As I reported in my previous newsletter, the longstanding Assembly Majority and the newly formed Majority in the Senate have been working together to pass legislation to improve the lives of New Yorkers.
In the first five weeks of this legislative session, both houses passed an identical package of bills designed to: (1) reform New Yorks electoral process to enhance voting rights; (2) better protect New Yorkers with common sense measures to reduce gun violence; (3) protect and strengthen womens reproductive rights; (4) prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in employment, education, credit and housing; (5) lengthen the time period during which criminal charges and civil lawsuits may be brought as a result of sexual abuse of child victims; (6) expand access to higher education for New Yorks undocumented students; (7) ease the impact of the federal shutdown on furloughed New Yorkers; and (8) remove the mandate linking state standardized tests to teacher evaluations
PREVENTING GUN VIOLENCE
Just before the one year anniversary of the mass shooting in a school in Parkland, Florida, I joined my colleagues in both houses of our Legislature to vote for a package of bills to prevent gun violence in New York. All of the bills are awaiting the Governors consideration.
Extreme Risk Protection
Many individuals who carry out gun violence exhibit red flag behaviors. The Assembly and Senate passed legislation (A2689) to help keep guns out of the hands of individuals who show signs they would harm others. The bill allows the courts to issue an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) to prohibit persons who are deemed a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm for one year.
Gun Limits at Schools
To ensure that all students are safe in school, the Assembly and Senate passed a bill (A1715-A) to ban school administrators from arming teachers or other school employees in K-12 schools in New York.
A bump stock is a firearm attachment or modification which accelerates the firing rate of a semi-automatic weapon, mimicking the effects of an automatic weapon or machine gun. The shooter in the 2017 Las Vegas massacre used several rifles with bump stock devices to kill 59 people and injure over 520. He fired hundreds of rounds per minute, replicating the effects of an automatic weapon. The Assembly and Senate passed legislation (A2684) to prohibit the sale or possession of a bump stock in New York.
The Assembly and Senate passed legislation (A2690) to allow up to thirty days for the return on a background check before a gun can be sold to an individual. Currently, a gun sale cannot be delayed more than three days for the completion of a background check.
Mental Health Records
The Assembly and Senate passed legislation (A1213) to require out-of-state citizens to waive the confidentiality of their home state mental health records in order to apply for a New York State gun license.
Gun Buyback Program
Lastly, the Assembly and Senate voted to create a Municipal Gun Buyback Program, (A2685) administered by the State police, to allow individuals to turn in firearms in exchange for a monetary reward and immunity from certain criminal possession charges.