Charles D.
reports to
the people
Summer/Fall 2005

Dear Friends,

It’s hard to believe that nearly a year has passed since I became your Assemblyman. During that time, the Assembly has adopted many of the reforms that we demanded in order to make our state government more effective. Assemblymembers must now actually be present to vote on bills, public hearings are being conducted on important issues, joint committees of Senators and Assemblymembers have held open hearings on the budget, lobbyists no longer roam freely through the Assembly Chamber, rules were passed to check lobbying influence on the State’s Authorities and we will soon be able to watch the Assembly in action on public service cable television. These many reforms have ultimately been responsible for the first on-time budget in twenty-one years. Requiring legislators to vote in person has forced spirited and informative public debate regarding crucially important issues. These steps, however, are just the beginning. Much remains to be done, and will always remain to be done, in order to help our State protect its citizens. Working together, we shall certainly accomplish that goal. It has been a profound honor to serve as your Assemblyman.

Charles Lavine

Assemblyman Lavine

The most immediate threat New Yorkers face on a daily basis is the fear that they will be victimized by a criminal with a gun. Not only do we have to worry about face to face confrontations with heavily armed criminals, but we must also contend with the prospect of being caught in the cross-fire. For far too long, we have reacted to this challenge with passivity. Recognizing the danger, Assemblyman Lavine has introduced legislation that will help end such needless tragedies by effectively enabling law enforcement on the state level to gather important information about how illegal guns find their way into the hands of the criminals. The bill, A8585, will also enable our police to gain sorely needed intelligence about how gangs get their weapons and about how such unlawful enterprises operate. This legislation will fundamentally alter, for the better, the way our state criminal justice system functions.

Lavine’s legislation establishes the new crime of Related Use of a Lethal or Explosive Device (R.U.L.E.D). It mandates a consecutive sentence of five years for possession of a firearm or explosive that will have to be served after the criminal completes the sentence originally imposed on the underlying offense when that offense involves either a violent crime or any crime involving the sale or possession of a controlled substance. The criminal will first have to complete the sentence for the violent or drug related crime before the consecutive five year sentence begins to run.

The additional five year consecutive term will not be imposed so long as the criminal truthfully discloses to the satisfaction of the Judge and Prosecutor all information that person has concerning the source of the firearm or explosive device.

"This new crime will result in some very lengthy jail sentences," Lavine observed. "A consecutive five year term will be sufficient incentive for street thugs and robbers to betray the sources of their weapons. Once they start talking, we will gain much needed intelligence about how criminals operate and how they obtain their illegal guns. Their accomplices out on the street will always have to worry that the police will learn about their operations."

The legislation provides that there will be no waiver of the five year consecutive term if the use of the firearm or explosive device has resulted in the death or serious bodily injury of another person who was not a participant in the underlying offense.

With gang activity becoming an ever greater threat and with gangs relying on the drug trade as a steady source of income, this legislation will give our law enforcement officers a more basic weapon to boldly fight an intricately guarded crime community.

"This legislation will protect all New Yorkers and will go a long way towards defeating gangs and criminal enterprises. There is such a thing as a smart way to fight crime. This bill is just such a measure," said Assemblyman Lavine.

"Given that the legislation will fundamentally alter the way our system of criminal justice functions," noted Assembylman Lavine, "we will build on that bi-partisan support when the bill is reintroduced in the next legislative session. I am hopeful that we will find a Senate sponsor. This legislation is vital to protect our citizens and law enforcement officers. It is essential that we pass this measure." The popularity of this legislation was reflected in the enormous bi-partisan support it received in the Assembly. The measure had gathered nearly forty co-sponsors.

Assemblymember Lavine
Named to Committees.
Will add experienced voice to Codes and Local Governments

Assemblymember Charles Lavine was recently assigned to the following committees in the New York State Assembly: Codes, Transportation, Economic Development, Local Governments, Social Services and Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

As a member of the Committee on Codes, Assemblymember Lavine is currently participating in public hearings on the death penalty. Last June, the Court of Appeals declared the death penalty unconstitutional. The hearings are intended to foster a public dialogue on whether or not the death penalty should be re-instated. Because of his legal expertise and considerable knowledge of the workings of the criminal justice system, Assemblymember Lavine brings a unique voice to the Codes Committee.

In addition, Assemblymember Lavine will serve on the Local Governments Committee, bringing his knowledge as a former city councilman and member of local governing boards. "I am honored to serve on my assigned committees and will work to bring about changes and reforms that will benefit the residents of the 13th District and all New Yorkers," stated Lavine.

Lavine Sponsors "VaSean’s Law"- Toughens Drunken Drivers’ penalties


On May 2nd, 2005, the Assembly unanimously passed Assembly Bill 6285-B. This legislation, also known as "VaSean’s Law," is sponsored by Assemblyman Charles Lavine. The bill was signed into law on May 17th, 2005.

This bill was named for VaSean Phillip Alleyne. At the tender age of 11 he was killed by a drunk driver. This law will toughen the penalties for vehicular assault and vehicular manslaughter when someone is seriously injured or dies due to a drunken driver.

This legislation goes on to abolish the requirement of criminal negligence that is presently needed to prosecute crimes like these. Under VaSean’s Law, a person who commits a heinous crime such as this one will be charged with a felony.

