LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

Biaggi seeks to expand abuse laws

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State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi are not letting up on the gas yet when it comes to holding perpetrators of child abuse accountable.

The two lawmakers have introduced three more bills they say will seek justice for child abuse victims.

In the first bill, S.7247, Biaggi and Hevesi — a Forest Hills Democrat — want prosecutors to be able to go after accused abusers, even if the alleged crime took place long before the victim steps forward. New York is one of just two states that bars “first outcry” testimony, if the disclosure of the crime was delayed, Biaggi said.

A second bill (S.7248) amends all major crimes of sexual conduct against a child to include all sexual conduct committed prior to the child’s 17th birthday. Under the current law, Biaggi said, prosecutors have to charge different offenses based on the victim’s age, many times with different evidence standards.

The final bill, S.7249, would create a Class E felony, establishing the crime of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree.

This bill, Biaggi said, would address “extraordinary forms of child abuse that often cannot be adequately charged under existing law.” This includes abuse that causes serious injury, or from repeat offenders.

“As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I have fought hard to empower survivors and create meaningful accountability for perpetrators,” Biaggi said, in a release. “These bills build on critical legislation passed last year in a continued effort to protect children from harm, ensure that our laws reflect the reality of trauma, and make it easier for victims of child abuse to seek justice in our court system.”

 

Engel cracks down on counterfeit devices

Health care is expensive enough, but U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel says there’s something else people need to be worried about: counterfeit medical devices.

The congressman has introduced a bill with Kentucky Republican Brett Guthrie that would empower the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to seize and destroy counterfeit medical devices and products such as vaccines and other combination devices.

“Counterfeit medical devices and vaccines pray on Americans in need of critical medical care at an affordable price,” Engel said, in a release. “The health risks here are obvious and severe. We need to do a better job of cracking down on these dangerous items, and I am pleased to join my colleague, Rep. Guthrie, in introducing this bipartisan bill to keep Americans safe.”

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