The New York State Senate passed legislation to reform the Rockefeller Drug Laws by calling for stronger penalties for violent offenders while also providing treatment programs and prison alternatives for nonviolent offenders.
"This reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws provides a more fair, equitable and effective response to drug offenses in New York State," Balboni said. "The legislation provides more sentencing options for nonviolent drug offenders, including treatment and reduced sentencing, while ensuring that the most dangerous and violent drug offenders receive appropriate prison terms."
Provisions of the legislation (S.7588) include:
* Alternatives to incarceration for certain drug offenders who would be more appropriately served by treatment programs;
* Procedures for conditional expunging of drug convictions for individuals who successfully complete treatment programs;
* Permitting incarcerated nonviolent offenders who have been sentenced for A1 felony convictions (minimum sentence of 15 years to life in prison under current law) to apply to the sentencing judge to be re-sentenced to as much as a 50 percent lower sentence;
* Adopting a structure of determinate sentences for felony drug offenders who are sentenced to prison;
* Creating new offenses or elevated punishment levels for those who conduct a controlled substance organization, sell drugs through computer services, with the aid of a minor or in public parks or possess or sell such substances while in possession of a machine gun, firearm, rifle or shotgun; and
* Expanding the categories of entities, which have standing to initiate judicial proceedings for the removal of persons using a premise for illegal activities.
The bill was sent to the Assembly.
The New York State Senate passed legislation (S. 7714) that would require more behind the wheel driving experience for all young, beginning drivers. The bill, which has been agreed on by the Senate, Assembly and the governor, will implement a more restrictive licensing system that will help reduce accidents and fatalities among teen drivers in New York State.
"Graduating driver licensing will save lives by requiring young drivers to gain more experience behind-the-wheel before becoming eligible for a driver's license," Balboni said. "With the enactment of a Graduated Driver Licensing law, we will have better drivers on the road and safer roadways."
The legislation requires drivers under the age of 18 who hold a learner's permit to hold the permit for a minimum of six months before they would be eligible to take a road test and obtain a junior license. A junior license allows drivers under 18 to drive without supervision between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. directly between home and work, school and medical appointments. Holders of junior licenses may drive to and from all other destinations only if accompanied by a licensed parent, guardian or driver education teacher.
Learner's permit holders will now be required to obtain 20 hours of supervised driving with an experienced driver or instructor before being eligible to get a junior license. Persons supervising permit holders' driving would have to be at least 21 years of age, and could be the only front seat passenger.
In addition, those with learner's permits or junior licenses will no longer be allowed to have more than two passengers younger than age 21 in their vehicle unless there is a passenger older than 21 in the car as well. And for any teen driver committing a 3-point violation such as speeding or running a red light, there will be an automatic 60-day suspension of their learner's permit or junior license.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15-20.
The bill was sent to the Assembly.