Governor Pataki has signed a new law, Chapter 436 of the Laws of 2006, that provides for tougher penalties for dealing drugs on school buses. Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, who sponsored the bill, said, “We’ve already enacted tougher penalties for dealing drugs on or near school grounds. Extending the same protection to children on school buses is a ‘no-brainer.’”
The new law doubles the minimum sentence for the class B felony of criminal sale of a controlled substance to at least two years if the crime occurs on a school bus or other school vehicle transporting children to or from school activities. A maximum sentence of nine years could be imposed.
Substance abuse is one of the most important and preventable health problems among teenagers, who are at increased risk as a result of societal and cultural pressures as well as developmental factors. “Most parents are trying to do all they can to keep their kids drug-free. They have a right to expect that protecting their children will continue to be a priority when they board the school bus,” said Schimminger. “We need to protect children from drugs on their way to and from school as well as when they’re in school.”
The new law, which takes effect September 1, was sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Stephen Saland.