Calendar of Events
2012 Domestic Violence Legislative Update
August 22, 2012
Author: Amy Schwartz
Below is the new domestic violence-specific or related legislation which successfully navigated both houses of the Legislature and was signed into law thus far. Two bills have been sent to the Governor and are awaiting final action.
There are still a number of important bills that have passed both houses, but have not yet been sent to the Governor, including the Omnibus DV Program bill. These bills will be detailed in further updates as they continue to move.
REFEREES TO HEAR CERTAIN APPLICATIONS FOR FAMILY COURT ORDERS OF PROTECTION BEFORE AND AFTER 5pm [A.9400/S.6624]: This law extends Judiciary Law §212(2)(n) [passed L.2010, Ch.363] through September 1, 2014 which granted the Court’s Chief Administrator authority to allow referees to determine ex parte or default Family Court applications for an order of protection when the court is in session or after 5pm. The law became effective July 18, 2012. Signed by the Governor 7/18/12; L.2012, ch.137
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT FOR HIV POST-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS TREATMENT [A.669C/S.3200-b]: By amending both Executive Law §631 and Public Health Law §2805-I, this new law entitles sexual assault survivors who undergo a forensic rape exam to receive a 7-day starter pack of HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment, as well as medical or other consensual follow-up care related to the PEP treatment. Under this law, the Office of Victim Services is also directed to cover the cost of the services. The law will become effective November 27, 2012. Signed by the Governor 5/31/12; L.2012, ch.39
EXPANDED PROHIBITIONS ON DISCLOSURE OF SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR [A.8992-A/S.6608-A]: In order to increase consumer privacy and help prevent identity theft, this new section of General Business Law §399-ddd prohibits any person or business entity from requiring an individual to disclose his or her Social Security number. It also prohibits refusal of any service, privilege or right based on that individual's unwillingness to disclose such number. The law does not apply in instances where disclosure of such number is statutorily required or under any of the enumerated exemptions provided for legitimate uses, including collection of child or spousal support, opening a deposit account, interacting with a law enforcement agency, credit transaction initiated by the consumer, and tax compliance. The law also grants the Attorney General's Office the authority to enforce these provisions and provides for a civil penalty of up to $500 per violation. While this law is not specifically intended to provide protection to victims of domestic violence, it will undoubtedly assist those victim consumers who need to limit disclosure of such personally identifying information for privacy and safety reasons. The law will become effective December 12, 2012. Signed by the Governor 8/14/12; L.2012, ch.372
PROHIBITIONS AGAINST BULLYING AND CYBER-BULLING IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS [A.10712/S.7440]: Through numerous amendments to the Education Law (§§11-16, 801-a), this legislation will help to protect students from cyber-bullying, as well as harassment, bullying and discrimination by requiring school districts to: (1) establish policies and procedures to respond to cyber-bullying, harassment, bullying and discrimination offenses, including designating a school official to receive and investigate reports, prompt reporting and investigation; (2) take actions to prevent recurrent incidents; (3) notify and coordinate with law enforcement, as appropriate; (4) develop a bullying prevention strategy; and (5) provide notice to all school community members of the school's policies. The law also creates training requirements for current and new school employees, as well as the development of state-created guidelines and best practices. While the law is intended to target student bullying generally, it will also provide support and protection for youth victims of dating violence where the bullying perpetrator(s) is the victim’s current or former boyfriend/girlfriend or others. The law will become effective July 1, 2013. Signed by the Governor 7/9/12; L.2012, ch.102
DNA TESTING OF CERTAIN OFFENDERS CONVICTED OF A CRIME [A.9555/S.6733]: The law amends both the Criminal Procedure Law (§§440.30, 240.40 & 440.10) and the Executive Law (§§995, 995-c) to radically expand collection of DNA samples from defendants convicted of crimes in New York State. By law, DNA will be taken from persons convicted of all felonies and all penal law misdemeanors, with limited exception. To help afford protection to defendants who wish to demonstrate their actual innocence through the use of DNA forensic evidence, the law provides access to DNA testing in certain post-plea contexts. Additionally, for defendants convicted after a trial who have obtained a hearing on a post-conviction motion seeking to demonstrate their actual innocence, the law provides mechanisms for certain discovery from the People in order to facilitate such hearing. The law will become effective October 1, 2012. Signed by the Governor 3/19/12; L.2012, ch.19
EXPANDED ELECTRONIC FILING PILOT PROGRAMS FOR CERTAIN CRIMINAL AND FAMILY COURT PROCEEDINGS [A.10706/S.7592-A]: Amending L.1999, Ch. 367 and L.2009, Ch. 416, the Chief Administrative Judge is authorized to implement mandatory e-filing in criminal cases in up to six counties with the approval of the local district attorney, county clerk and criminal defense bar. There is also authority to implement mandatory e-filing in Family Court juvenile delinquency and child welfare cases in up to six counties with the approval of the presentment agency, the local child protective agency and the local family court bar. Additionally, Suffolk and Erie counties may join the eight enumerated jurisdictions outside of NYC now requiring e-filing in Supreme Court civil cases. The law also addresses confidentiality measures, opt-out procedures and other exclusions. In order to evaluate the progress of these pilots, a report to the Legislature is due on January 1, 2015. Unless renewed or made permanent, the legislation is scheduled to sunset on September 1, 2015 by operation of law. The law became effective July 18, 2012. Signed by the Governor 7/18/12; L.2012, ch.184
EXTENDS ELIGIBILITY FOR CRIME VICTIM AWARDS TO ADDITIONAL MEMBERS OF A HOMICIDE VICTIM’S FAMILY [A.9898/S.6848]: By amending Executive Law §624, the new law expands the list of enumerated family members who may be eligible for Crime Victim awards funds where that person’s family member’s death was a direct result of the crime. Per this new law, the enumerated list now includes the deceased’s “guardian, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister”. The law became effective July 18, 2012. Signed by the Governor 7/18/12; L.2012, ch.233
CANCELLATION OF MEMBERSHIP CAMPING CONTRACTS [A.8965/S.2554]: By amending General Business Law §653 and adding a new §654-a, this bill provides purchasers of membership camping contracts the ability to cancel such contracts under certain conditions, including domestic violence victimization. Where a victim of domestic violence is a joint purchaser of a membership contract with their abuser and the victim no longer wishes to be jointly bound by the contract, the bill provides a mechanism for contract bifurcation and cancellation. In order to access this relief, victims must provide the campground operator with documentation of the abuse including a Domestic Incident Report, a police report, an order of protection, or a signed affidavit from a list of enumerated service providers. Such documentation will be considered presumptive evidence of a substantial risk of physical or emotional harm to the victim or the victim’s children. Victims must make their requests for relief in good faith and within 6 months of issuance of the documentation. While the bill allows the victim to terminate his or her own liability under the contract, campground operators will also have the ability to terminate the contract in its entirety if, after investigation, the operator determines that allowing the alleged abuser/joint purchaser continued access to and enjoyment of the facilities will endanger the safety of campground employees and users. If signed by the Governor, the bill will become effective 180 days later. Sent to the Governor’s Office on 8/6/12.
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