Statistics have shown that over one-third of this state’s 1,500 traffic deaths in 2003 were caused by drunk drivers. This law will send a message to possible drunk drivers that we will not tolerate those who choose to drink and drive. Should they harm someone, they will now be faced with a harsher punishment. VaSean’s death was a terrible tragedy and hopefully this will deter others from drinking and driving.

Significance of Nassau Vietnam Veterans Monument

Designed by architects Shannon Diamondstein and Hui Min Chan and sculptor Joan Benefield, Nassau County’s Vietnam Veterans Monument will consist of two clasped hands emerging from a map of Southeast Asia. Much like the long black wall in Washington, D.C., it conjures an eloquence and stark and harrowing sentiment that reflects the experience of our troops who fought in those far away lands of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

I was honored and privileged to participate in the groundbreaking for the monument on May 7, 2005. The wind and cold of that early afternoon did not prevent many veterans and their loved ones from attending. Perhaps it was because of all that has been written about Vietnam that so few words had to be spoken. Those few words were, however, intensely moving.

<All we ever had was ourselves" is the language that adorns the postcard describing the monument. Just six words. Yet they do indeed capture, in a way that hundreds of pages never would, the soul of the bond that cements the dedication those veterans have for one another.

For too many, the unfathomable difficulties that confronted them as young men in Indo-China were eclipsed by the challenges they encountered on their return home. Even though they were our family and had done our collective bidding, they were never embraced in the same way as their fathers and grandfathers who returned from the World Wars. Tragically, they came back to a nation that was itself torn apart and wounded.

And so many never returned. And so many of those who did would long endure the scars and pain.

The Nassau County Veterans Monument Fund has published a brief brochure that sums it up best: "From July 8th, 1959 until April 30th, 1975, the United States of America sent its finest sons and daughters to serve in Southeast Asia. Some served in the early years as advisors, covertly, or in theater support, while others later served in-country and in combat. They are all brothers and sisters in arms. During the course of the war, these troops found that they were not fully supported by the government that sent them or by its citizens. The valor, duty, and sacrifice of these brave men and women is unquestioned. They never lost a battle. They endured hell on earth. Yet, they returned home not to parades but to scorn."

Once again we find our sons and daughters committed to another difficult conflict far from our shores. Whether we agree with the policy that places them in harm’s way or not, we must learn from what happened to our troops in Vietnam and we must resolve not to repeat their mistreatment.

The rolling hills surrounding the Veterans Tower at Eisenhower Park are beautiful and serene. We can recall the sacrifice of our fathers and grandfathers who fought in the World Wars at their monuments. We now owe it to our brothers and sisters who served us so well in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in those dark days of more than thirty years ago to finish their monument.

Let us now work together to complete that monument. Not only is this measure of respect long overdue, but it is truly the least we can do for the best their generation had to offer. And let us resolve to honor and protect our troops who now return from the war in the Middle East. That will be the most fitting monument to our Vietnam vets.

Assemblymember Lavine Encourages Kids To Read

Walt Disney, who knew a great deal about delighting children of all ages, once said that . . . "There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island . . . and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life." Hundreds of children who participated in Assemblyman Lavine’s "2005 Summer Reading Challenge" couldn’t agree more.

Reading and learning should not stop just because of summer recess. Countless studies have established that children who continue to read during the summer perform better when they return to school in the fall.

To encourage our children to continue reading and learning over the long summer months, Assemblyman Lavine established the "2005 Summer Reading Challenge." Participants received a special calendar on which they marked every day in July and August that they read a book for at least fifteen minutes. Each student who met the challenge was presented with a special New York State Assembly Excellence in Reading Certificate.

"It is truly exciting to know that the youngsters who enrolled read hundreds of books," commented the Assemblyman. "But it is extraordinarily gratifying to realize that such an accomplishment is just the beginning for our kids. No one ever reads just one book. Over time, these students will read thousands and thousands of books and we will all benefit from the knowledge they will attain."

While the students were required to mark their calendars to indicate that they had each read for at least a quarter of an hour a day, the Assemblyman is pleased to note that some of the youngsters had indicated that they had in fact spent entire days reading such favorites as Amelia Bedelia, Nate the Great, Buster Gets Braces, Diary of a Worm, Where the Wild Things Are and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Assemblyman Lavine wants to recognize the New York State Education Department’s Division of Library Development and librarians throughout the 13th Assembly District for their help in assisting with the reading program.

13th Assembly District Photo Gallery

Lavine Sworn Into Office photo New York State Assemblyman Charles Lavine being sworn into office in January 2005.
Roger B. Tilles Upon His Election World War II Veteran
photo Assemblyman Chuck Lavine congratulates Roger B. Tilles upon his election to a five-year term as the Regent for the Tenth Judicial District, commencing on April 1, 2005 and expiring on March 31, 2010. photo Westbury resident and World War II veteran of the United States Army, Doris S. Richardson, members of the Jr. ROTC from Westbury High School join Assemblyman Lavine at a ceremony honoring women veterans on July 14, 2005.

Meeting Christopher Doran and Michael Davidson

Assemblyman Lavine meets with the Glen Head and Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce at Bernard’s Market & Cafe in Glen Head. Pictured with Chuck are Christopher Doran of Bernard’s Market & Cafe and Michael Davidson, former Executive Director of the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce.

Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine
Room 325 LOB
Albany, New York 12248
(518) 455-5456
NYS State 70 Glen Street, Suite 100
Glen Cove, New York 11542
(516) 676-0050