The Women's Bill That Continues To Be Ignored

With the state budget now behind us, the Legislature must focus on a number of important issues before the end of session in June. For me, there is no higher personal or professional priority than passing Brittany’s Law.
 
By creating a registry of violent felony offenders, New York would provide a measure of protection for women, children, families and communities. The Assembly Majority is finally advancing separate pieces of the 10-point Women’s Equality Act – they should also bring Brittany’s Law to the floor and demonstrate that its members are serious about curbing incidences of violence against women.
 
AN ISSUE THAT NEEDS OUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION
 
Brittany’s Law began out of tragedy here at home. In 2009, 12-year-old Brittany Passalacqua was murdered along with her mother, Helen Buchel, in Geneva. The two were killed by John Edward Brown, who was on parole after serving time for violently assaulting his infant daughter in 2003. Ms. Buchel was unaware of Brown’s history of violence.
 
Had a registry of violent offenders been in place, this tragic crime could have been avoided. The senseless murder of two young women illustrates a horrific problem that needs to be addressed immediately. As elected representatives, we must use any means at our disposal – like Brittany’s Law – to ensure more tragedies never happen again. Consider these staggering statistics:
 
Between 2001 and 2012, America lost 6,488 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. During that same period, 11,766 American women were murdered by current or former male partners. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, three women are killed each day in a domestic violence incident. These figures make the Assembly Majority’s continued delay even more disturbing and inexplicable.
 
THE TIME TO ACT IS OVERDUE
 
Thanks to the efforts of Sen. Mike Nozzolio, Brittany’s Law has passed in the state Senate five times in landslide votes. In the five years this bill has reached the floor of the Senate, the closest margin was a 49-vote margin when it passed 54-5 in 2014.                      
                                                      
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther is the Majority sponsor of Brittany’s Law in the Assembly (A.1833), but despite bipartisan support since 2011, the Majority has yet to allow the legislation to come to the floor. It is my profound hope that their approach changes in 2015.
 
We have a duty to equip New Yorkers with the necessary tools and information that can help keep them safe. Brittany’s Law would do just that. The issue of protecting women and our communities has been talked about and identified as a priority. It’s time for the Majority to do more than talk: Enact Brittany’s Law and honor the legacy of two young lives taken too soon, give the women and families of New York a defense against violence, and put an end to a senseless waiting game that has gone on for too long.
                                                                                                        
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, e-mail me at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

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