Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. announced recently that the Senate passed legislation he sponsored to create distinctive "Keep Kids Drug Free" license plates. The license plates would be available for a one-time fee of $25; funds from the purchase of the plates would go to New York State's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) to help continue youth drug abuse treatment and prevention programs.
"Drugs have a huge price tag both to children and society at large," Fuschillo said. "The issuance of Keep Kids Drug Free license plates will serve as a preventive resource necessary to facilitate a journey from addiction to good health, as well as productivity among our youth."
Substance abuse and addiction treatment is estimated to add at least $41 billion to the cost of elementary and secondary education. A report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse concluded that the use of alcohol and drugs in early and mid-adolescence interferes with physical, emotional, and intellectual development, and increases the chances of accidents, illness, death, or future serious drug addiction.
The need for drug abuse prevention at the elementary and middle school level is increasingly apparent. The age at which children are beginning to smoke cigarettes daily, drink alcohol, and use marijuana or even harder illegal drugs such as cocaine or LSD, is the youngest ever. By the time students graduate from high school, 70 percent will have smoked cigarettes, 81 percent will have drunk alcohol, nearly 50 percent will have used marijuana, and 24 percent will have used other illicit drugs.
The Keep Kids Drug Free license program would assist OASAS by providing revenue for the implementation of programs for alcoholism, substance abuse, and prevention and treatment services adapted to the needs and interests of young people.
Senator Fuschillo announced recently that legislation he co-sponsored that would prohibit more than the last five digits of a credit or debit card from being printed on a receipt, passed in both the New York State Senate and Assembly and is awaiting the governor's signature.
According to Fuschillo, all credit or debit machines placed into service after Jan. 1, 2003, must conform to this measure when it is enacted. All machines currently in place have until Jan. 1, 2007 to conform. If uncorrected by this date, the violator may by forced to pay a $500 civil penalty. If the violation persists, a fine of $1,000 per week will be implemented.
"Each year an estimated 2 billion dollars nationwide is lost due to credit card and debit card fraud. As credit and debit card sales volume increases, so does the likelihood for fraud," said Fuschillo. "By only printing the last five numbers on a consumer's receipt, it will offer consumers further protection from fraud."
Nassau County's Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, Roger Bogsted, stated, "The legislation is a positive step toward curbing America's fastest growing crime, identity theft."
Senator Fuschillo announced that both the Senate and Assembly have passed legislation he sponsored that would allow New York State to merge its highly-successful "Do Not Call" Telemarketing Registry with the new National "Do Not Call" Registry. Governor Pataki has voiced support for this legislation and is expected to sign it.
"This legislation will allow New Yorkers who are already registered with the State program to enjoy the benefits of the new National Registry without having to re-register," Fuschillo said. "By merging New York's registration system with the federal registry, we will save the state money while also helping to ensure the vigorous enforcement of our own 'Do Not Call' law."
Starting this month the U.S. Federal Trade Commission will provide consumers that have Internet access and a valid e-mail address the option to sign up directly on the Federal Registry via a special registration website. Later in July, the FTC will announce a special toll-free registration number that will enable New Yorkers to register directly from the phone number they wish to be on the Registry. If a New York State resident is already registered on the New York State "Do Not Call" Telemarketing Registry, they will be automatically enrolled on the new National Registry.
To continue its enforcement of the state "Do Not Call" law, the New York State Consumer Protection Board will use the Registry maintained by the FTC. In October, New Yorkers who believe they have received an illegal telemarketing call will file their complaint directly with the FTC.
"With the passage of this legislation, New York State will continue to enforce its highly-successful 'Do Not Call' telemarketing law, while the FTC will enforce federal regulations against unwanted sales calls. The strong combination of State and Federal governments working in unison will provide New Yorkers with even more protection against unwanted telemarketing calls," Fuschillo said.
New York has the largest state-run Registry in the country. Since the "Do Not Call" law originally authored by Senator Fuschillo took effect on April 1, 2001, the New York State Consumer Protection Board, which administers the law, estimates that at least a half billion sales calls have been prevented from coming into New York households.