Senator James Sanders Jr. Stands up for Seniors, the Disabled, Teachers and Tech Crime Victims

James Sanders Jr.

June 04, 2019

Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway), yesterday made important strides in protecting seniors, the disabled, teachers and victims of tech crimes with three key pieces of his legislation, passed by the senate in a single day – June 4, 2019.

S.2475 – This legislation pertains to computer-related crimes and would update the computer-related crimes provisions of the law.

This bill would add more detailed definitions to cover a modern range of circumstances, and would include the definitions for computer system, government computer system, public safety infrastructure computer system, supporting documentation, injury, victim expenditure, computer contaminant, Internet domain name, electronic mail and profile.

Even in the past decade, computer crimes have grown tremendously in their scope and reach. This bill uses more modern terminology to ensure that existing computer crimes can be applied to modern circumstances. Currently, many attackers focus not on a single computer, but on a computer network, website, internet service provider or other computer service. Further, existing law does not differentiate between attacking a civilian computer network versus a government computer network. As recently experienced in Albany, attacks on government computers can jeopardize the security of civilians’ personal information, as well as jeopardize the running of governments. Similarly, the bill acknowledges public safety infrastructure systems like 911 dispatch systems by applying higher penalties to attacks on these services.

“In today's world of cyber terrorism and technological warfare, it is essential to modernize the state's computer-related crimes law,” Sanders said. “This includes establishing definitions of terms, expanding provisions, establishing more specific offenses and providing civil remedies.”

S.3224 – SCRIE Rollback Act – This legislation provides retroactivity to the original date of eligibility in certain cases for the senior citizens rent increase exemption (SCRIE) and disability rent increase exemption (DRIE).

In other words, if a senior did not apply for SCRIE until they reached age 70, but they had been eligible at age 62, this legislation would provide them with a rent increase exemption based on their rent when they became eligible, but only back to when they were age 68. 

“Many seniors and disabled people are living on a fixed income and rents are very high in New York City and around the state,” Sanders said. “This bill, which extends SCRIE and DRIE, will be enormously helpful to many people struggling to keep a roof over their heads.”

S.5410 – This legislation relates to the cumulative grade point average admission requirement for graduate-level teacher and educational leader programs.

This bill would remove the requirement that applicants admitted into a graduate-level teacher and leader education programs have achieved a 3.0 minimum cumulative grade point average in the candidate's undergraduate program.

Many advocates including NYSUT, SUNY, CUNY and the Commission of Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) all believe that whether or not an applicant obtained a 3.0 undergraduate GPA does not serve as a good indicator of an applicant’s ability or potential to be a great teacher or principal. These advocacy groups also assert that the required 3.0 undergraduate GPA unfairly penalizes students who may have had more challenging coursework or a poor semester that pulled their GPA below 3.0.

Under the current law, students with these issues would be prevented from being admitted into a graduate-level teacher or school leadership preparation program. This bill would instead allow for the state’s teachers colleges to have the authority to accept students that fit their program, including those from minority and underrepresented groups in the profession.

“This legislation will open up more opportunities for those seeking to become teachers as well as increase the diversity of good quality educators that we have in our school system,” Sanders said.