Senate Passes 3 Key Pieces Of Legislation

Joseph E. Robach

The New York State Senate today passed legislation that would stop Governor Spitzer’s plan to issue drivers licenses to illegal aliens by requiring a social security number or proof of authorized presence in the United States to obtain a New York State drivers license or non-driver identification card.
The legislation (S.6484) the Senate passed today is sponsored by Senator Frank Padavan (Queens). It would require applicants for a drivers license or non-driver identification card to submit a social security number. When a social security number cannot be provided, the applicant must demonstrate they are ineligible to get a number and provide satisfactory proof that the applicant's presence in the United States is authorized under federal law.

Measure Ensures Dedicated Funds for Highway and Bridge Construction and Repair
The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.6516), sponsored by Senator Thomas Libous (R-C-I, Binghamton), Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, to fix the State’s Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund (DHBTF) by directing more funding to bridge and road construction and repair.
The Bridge and Road Investment and Dedicated Fund Guaranteed Enforcement (BRIDGE) Reform Act will amend the State Finance Law to create a five-year phase-out (approximately 20% per year) of non-bridge and road expenses and prohibit these uses thereafter. The BRIDGE Reform Act aims to clean up the Dedicated Fund by removing DOT Snow and Ice Removal expenses totaling $563 million and DMV Operational expenses totaling $199 million so that this money can be used to fix roads and bridges.
“Maintaining the safety and viability of New York’s infrastructure is a critically important investment that needs our attention,” said State Senator Joe Robach. “This legislation will ensure that money dedicated to be used for highway and bridge construction and repairs will not be diverted for other uses -- this will be a true “dedicated” funding source for bridges and highways.”

Bill Would Allow Victims to Testify Via Closed-Circuit Television
The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.4875), sponsored by Senator Cathy Young (R-C-I, Olean) that would provide victims of domestic violence greater protection by allowing them to testify in court via closed-circuit television.
Senator Young’s legislation was introduced this April at a Capitol news conference, in observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, where members of the Senate Majority were joined by Mrs. New York State 2007 Lori Donaudy of Smithtown, Long Island. A former victim of domestic abuse, Lori’s platform as Mrs. New York includes raising awareness of domestic violence, supporting victims, and raising funds for Joe Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation.
Over two-thirds of domestic violence crimes against women are committed by someone known to them. Very often, vulnerable witnesses are reluctant to testify about crimes that have been committed against them out of fear. Allowing these witnesses to testify via closed-circuit television may help their willingness to come forward and testify.