Governor David A. Paterson has signed five bills into law including a bill to protect women’s access to reproductive health care facilities and a bill to ensure voters’ access to their correct polling places. Additionally, the Governor vetoed two bills that would have cost taxpayers $18.6 million over the next two years.
The signed bills include A.8924/S.6112, which provides enhanced penalties if a person causes physical injury to someone seeking to provide, obtain or assist in reproductive health care services. The bill was written shortly after the murder of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas, a tragedy that many health workers believe has emboldened those who engage threatening behavior and violent rhetoric at reproductive health care clinics.
"Given the history of violence committed against patients and employees of women’s health clinics across the United States and in New York State, establishment of these new offenses is appropriate," Governor Paterson said. "I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to quality, affordable health care in a safe environment."
Governor Paterson also signed a bill, A.1002C / S.2443B, to ensure that workers at polling sites provide the information necessary to inform individuals of their correct polling sites should they show up at the wrong one on Election Day, including countywide maps that delineate voting districts.
"It is fairly common for voters to end up at the wrong polling place. Now, election workers will have the proper tools to assist these individuals and ensure their votes are counted," Governor Paterson said. "I am proud to be working with the legislature on passing laws that increase access and ease for New Yorkers to vote; just last month, I signed a bill requiring New York City to translate all voting materials into Russian."
Additionally, Governor Paterson signed a law, A.2733A / S.4982, which establishes the Volunteer Firefighter and Volunteer Emergency Services Recruitment and Retention Fund and allows individual and corporate taxpayers to check off a box on their tax returns in order to contribute.
"Volunteer firefighters and emergency services personnel fulfill a vital role in New York State, and we in government should do what we can to bolster their size and capabilities. I am confident this bill will result in New Yorkers stepping up to volunteer to assist their fellow citizens," Governor Paterson said.
The complete list of bills signed by Governor Paterson:
•A.1002C / S.2443B: Provides that a voter claiming to live within an election district in which the voter seeks to vote be advised of the proper polling place and election district.
•A.2733A / S.4982: Establishes the Volunteer Firefighting and Volunteer Emergency Services Recruitment and Retention Fund and authorizes gifts to such fund through a State income tax write-off.
•A.5643 / S.2190: Raises minimum salary of each of the county clerks of the counties comprising the city of New York to that of State Supreme Court justices instead of civil court judges.
•A.7779 / S.5224: Authorizes the Municipal Police Training Council to develop of policies and procedures regarding the investigation, enforcement and prevention of any act of cruelty to animals.
•A.8924 / S.6112: Establishes the crime of aggravated interference with health care services in the first and second degrees.
The complete list of bills vetoed by Governor Paterson:
•A.4809A / S.5993: Would require that rehabilitation programs for female inmates in state correctional facilities be equivalent to those provided to male inmates elsewhere in the State.
•A.7229 / S.5419: Would enact the academic research information access act.