On April 24, 2009, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined Governor Paterson, advocates, members of the law enforcement community, and other colleagues in government as the Governor signed into law sweeping reforms of the Rockefeller Drug Laws passed by the Assembly and the Senate.
The reforms, which the legislature adopted as part of the 2009-2010 budget, eliminate the harsh sentences that the Rockefeller Drug Laws mandated, giving judges greater authority to divert non-violent addicts to treatment and greatly expanding drug treatment programs. Judges are authorized to sentence certain lower-level, first felony drug offenders and lower-level, second-time, non-violent drug felons to probation, local jail time, or both. Additional provisions of the agreement require a statutorily defined, uniform drug diversion program while maintaining authority for existing prosecutor-sponsored Drug Treatment Alternatives to Prison (DTAP) programs. The ceremonial signing was held at Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities, Inc., a New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) funded drug treatment facility in Queens.