Assemblyman Lavine Helps Pass Legislation that Supports Victims of Human Trafficking
Glen Cove, NY – Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) joined colleagues in the Assembly to pass a series of bills that would help prevent human trafficking, strengthen protections for victims and increase penalties on traffickers.
“The exploitation of innocent victims, especially women and helpless children, is a despicable crime that violates every decent human instinct,” said Assemblyman Lavine. “The Assembly legislation would provide better support to victims on the path to recovery and help end the cycle of heartbreaking victimization by strengthening penalties.”
A key bill included in the anti-human trafficking legislative package would require the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to make safe, accessible housing available to victims (A.2953); one of the first steps in combating human trafficking.
Part of the effort in uncovering trafficking locations and targeting trafficking networks, includes establishing and maintaining a 24-hour, toll-free hotline (A.2636) by the state Attorney General. Information obtained through the hotline would be referred to the appropriate district attorney for investigation and potential prosecution.
In addition, the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (A.506) would strengthen New York’s existing human trafficking laws by:
Increasing penalties for sex and labor human trafficking;
Escalating penalties for promoting prostitution and patronizing minors;
Requiring anti-human trafficking training for law enforcement;
Creating a civil right of action to enable victims to sue their perpetrators for damages;
Establishing an affirmative defense in prostitution prosecutions if the defendant was a sex-trafficking victim.
The Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking, which is responsible for collecting and analyzing data on human trafficking, identifying social-service programs for victims, developing recommendations for prevention, protecting and assisting victims, establishing protocols for law enforcement and increasing public awareness, would be strengthened and extended until 2019 (A.551).
There will also be training for employees of casinos to recognize signs of human trafficking (A.3419); and waiving the DNA databank fee for persons convicted of an offense and found to be a victim of human trafficking (A.2469). This package builds on a 2007 landmark law that created and increased penalties for labor and sex trafficking.
Assemblyman Lavine said that human trafficking continues to be a serious problem in New York State where victims are often runaway and homeless youth – who may be in the juvenile justice system and have histories of being abused – refugees and immigrants.
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services reports that 80 percent of identified victims are female and more than 50 percent are children.
Assemblyman Lavine’s Bill Would Provide Individual Tax Credit for Pet Adoption
Glen Cove, NY – Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) has proposed a bill that would establish a tax credit for individual tax payers who adopt a household pet from an animal shelter.
The bill, which would amend the tax law, would grant an individual taxpayer a credit for fees incurred through the adoption of a pet from a pound or shelter, incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, humane society, and dog, cat or other animal protective or rescue association.
“According to the Humane Society, animal shelters care for six to eight million dogs and cats every year in this country of which three to four million are euthanized,” said Assemblyman Lavine. “Encouraging prospective pet owners to adopt an animal from a shelter or other rescue association serves a humane purpose. In addition, the care, housing and euthanizing of these animals come at a significant cost to the public. Therefore, animal adoption is beneficial to taxpayers as well.”
ASPCA estimates 50 percent of dogs in shelters and 70 percent of cats in shelters are euthanized because they are not adopted.
Assemblyman Lavine said that animals in shelters average a seven day stay during which time the public pays for around the clock care, food, medicine, cleaning and often euthanizing. Money that is credited to the taxpayers for adoption is likely to be reinvested into the $40 billion per year pet industry.
Taxpayers adopting a pet would be granted a tax credit for the taxable year beginning on or after January 1, 2016, for a maximum of three household pets. The amount of the credit would be for the actual cost of the adoption but would not exceed the maximum credit of $100 for each household pet up to three pets per taxable year.
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