Assemblyman Peter Abbate Assemblyman
Peter
Abbate

Reports to
the People

Summer 2007

Assemblyman Abbate Is Committed to Keeping Our Community Safe From Sexual Predators

Making a tough civil commitment law a reality

Recently, the Legislature and governor came together to create a civil commitment law in New York (Ch. 7 of 2007). This new law will help keep the most dangerous sexual predators off our streets even after they finish their prison terms, and establish new, tougher sentences for persons convicted of sex crimes. The highlights of the law include:

  • empowering the attorney general to seek civil commitment of sex offenders determined to suffer from a mental abnormality;

  • requiring treatment for all sex offenders to reduce instances of recidivism;

  • reviewing civil confinement status annually by the courts; and

  • intensive supervision for offenders not civilly confined.

Stronger sentences for convicted sex offenders

Toughens penalties for convicted sex offenders by:

  • eliminating the option of parole for felony sex offenses;

  • providing long-term, post-release supervision for those convicted of sex felonies;

  • moving five existing crimes into the “violent crime” category, including second-degree rape and fourth-degree aggravated sexual abuse; and

  • creating the crime of “Sexually Motivated Felony” in cases where certain other crimes, like burglary or robbery, are committed for the sexual gratification of the perpetrator.

Cracking down on dangerous sexual predators and criminals

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Last year, the Assembly enacted strong laws to fix inadequate penalties for heinous sex crimes that are now in effect. Among these are laws that:

  • create the crime of predatory sexual assault – which elevates the penalties for Class B felony sex crimes, such as rape, to a maximum of life in prison under certain conditions (Ch. 107 of 2006);

  • eliminate the criminal statute of limitations on Class B felony sex crimes – allowing criminal charges for these crimes to be brought years, or even decades later (Ch. 3 of 2006); and

  • expand the criminal DNA database to encompass all persons convicted of felonies and 18 key misdemeanors, including petit larceny and those that involve violence, threats of violence, menacing or stalking behavior (Ch. 2 of 2006) – helping police and prosecutors take criminals off our streets and better protect our communities.


Budget Makes New York’s Health Care System Strong, Affordable and Patient Focused

This year’s state budget makes clear our continued commitment to ensuring any restructuring of our health care system is carefully deliberated and carried out responsibly, so that no one is left out or shortchanged when it comes to the high-quality care for which New York is known by:

  • expanding the Child Health Plus insurance program so that 400,000 more children would have access to vital health-care services. The plan would increase the eligibility level from 250 percent to 400 percent of the federal poverty level;

  • including $163.5 million in funding for nursing homes to ensure that they are adequately reimbursed for services provided to the state’s most vulnerable population;

  • ensuring that nursing homes have sufficient resources to provide quality care to their residents by restoring $17.5 million for the nursing home quality improvement program;

  • creating a New York State False Claims Act to root out Medicaid fraud and to help restore the Medicaid program to the efficient safety net it was designed to be;

  • providing $209.1 million in restorations and increased critical funding for hospitals to strengthen their ability to deliver critical health care services; and

  • including $68.5 million to restore 75 percent of the proposed “trend factor” reduction and eliminating the burdensome 0.35 percent “sick tax” on hospitals gross receipts and restore $136.9 million in state funds.

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State Budget Benefits Children, the Elderly and Working Families

Significant Investments in Education

For years, we have fought for a meaningful statewide solution to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) school aid decision. This budget accomplishes that Assembly goal by:

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  • making significant investments in our education system by finally addressing the court ruling in the CFE case;

  • including in the budget a new foundation education formula for predictable, stable and transparent funding - something the Assembly has insisted on for years;

  • assuring that New York City receives 43 percent of the foundation aid and builds on last year’s Assembly victory on “EXCEL” financing for New York City by providing over $600 million more in operating aid;

  • funding universal pre-kindergarten for all 4 year olds in our state;

  • providing increased resources to reduce class size and foster a positive learning environment;

  • increasing operating aid for SUNY/CUNY and community colleges and not raising tuition at these institutions; and

  • continuing to fund the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and higher-education opportunity programs.

Real Tax Relief for New Yorkers

The Assembly has strongly supported real property tax relief for New York’s working families. This year’s budget gives much-needed property-tax relief for over-burdened working families and job creation for beleaguered sectors by:

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  • helping homeowners facing increasing property taxes by providing $1.3 billion in relief targeted to middle-class families as property tax rebates;

  • enhancing STAR personal income tax credit to give New York City taxpayers much needed relief;

  • increasing local aid by restoring funding in the state budget that allows New York City to be restored to the statewide revenue sharing program; and

  • delivering business tax relief through a reduction in the corporate tax rate and through targeted tax reductions for manufacturers to strengthen our state’s economic competitiveness.


Abbate Supports Bills to Combat Gun Violence

“The unbelievable devastation caused at Virginia Tech was yet another example of the need for continued vigilance when it comes to examining gun laws.”

During this year’s legislative session, the Assembly approved a nine-bill package aimed at reducing the number of illegal guns, protecting victims of domestic violence and safeguarding children from firearms by ensuring that weapons are stored safely.

Bills in the Assembly’s comprehensive package have passed overwhelmingly for as many as 14 years. This package includes measures that would ban “cop-killer” armor-piercing bullets and close a loophole in current law that allows convicted violent felons to possess firearms.

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New York’s law-enforcement community still faces a very real threat at the hands of violent criminals. How can we continue to send law-enforcement officers into the path of danger armed with bullet-proof vests, while also allowing deadly armor-piercing bullets on the streets? That’s why over 140 police and sheriff’s departments from across the state support this common-sense measure.

The Assembly Majority’s gun-safety package would enact strong laws to keep guns out of the hands of children and convicted felons, crack down on violent criminals who use firearms and enact common-sense measures to ensure that guns are possessed for lawful purposes, like self-defense and hunting.


New Law Protects Minors from Internet Predators

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Legislation to strengthen the prohibition against using the Internet to solicit minors for sexual activity was recently signed into law by Governor Spitzer.

We must be constantly vigilant against all manner of sexual solicitation and attack on our children. Predators attempting to lure children for the purpose of sexual abuse are a real danger and we must do our utmost to put sexual predators behind bars when they use the Internet to prey on minors.

Previously, the law only banned communications that depicted nudity used to solicit underage children, but now the law has been expanded and bans sexually graphic words transmitted over the Internet to minors, as well.

It’s no secret that predators will stop at nothing to lure children into sexually abhorrent acts. An offender soliciting sex can do as much damage to a child through sexually explicit words as with images. The offenders should be prosecuted severely in either case.

The bill, which builds on laws the Assembly helped enact last year to crack down on sexual predators, will make soliciting minors with sexually explicit text on the Internet a Class D felony, punishable by up to 7 years in prison.

As part of its Child Safety and Sexual Predator Punishment and Confinement Strategy, a new law drafted by the Assembly created the crime of predatory sexual assault – elevating penalties for former Class B violent felony sex crimes, like rape, to Class A crimes with a maximum of life in prison for certain heinous acts (Ch. 107 of 2006). The Assembly also helped eliminate the statute of limitations on Class B felony sex crimes, meaning criminal charges for these crimes can be brought years, even decades later (Ch. 3 of 2006).


Assemblyman
PETER ABBATE
District Offices

8500 18th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 236-1764
6419 11th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11219
(718) 232-9565
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