Joe Robach Joins His Senate Colleagues in Support of Homeland Security Legislation

This week, Rochester Senator Joe Robach and his Senate colleagues responded to the renewed calls for vigilance and increased public safety following the tragic bombings in Boston and the foiling of a terrorist plot to attack a train traveling across the state between New York and Toronto, by passing a package of anti-crime legislation including a bill that would require convicted terrorists to serve their full prison sentence.

The Senate passed legislation (S4342) that would require convicted terrorists to serve their full prison sentences by making them ineligible for early release programs. In addition, the bill would also apply to individuals convicted of all homicide crimes, hate crimes, and major drug trafficking crimes.

The Senate passed legislation (S1018), sponsored by Senator Joe Robach , that would increase penalties for criminals who attempt robberies with devices appearing to be bombs or explosives. The bill would elevate the criminal charge from third degree to first or second degree robbery.

“If someone robs a bank by putting their hand in a pocket and pretending to have a gun, or by using a toy gun, that person is guilty of either a first or second degree robbery,” Senator Robach said. “But if that same person robs a bank and threatens to blow up the bank by displaying a device that appears to be a bomb, the person is only guilty of third degree robbery. That’s illogical because the threat of a bomb is every bit as serious, and arguably more serious, than the threat of a gun. This bill would correct this inequity in the law.”

The Senate approved the “Protect Our Children Act” (S1721A), sponsored by Senator Mark Grisanti which would create the new crime of aggravated murder of a child with a sentence of life in prison without parole. The bill is being passed during National Child Abuse Prevention Month, would expand an existing law of aggravated abuse of a child which makes it a crime when someone recklessly causes physical injury to a child under the age of 14.

The Senate approved legislation (S1456), sponsored by Senator John Flanagan, that changes the maximum age of a victim of Aggravated Assault of a Child from less than 11, to less than 14. Under existing law, a person is guilty of Aggravated Assault of a Child when the perpetrator is at least 18 years old and assaults someone less than 11 years old and has been previously convicted of the same crime within the preceding three years. In addition to increasing the age from 11 to 14, this bill would allow for any prior assault to serve as the predicate for this crime and expands the predicate time period from three to 10 years.

The Senate passed a bill (S4445A), sponsored by Senator Martin Golden, that would increase the penalty for aggravated assault against a police or a peace officer to life without parole when the person convicted has two prior serious violent felonies. Under current law, a persistent violent felony offender convicted of aggravated assault of a police officer (a class B felony) must only be sentenced to a minimum prison term between 20 and 25 years. This bill provides increased penalties for certain violent felony crimes committed against a police officer. It also states that a persistent violent felony offender convicted of aggravated assault on a police officer, would be sentenced to life without parole.

The Senate passed a bill (S3639), sponsored by Senator Thomas O’Mara, that would toughen criminal penalties for the manufacturing of methamphetamines and for the possession of materials used to make methamphetamines. The bill elevates penalties for every level of felony crime related to methamphetamine production, up to and including an A1 felony, punishable by between 15 to 25 years in prison. According to the United States Department of Justice, methamphetamine is one of the nation’s greatest drug threats. A recent department report noted that the drug is at its highest levels of availability and purity — and lowest cost — since 2005. That’s attributed to rising Mexican imports, but also because of increased small-scale domestic production.

The Senate passed a bill (S2458), sponsored by Senator Andrew Lanza making it a felony to recruit street gang members on school grounds. This legislation seeks to provide a safe haven for juveniles by making it more difficult for gang leaders to actively recruit and solicit children in and around schools.