2005 New York State Domestic Violence and Related Laws
Mandatory Arrest Extension (A-6840 / S.3666)
Extends the mandatory arrest provision for family offenses for two more years, until September 1, 2007.
Signed: Chapter 56
Effective: April 1, 2005
Health Insurance Confidentiality (A.1377-C Stringer / S.936-B Balboni)
Requires insurance companies to withhold from the policyholder the address and phone number of a domestic violence victim covered by an individual policy or health maintenance organization contract*, if a valid order of protection is forwarded to the company. Health care services are also to be held confidential. If a child is the subject of the O/P, identifying information about the child and victim parent must be protected.
*The Governor's approval message notes that this law does not include group policies and recommends adding such policies by amending the law during the next legislative session.
Signed: Chapter 246
Effective: November 16, 2005
Crime Victim Compensation/Relocation Expenses (A.8526 Weinstein / S5196 Nozzolio)
Defines relocation expenses awarded by the NYS Office of Victim Services (OVS) to mean the reasonable cost of moving and transportation, when relocation is necessary for the health or safety of a victim. An award for relocation expenses cannot exceed twenty-five hundred dollars.
Signed: Chapter 377
Effective: August 2, 2005
Incarceration Status (A.714-B Pheffer / S.5092 Meir)
Expands victim access to information about the incarceration status of offenders. Requires the Crime Victim's Board to include in the crime victims’ brochure information about the VINE program (NYS Division of Parole's toll-free access to information about a defendant's incarceration status). Requires a District Attorney to consult with the victim of a violent felony offense on the disposition of a case and to notify the victim of the final disposition. Also requires the Department of Corrections to notify District Attorneys when inmates are released from state custody.
Signed: Chapter 186
Effective: September 1, 2005
Judicial Hearing Officer Extension (A.8651 Weinstein / S.4135 Defrancisco)
Extends for another three years the use of judicial hearing officers (JHO) to issue orders of protection in New York City Family Courts. Requires domestic violence training for anyone who serves as a JHO.
Signed: Chapter 563
Effective: August 23, 2005
Judicial Hearing Officer Pilot Program (A.1438-A John / S.1076-A Nozzolio)
Extends for three more years the use of judicial referees to issue orders of protection in the Family Courts of the seventh and eighth judicial districts. These districts include the counties of western New York. Currently, Monroe and Erie counties are utilizing this option.
Signed: Chapter 247
Effective: July 19, 2005
Mandated Reporter Records (A.7225-A Scarborough / S.5805 Meir)
Enacts substantial change to permanency and adoption provisions in several areas of law. Includes a provision that requires mandated reporters whose reports initiate an investigation of child abuse or maltreatment to comply with all CPS requests for records relating to the report.*
*The Office of Children and Family Services has clarified that this refers only to information that directly pertains to the report itself and that the mandated reporter to whom the request is directed makes the determination of what information is essential. If the report is based on information disclosed by a parent not alleged to be the subject and the mandated reporter (i.e., mental health therapist or domestic violence service provider) only has additional information concerning the non-offending parent, the provision would not apply. If CPS believes that the mandated reporter has additional essential information pertaining to the report, CPS must ask the mandated reporter for the additional records and attempt to come to agreement regarding any additional records. If CPS and the mandated reporter cannot come to agreement over the relevance of the report, CPS may seek a court order.
Signed: Chapter 3
Effective: Mandated reporter provision - November 21, 2005
Most permanency/adoption provisions - December 21, 2005
Crime Victim Compensation/Financial Hardship Cap (A.4466 DiNapoli / S.4811 Skelos) Increases the amount of rent or property value that can be exempted when calculating assets in determining financial hardship for crime victim compensation. Raises the cap from $100,000 to $500,000 for valuing a home and increases the cap for rent from five to ten years.
Signed: Chapter 322
Effective: July 26, 2005
Missing Child Responses (A.8312 Magnarelli / S.5470 Skelos)
Requires the Division of Criminal Justice Services to offer assistance to local governments and law enforcement agencies that are not currently participating in a missing child prompt response and notification plan (i.e., "Amber Alert") to ensure that every jurisdiction in New York State is implementing and operating such a plan.
Signed: Chapter 348
Effective: July 26, 2005
Crime Victim Compensation/Pre-existing Condition (A.6717 Paulin / S.3660 Spano) Defines out-of-pocket losses to include expenses incurred as a result of the exacerbation of a pre-existing disability or condition. Specifically includes public/private educational expenses or tutoring for a child victim.
Signed: Chapter 408
Effective: August 2, 2005
The Following Bills Have Been Vetoed:
Dual Track Response Demonstration Project - A.3131-A Paulin / S.1574-A Rath
Would create seven demonstration projects to test a two-track response to CPS cases; one track for traditional investigation and a new track to include safety assessment and a focus on supportive, family-centered preventive services. Cases could be transferred between tracks when necessary and appropriate.
Veto message cites several objections, including, technical and procedural concerns raised by New York City and the Governor's belief that creative case management is already being instituted by OCFS in various counties.
Workplace Violence Programs - A.8940 John / S.5773 Spano
Requires public employers (including state and local governments) to evaluate the workplace to determine potential risk of occupational assaults or homicides. Such employers are required to develop and implement programs to prevent and minimize workplace violence. The Department of Labor is responsible for inspecting a workplace and investigating any report of imminent danger or violation of a workplace violence prevention program that has not been resolved by the employer.
Veto message cites several technical concerns, including the Governor's belief that the bill would require increased staffing and safety provisions on the part of employers, without clearly defining their obligations. An inadequate implementation period to develop rules and regulations is also cited. The Office of Mental Health reported that the bill could jeopardize federal reimbursement by taking the agency out of compliance with federally-established workplace safety standards. The Governor's Office of Employee Relations was concerned that some of the measures required by this bill were subject to collective bargaining negotiations.