Assemblyman Abbatte Assemblyman

Reports to the

Fall 2005   

In this issue . . .

Dear Friend:

This past legislative session saw a number of important bills passed in the Assembly, some of which were signed into law.

I supported a bill that was signed into law and took effect this year (May 15) which better protects New Yorkers from terrorists by requiring security officers to undergo thorough background checks before being hired by New York companies.

The Assembly also took steps to stop sexual predators from luring children into secluded places for the purpose of committing crimes. This new measure builds on a law that I supported last year mandating a life sentence without parole for anyone who murders a child under 14 in the course of a sex crime.

We also tackled issues that impact us all, such as how our state economy is affected by job outsourcing and doing more to get drunk drivers off our roads.

I supported legislation that discourages outsourcing of jobs because I believe that New York taxpayers should not be rewarding companies that send jobs out-of-state or overseas with tax breaks and financial incentives.

Even though our state has an exemplary record of fighting drunk driving, more needs to be done to get those remaining hardcore drunken drivers off our roads. To that end, I supported legislation that imposes harsher penalties and sends a clear message that we do not tolerate drinking and driving. Hopefully, the Senate and governor will agree and make this tougher bill law.

Additionally, we’ve taken steps to crack down on the manufacturing and use of methamphetamine that plagues our communities, and we made laws that give consumers protection when purchasing gift certificates and gift cards.

As always, I’ll continue to do all I can to ensure that our community remains one of the best in New York City.

Peter J. Abbate, Jr.
Member of Assembly

Assembly Passes Important Legislation
New law requiring federal background checks helps fight terrorism

The state Assembly and Senate reached an agreement on a bill that the governor signed into law (Ch. 699) requiring individuals to undergo federal criminal background checks before becoming security guards for New York companies. The new law took effect May 15, 2005 and will help protect New York families from terrorism.

We depend on security guards to keep New York citizens safe in our airports, public buildings, nuclear facilities, and other places targeted by terrorists. This law protects New Yorkers by barring security enforcement jobs to federal criminals in our communities. This ultimately eliminates potential safety risks to our families and our way of life.

Under this law, security guard applicants will be fingerprinted to determine if they have committed crimes outside of New York state. The fingerprints will be sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) where the applicant’s entire criminal history will be screened before he or she is hired. Previously, security guard applicants were only checked for criminal records in New York state.

With the threat of terrorist attacks a very real danger in New York, it is essential that we continue to take every step possible to ensure the safety of our families and neighborhoods - and this law does that.

"Providing additional security from terrorism to the residents of New York is a high priority for me, and I will continue my efforts to keep New York a safe state to live in."
Assembly passes legislation that cracks down on child predators

The Assembly passed a bill that I supported criminalizing the act of luring a child under the age of 14 into a secluded place for the purpose of committing a violent or sexual felony (A.2467).

There currently is no specific crime that covers the act of luring a child - a step that most abductors must take before harming a child. This measure would give law enforcement another tool to hinder potential offenders and charge them if they are caught before a more heinous crime occurs.

The new luring crime would be a Class E felony, punishable by up to 4 years in prison. The luring crime is elevated further if the crime the offender intended to commit is a Class B or Class A felony. In such event, the luring crime is elevated, respectively, to a Class D felony, punishable by up to 7 years in prison, or Class C felony, with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

We have to do more to protect our children from dangerous predators. Making sure tough penalties are in place for this type of crime will punish predators and allow law enforcement to stop them before they complete these heinous crimes.

Legislative Measures that Impact Us All
photo Assemblyman Abbate addresses employees at a local manufacturing facility.
Assembly takes steps to stop outsourcing of jobs

The Assembly has consistently fought for measures to improve economic conditions for all New Yorkers. I backed legislation that is designed to keep jobs in New York by preventing companies that outsource jobs from cashing in at the taxpayers’ expense. Companies should be rewarded for creating jobs - not exporting them.

The bill (A.1213) known as the State Financial Incentive Protection Act, prohibits companies from receiving financial incentives if they are sending jobs out of the state. It also requires that, if a company has received state economic development money and then outsourced jobs outside the state, it will return any money it has received.

