Senator John J. Flanagan (R,C-East Northport) annouced that the New York State Senate passed the 2005-06 public protection and general government budget legislation (S.550E, S.3666) that includes a $57 million increase in aid to localities and would continue the operation of several correctional facilities.
"This legislation restores and provides additional funding to areas of the budget that are necessary for the safety and well-being of every New Yorker. Particularly, the legislation includes funds for law enforcement, corrections, and homeland security," said Senator John J. Flanagan. "Additionally, this legislation affords local governments and government agencies throughout the state critically needed state aid that will enable them to properly function."
PUBLIC PROTECTION AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT HIGHLIGHTS
The 2005-06 public protection and general government legislation provides the following:
Local Assistance -- The budget increases aid to local governments by $57 million over last year. The Senate successfully fought for a 3.75 percent aid increase for towns and villages along with a minimum increase of $500 to ensure each locality receives a reasonable hike in aid. The budget combines all the existing revenue sharing programs into one, so there is no longer a separate category for supplemental municipal aid (a.k.a. distressed aid). The budget increases aid to all cities aid by 12.75 percent.
Division of Criminal Justice Services -- The Legislature amends the Executive's proposal which authorized the DCJS to post information regarding all registered sex offenders on the Internet and to annually update photos for all registered sex offenders. The Legislature proposes to annually update photos for level three offenders, and to update photos for level one and two offenders every three years. This proposal, and other proposed revisions to Megan's Law, will be discussed between the respective houses after the enactment of the State Budget.
The Legislature denies the Executive's proposal to merge the Department of Probation and Correctional Alternatives (DPCA) with the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). The Legislature also denies the $3 million proposed funding for the Automated Speed Enforcement Program. This rejection is in line with the Legislature's rejection of the proposal to implement automated photo monitoring at work zones, dangerous stretches of highways and a local authorization for additional red light cameras.
The Legislature restores funding for the following programs: $134,000 for the New York Prosecutors Training Institute; $100,000 for Lifespan Elder Abuse Program; $400,000 for Local Reimbursement for Indigent Parolees; and $3.17 million for the Restoration of Anti-Drug, Anti-Violence, Crime Control, Prevention and Treatment Programs (Edward Byrne Funding).
Department of Correctional Services -- The budget requires the Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services to provide an annual report containing detailed information related to the staffing of correctional facilities, and would require one year prior of any closure of a correctional facility and calls for the Department to undertake certain actions prior to the closure.
Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence -- The Legislature concurs with the Executive's All Funds request of $2.4 million and restores $210,000 in funding for Battering Prevention Programs.