GOLDEN AND MALTESE DECLARE VICTORY ON "GRANNY’S LAW"
After a Year of Excuses and Inaction, Assembly Finally Agrees
To Address Issue of Vicious Assaults on Senior Citizens
Senators Martin J. Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), Chairman of the Senate Task Force on Critical Choices, and Serf Maltese (Queens), today declared victory and welcomed the news that the State Assembly Majority has finally agreed to toughen penalties on violent criminals who prey upon and viciously attack senior citizens.
Their statement came in response to today's announcement from Speaker Sheldon Silver that the Assembly leadership will allow a vote to be taken on legislation to increase penalties for individuals who physically assault senior citizens. This represents a major shift in policy for the Speaker, who had previously expressed reservations about passing legislation that was specifically designed to protect seniors from assaults.
"It took nearly a full year of news conferences, public rallies and scathing editorials to put pressure on Speaker Silver, but he finally seems to have gotten the message that New Yorkers want tougher penalties for vicious criminals who attack senior citizens," Senator Golden said. "Next week will mark one year to the day that 101 year-old Rose Morat and 85 year-old Solange Elizee were brutally beaten and mugged. While we are pleased that the Assembly Democrats have finally gotten on board with us regarding this issue, every New Yorker knows that it should never have taken so long to begin with."
"After nearly a full year of handwringing, empty rhetoric and lame excuses, the Assembly Majority has finally seen the light," said Senator Serphin Maltese, former Queens Assistant District Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Homicide Bureau. "The bottom line is that wecannot allow seniors to be targeted and assaulted simply because they are not physically able to defend themselves. While we are pleased that the Assembly Majority now agrees with us, it's both outrageous and unfortunate that it took them so long to take action on behalf of our seniors."
Earlier this month, newspapers carried the story of another of New York's seniors, an 87 year old Bronx woman, being attacked by two men in their late teens or early twenties. Ironically enough, on the same day those stories became public, the Assembly Aging Committee was discussing, studying and debating the issue of elder abuse at a public hearing. At that time, the Senate Majority members once again made an urgent plea to the Assembly leadership to stop talking and to take action.
Within days of last year's assault on Rose Morat, Senators Golden, Maltese and others highlighted the fact that the penal law fails to provide more severe penalties for attacks on seniors. The two Senators then led the effort to develop and pass legislation during last year's legislative session to toughen penalties for such attacks. Throughout the remainder of the session, the Assembly Majority leadership resisted repeated public calls to take similar action on the Assembly floor.