"New York taxpayers should not be rewarding companies that send jobs out-of-state or overseas with tax breaks and financial incentives."

The outsourcing problem is only getting worse as companies look to cut their costs by relying on lower-paid workers. The outsourcing of jobs initially impacted manufacturing workers, but all sectors of our economy - increasingly white-collar, high tech jobs - are being affected.

Legislation cracks down on most reckless drunk drivers

A driving safety measure that I supported, and which passed the Assembly, imposes harsher penalties for repeat drunk drivers and drivers with high blood-alcohol content levels (A.3692).

In New York State, alcohol-related crashes represent about 20 percent of all fatal accidents. This legislation would further prevent seriously intoxicated drivers and repeat offenders from wreaking havoc on our highways and hurting or killing our loved ones.

Under this bill, drivers with a BAC of 0.20 percent or higher would be charged with the new crime of "aggravated DWI." Those convicted would face increased fines from $1,000 to $2,500 for the first offense and up to a year in jail. Taxi, liveries and other commercial drivers charged with aggravated DWI would face felony charges, with up to four years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine for the first offense. School bus drivers and hazardous materials vehicle drivers would face higher felony charges, with up to a $10,000 fine and a maximum of seven years in prison. All drivers convicted of an aggravated DWI would face higher license revocation periods.

The Assembly’s plan also cracks down on DWI offenders by:
  • providing mandatory alcohol assessment and treatment for certain offenders;

  • increasing the penalty for vehicular manslaughter from up to 7 years in prison to a maximum of 15 years for defendants who killed two or more people or had previous DWI-related convictions;

  • doubling the loss of license period for those who refuse a chemical test from 6 months to a year on a first offense, and from 12 months to 18 months for a subsequent offense; and

  • revoking the licenses of serious repeat DWI offenders.

This new measure builds on my record of fighting drunk driving. In 2002, I helped pass a law that lowered the DWI BAC levels from .10 to .08 (Ch. 3 of 2002).

Working on important issues
Assembly acts to combat meth lab activity in New York

The Assembly and Senate passed legislation that when signed into law will help crack down on the manufacturing and use of methamphetamine in New York (A.9002/S.5920).

The illegal manufacturing and use of methamphetamine continues to plague communities across New York. The Legislature passed bipartisan legislation to address this growing problem. Methamphetamine, known as meth, is an addictive stimulant drug that is associated with serious health conditions, including aggression, violence, psychotic behavior, memory loss, and potential heart and neurological damage.

Current law creates too many difficulties for law enforcement agencies who investigate methamphetamine lab sites, because, in most cases, if no final drug product is recovered - but there is other evidence that a meth lab exists - police are unable to make a felony arrest. This joint effort will amend state law to permit law enforcement to make an arrest when they discover an illegal meth lab. The bill also makes illegal the possession of certain ingredients that are necessary for the manufacture of methamphetamine, when they are possessed with intent to manufacture the drug.

"Methamphetamine abuse has devastated far too many lives in communities across the state. This legislation will help immediately combat meth lab production and drug abuse."
photo Assemblyman Abbate joins with colleagues in Assembly chamber discussing important legislation.
Consumers protected from decreasing gift certificate and card values

As gift certificates and gift cards become increasingly more popular, many consumers have discovered the hard way that certain companies impose hidden fees or conditions that diminish the value of a certificate or card. In some cases, the entire value of a certificate or card could disappear.

But New York consumers now have protections. I supported legislation that protects consumers from hidden fees and undisclosed conditions that have become common with gift certificates and gift cards.

The law requires that vendors and retailers eliminate any retroactive fees and prohibit them from collecting monthly service fees until after the gift certificate or gift card goes unused for 13 months. Another measure requires vendors to disclose the terms and conditions of a gift certificate or gift card and more importantly, get what they pay for.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate
District Offices
8500 18th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11214 718-236-1764
6419 11th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11219 718-232-9565