food products. Mental health facilities, prisons, universities, and state institutions that have food contracts would be required to purchase at least 20 percent that is grown, produced, harvested or processed in New York State.
“If every household in New York spent just $15 per week on local food, we could pump $5.5 billion into New York State’s economy,” sponsor Senator Tom Libous said. “And that’s just households. The Buy From the Backyard Act will help state agencies join in supporting our farmers and stimulating the economy. We’re investing taxpayer dollars right back into our state.”
Two pieces of legislation sponsored by Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) would help optimize the ways farmers can best connect with customers, suppliers and distributors. A bill passed by the Senate today (S2147) directs the state to develop a long-term strategy for sustaining farming and food production by expediting and encouraging consumer trends towards the consumption of locally and regionally grown foods.
Another bill passed today (S2152) creates the strategic farm and food product development coordinating council to promote beneficial relationships. The Council would connect farmers with processors, wholesalers, distributors, and state institutional entities such as schools and prisons in order to promote the use of New York-grown products in New York.
“New York State has significant high-quality agricultural assets that are widely known to produce excellent products,” said Senator Valesky. “From both economic and health perspectives, it makes sense to connect our own in-state markets to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to local products. This legislation will enable us to do this efficiently and effectively.”
Today, Vito Lopez resigned from the New York State Assembly, just as his colleagues were preparing to kick him out.His official Assembly website is gone too, along with some videos of the 71-year-old former Brooklyn Democratic boss. Here are some momen…
On Sunday morning, Dan Pfeiffer, a top adviser to President Obama, fanned out across five Sunday shows, in an effort to move the administration past the controversies that are currently distracting from the administration’s second-term agenda.
“I think we’ve seen this playbook from the Republicans before,” Pfeiffer said on “Meet the Press.”
“What they want to do when they’re lacking a positive agenda is try to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped up hearings and false allegations.”
Pfeiffer said Republicans were just “trying to make political hay” out of their pointed questions, and he called insinuations about the president’s leadership, particularly on the night of the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, “offensive” and “absurd.”
His Sunday tour reflected the administration’s attempt to concede some management failures while aggressively combating questions about the president’s efficacy or integrity.
He said Republicans owed an apology to Susan Rice, whose own Sunday tour after Benghazi provoked Republican questions about a controversial set of talking points, which have now expanded to investigations of how the Internal Revenue Service singled out conservative groups, and why the Department of Justice seized a broad swath of phone records from the Associated Press.
“This is arrogance of power, abuse of power, to the nth degree, and we’re going to get to the bottom of this,” said Rep. Paul Ryan on “Fox News Sunday.”
Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s vice presidential candidate last year and is rumored to be considering a presidential run in 2016, suggested this was exactly the kind of behavior he had tried unsuccessfully to campaign against.
“Now we’re seeing big government in practice,” he said. “Now we’re seeing the arrogance, the cronyism in practice in this second term. And that is even uglier than big government in theory.”
On “Face the Nation,” Senate minority whip John Cornyn said there is a “culture of cover-ups” in the administration.
And on “Meet the Press,” Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said “there is a culture of intimidation throughout the administration.”
But the attempt to bundle the current controversies into a single catch-all narrative of executive power
was complicated, at least in the case of the DOJ investigation, by the past statement of some Republicans, including McConnell, who publicly urged Obama to take a tougher line in investigating leaks from the administration.
McConnell conceded as much on Sunday morning, but when pressed on whether the Justice Department was right to seize a broad swath of phone records, he retreated to his talking points, which he repeated as an answer to four successive questions.
David Gregory asked if McConnell’s past support for such an investigation meant the Justice Department’s actions weren’t really a scandal, and if McConnell is supportive of Attorney General Eric Holder, who has become a Republican lightning rod, in this case.
“What I am supportive of is investigating national security leaks that endanger Americans around the world,” said McConnell.
Gregory asked if this would qualify.
“We don’t know yet what has happened here,” he said. “What I do think is that national security leaks that endanger Americans around the world are a serious matter.”
Gregory asked if there was any reason to doubt Holder’s assertion that this instance had endangered American lives.
“What I’m saying is national security leaks that endanger Americans around the world are a serious matter,” McConnell said again.
“Okay, including this one,” said Gregory.
“Any time you are leaking national security information, that endangers Americans around the world, it’s a serious matter,” McConnell said again.
“I think it’s clear what you’re saying,” Gregory said.
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