Improving our Justice System & Indigent Legal Services. Ensuring the fundamental principles of justice, equal treatment under the law is a core value of our society. Pat successfully passed the Justice Equality Act legislation in 2016 to reform and fully fund New York’s public defense system with solid bipartisan support. The bill was vetoed by the Governor on New Year’s Eve of 2016, but key principles of the bill were adopted later in the 2017 budget. The NYCLU called the bill “the most important criminal justice reform legislation in memory.” After a multi-year effort, the final law now reduces criminal caseloads for public defenders, requires the state provide funding to all 62 counties to meet the standards for public defense services required by the landmark Hurrell-Harring court ruling, and helps ensure that anyone accused of a crime in New York has access to quality legal representation.
Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Bill. LEAD programs, including a nationally recognized program in the City of Albany, seek to divert non-violent offenders into substance abuse, mental health, housing assistance or other programs rather than subject them to prosecution. These programs do not currently have a steady stream of funding, and rely on grant funding, which has seriously limited their growth. Legislation passed by Assemblymember Fahy enables the use of proceeds from civil asset forfeitures for LEAD programs and provides the Commissioner of the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) the authority to provide funding available to LEAD programs in the state to assist individuals with substance use disorders.
Making our Communities Safer and Banning the Bump Stock. In the wake of the horrific mass shooting in October 2017 in Las Vegas – the deadliest in American history – Pat introduced rare bipartisan legislation to close a legal loophole and ban bump stock devices designed to make assault weapons more deadly. Her legislation will criminalize possession of trigger cranks, bump fire devices, or any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle.
Protecting our Kids. Pat passed legislation in 2013 increasing penalties for those who engage in public lewdness. The law specifically targets repeat offenders and those who target or commit public lewdness in front of children. In 2016, in response to the tragic killing of 5 year-old Kenneth White, Pat successfully passed a law improving access to state child abuse registry for state and local law enforcement in missing child cases.
Strengthening Consumer Credit Protection. Recognizing the growing threat of cybercrime, Pat introduced legislation to better protect victims of identity theft after the massive 2017 Equifax data breach which exposed the private data of more than half of American adults. The current definition of private information in New York State is insufficient and leaves consumers at risk. Her bill expands the definition as to what constitutes private information and ensures that victims of data breaches in New York are informed that their data has been compromised.