June 2, 2009: State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C – Mt. Hope), supported by District Attorneys and concerned advocates throughout the State, is fighting to see legislation enacted which would fix a dangerous problem created by Democrats who changed the State’s drug laws as part of the 2009-10 state budget. The new law allows for convicted drug dealers and other criminals to have their criminal records sealed, thereby hiding their past from potential employers – including school districts, day care facilities, and nursing homes.
Senator Bonacic said, “The changes to New York’s drug laws were rushed through as part of the State’s secret budget process. The New York City Democrats who controlled the budget process claimed to be thrilled with these changes, and now we see the results. Secret negotiations combined with a soft-on-crime attitude have left New York with a very dangerous public policy we must stop.”
The measure, set to take effect June 8th, allows the records of convicted drug dealers and felons who apply for jobs at schools, day care facilities, and nursing homes to be sealed so prospective employers – including School Superintendents and Boards of Education, will be prevented from knowing about their criminal backgrounds.
Senator Bonacic and other Senators have proposed a bill (S.5684) to roll back the provisions that prevent prospective employers in positions of trust, such as teachers, day care workers and other care givers, from knowing whether individuals they hire could be a threat to children, the elderly, and the infirm.
Senate Republicans, who were entirely excluded from budget negotiations by Senate Democrats are planning to offer an amendment on the floor of session this week to give the Democrats the opportunity to repeal the provision prior to the law taking effect on June 8th.
“The New York City Democrats who control State government have failed residents of the Hudson Valley and Catskills. They have taxed us more, they have refused to pass property tax legislation, and they have made our communities less safe. We may not be able to win every battle, but common sense demands we keep drug dealers and other criminals out of our classrooms, day care centers, and homes,” concluded Senator Bonacic.
On the web: The Journal News: http://lohud.com/article/20090608/OPINION/906080303/1015/OPINION01/Fix+the+fixes
Albany Times Union: http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=807799&category=OPINION