Senator Farley Announces Senate Passage Of Bill To Enhance Jonathan's Law

Hugh T. Farley

January 29, 2008

State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C - Schenectady) announced the New York State Senate today passed legislation that would make it a felony to endanger the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person. The legislation is related to Jonathan’s Law which was enacted last year.

Jonathan's Law was created last year after the tragic death in February of 13-year-old Jonathan Carey, an autistic teen who lived at the state-run O.D. Heck Development Center in Niskayuna. This law ensures that parents and guardians have access to records pertaining to allegations and investigations of mistreatment of children in residential care facilities.

"There is no excuse for what happened to Jonathan and his family," said Senator Farley. "The law now provides important notification requirements, mandates access to records, and begins an education process. It is a critical step in the right direction. This newest bill (S.3894) takes it a step further."

Under current law, endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person is a class A misdemeanor. This bill would elevate the offense to a class E felony, which carries a penalty of up to 4 years in prison.

The bill was sent to the Assembly.