By New York State Senator Mark Grisanti
Now that the election is over, we need Albany to get back to work on some important legislation that will make it safer for children and drivers alike. At least nine key pieces of crime legislation that passed the Senate were killed last session by the Democratic Majority in the Assembly. In the new legislative session that begins in January, all of these key pieces of crime legislation need to be reintroduced and passed in both Houses. We need to analyze the core merits of the bills and not make decisions solely on political expediency.
The first half of these bills dealt with topics affecting children, including stopping the sale of a controlled substance to children under 14; the creation of a stop gun violence program in public schools for students from kindergarten thru twelfth grade; the prohibition of allowing an elementary or secondary student to have the capacity of consent to having sexual relations with a school employee and the last child bill helps prosecute those who traffic in child pornography on the internet by increasing the penalties when an individual produces, directs or promotes 25 or more obscene performances involving a child less than seventeen. To protect children, all of these are important new laws that would directly impact the safety of our children at home, in school and on the internet.
The other crime legislation package is centered on driving rules whether criminalizing the staging of a motor vehicle accident, allowing insurers to cancel policies of those who stage accidents, increasing penalties for those engaging in speed contests, and the installation of ignition interlock devices on the vehicles of those found to be driving while intoxicated. Stronger consequences for those who break the law with a motor vehicle will discourage reckless acts that endanger innocent drivers. Additionally, the last law would amend the definition of a criminal use of a firearm in the first degree to include when someone displays a firearm when committing any type of felony. This law penalizes those who threaten with a gun.
These laws passed the Senate and died in the Assembly. Each one deserves to be quickly reintroduced. These are common sense laws to protect our community from acts that have huge consequences and inflict permanent harm. For too long politicians have put politics above the safety of our citizens, but perhaps this is the year we change that in favor of protecting people. I urge everyone to contact their elected representatives in Albany and tell them to endorse serious crime legislation this year. Let’s fight for children and increase our safety on the road. As your Senate representative, I will do my part to sponsor, endorse and vote to pass all of these laws.