Jay J. and his family secure the commitments of several key lawmakers
ALBANY, N.Y. – The push for Jay J.’s Law continued this week, when Jay J. and his family visited Albany to lobby lawmakers for support. Jay J., his grandparents, Joseph and Tabitha Retzer, and Uncle Kevin and Aunt Chris Retzer secured commitments from several state legislators whose support will be critical to passing Jay J.’s Law.
Senator Tim Kennedy and Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak – with the support of the Western New York Delegation – worked to introduce Jay J. to Democratic and Republican colleagues from across the state in both legislative chambers. At the end of their day in Albany, significant progress had been made, and the Retzers and local lawmakers felt they were even closer to passing Jay J.’s Law.
Jay J.’s Law will crackdown on repeat child abuse and enact far stiffer penalties for violent offenders who repeatedly hurt children.
“We heard a tremendously positive response from every lawmaker we met. Whether they were Democrat or Republican, from Upstate or Downstate, Senator or Assembly member, several legislators gave us their word – firm commitments – that they intended to pass Jay J.’s Law,” said Jay J.’s Uncle Kevin Retzer.
He added, “We secured important commitments from Senate Codes Committee Chairman Stephen Saland, who told us that he will soon be putting Jay J.’s Law on a committee agenda for a vote, and from Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who said he intends to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. We know Jay J.’s Law will pass the Senate, if it comes up for a vote. We want to thank Senator Kennedy, Assemblyman Gabryszak and the entire Western New York Delegation for working so hard on behalf of Jay J.”
“New York State needs to do a better job of protecting children. After hearing Jay J.’s story, our colleagues in the Senate understood how absolutely vital it is that we pass Jay J.’s Law this session,” said Senator Kennedy. “Jay J.’s Law will fix a gap in state law that allowed Jay J.’s abuser to receive a light sentence, despite the long-term suffering his abuse has forced Jay J. to endure. We must pass Jay J.’s Law to help deliver justice and protect victims of child abuse. I’m thrilled so many of my colleagues have committed their support, and I want to commend Jay J.’s family for their relentless advocacy.”
“We are making progress in our efforts to pass Jay J.’s Law to protect children across the state,” said Assemblyman Gabryszak. “Jay J.’s family has built a grassroots campaign to advocate for Jay J.’s Law, and lawmakers are paying attention. It’s great to see such wide-reaching, bipartisan and statewide support for this important bill. We’re committed to doing the hard work and pushing forward to see Jay J.’s Law passed this session. It’s time for the state to step up its efforts to help prevent child abuse.”
Jay J’s Law amends the crime of aggravated assault upon a person less than 11 years old. A person will be guilty of this charge when he injures a child and has previously been convicted of such a crime within the previous 10 years, instead of the current 3 years. This crime is also strengthened from a class E felony to a class D felony. If a third instance of abuse occurs, the crime of aggravated assault upon a person less than 11 years old becomes a class B felony.
Under Jay J.’s Law, an offender could also be charged with first-degree assault in severe cases of repeat child abuse. First-degree assault is a class B felony.
“Essentially, what Jay J.’s Law amounts to is stronger penalties for offenders who violently attack children,” Senator Kennedy added. “It will keep repeat abusers locked up for longer periods of time.”
A class D felony carries a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison, while a class B felony has a maximum sentence of 25 years.
Senator Timothy M. Kennedy represents the New York State Senate’s 58th District, which is comprised of the towns of Cheektowaga, Eden, Hamburg and West Seneca, the city of Lackawanna and parts of the city of Buffalo. More information is available at http://kennedy.nysenate.gov.