This bill has been amended

Bill S4931A-2011

Provides for searches of conviction records of volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians

Prohibits people registered under the sex offender registration act from being a volunteer firefighter; provides that a conviction that requires registration under the sex offender registration act shall result in an immediate disqualification as a member.

Details

Actions

  • May 8, 2012: REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE
  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO CODES
  • Jun 7, 2011: PRINT NUMBER 4931A
  • Jun 7, 2011: AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO CODES
  • May 26, 2011: COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO CODES
  • May 2, 2011: REFERRED TO FINANCE

Meetings

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Codes - May 8, 2012
Ayes (13): Saland, DeFrancisco, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Golden, Lanza, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Gianaris, Huntley, Squadron, Espaillat
Ayes W/R (1): Perkins
Nays (1): Duane
Absent (1): Parker

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4931A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, the town law, the village law, the not-for-profit corporation law and the general municipal law, in relation to criminal background checks for firefighters and emergency medical services personnel

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To provide volunteer fire companies, not-for-profit fire corporations, volunteer ambulance companies or emergency medical service organizations with greater access to background checks for applicants and to provide greater protections for the general public by providing for additional convictions which would disqualify an individual from being a member of a volunteer fire company, fire corporation, volunteer ambulance company or emergency medical service organization.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1: Amends the section heading and subdivision 1 of section 837-0 of the executive law to require that anyone seeking membership in a fire company or who seeks to transfer as a member to another fire company to authorize the Division of Criminal Justice Services to search its files for records indicating whether or not the person stands convicted of a criminal offense (current law limits search to conviction for arson).

Section 2: Amends subdivision 3 or section 837-0 of the executive law to provide that all searches concerning the application for membership in a fire company pertain solely to ascertaining whether the applicant stands convicted of a criminal offense (current law limits search to conviction for arson). It also creates a new paragraph (c) which provides that the chief of the fire company shall review the records from the Division of Criminal Justice Services and make a determination as to whether or not the applicant is eligible to be elected or appointed as a volunteer member of a fire company. A conviction of arson in any degree, a felony sex offense or the misdemeanors of sexual misconduct, forcible touching or sexual abuse in the second degree as well as any offense that is related to his or her fitness to serve as a volunteer member with consideration of the factors set forth under section seven hundred fifty-three of the correction law shall result in an immediate disqualification as a member (current law limits the immediate disqualification to conviction for arson).

Section 3: Amends subdivision 16 of section 176-b of the town law to provide that a person who has been convicted of arson in any degree, a felony sex offense or the misdemeanors of sexual misconduct, forcible touching or sexual abuse in the second degree shall not be eligible to be elected or appointed as a volunteer member of a fire company (current law limits disqualification to conviction for arson in any degree). It also provides that the membership of any volunteer member of a fire company shall immediately terminate if he or she is convicted of arson in any degree, a felony sex offense or the misdemeanors of sexual misconduct, forcible touching or sexual abuse

in the second degree as well as any offense that is related to his or her fitness to serve as a volunteer member with consideration of the factors set forth under section seven hundred fifty-three of the correction law (current law limits disqualification to conviction for arson in any degree).

Section 4: Amends subdivision 17 of section 176-b of the town law to provide that upon application by any person for membership in a fire company operating pursuant to this section, the fire chief shall cause the applicants background to be checked pursuant to section eight hundred thirty-seven-o of the executive law for a criminal history involving a conviction for a criminal offense (current law limits search to conviction for arson).

Section 5: Amends subdivision 18 of section 10-1006 of the village law to provide that a person who has been convicted of arson in any degree, a felony sex offense or the misdemeanors of sexual misconduct, forcible touching or sexual abuse in the second degree shall not be eligible to be elected or appointed as a volunteer member of a fire company (current law limits disqualification to conviction for arson in any degree). It also provides that the membership of any volunteer member of a fire company shall immediately terminate if he or she is convicted of arson in any degree, a felony sex offense or the misdemeanors of sexual misconduct, forcible touching or sexual abuse in the second degree as well as any offense that is related to his or her fitness to serve as a volunteer member with consideration of the factors set forth under section seven hundred fifty-three of the correction law (current law limits disqualification to conviction for arson in any degree).

Section 6: Amends subdivision 19 of section 10-1006 of the village law to provide that upon application by any person for membership in a fire company operating pursuant to this section, the fire chief shall cause the applicants background to be checked pursuant to section eight hundred thirty-seven-o of the executive law for a criminal history involving a conviction for a criminal offense (current law limits search to conviction for arson).

Section 7: Amends subparagraph 4 of paragraph (c) of section 1402 of the not-for-profit corporation law to provide that a person who has been convicted of arson in any degree, a felony sex offense or the misdemeanors of sexual misconduct, forcible touching or sexual abuse in the second degree shall not be eligible to be named in the certificate of incorporation of a fire corporation, or to be elected or appointed as a volunteer member of a fire corporation (current law limits disqualification to conviction for arson in any degree). It also provides that the membership of any volunteer member of a fire corporation shall immediately terminate if he or she is convicted of arson in any degree, a felony sex offense or the misdemeanors of sexual misconduct, forcible touching or sexual abuse in the second degree as well as any offense that is related to his or her fitness to serve as a volunteer member with consideration of the factors set forth under section seven hundred fifty-three of the correction law (current law limits disqualification to conviction for arson in any degree).

Section 8: Amends subparagraph .5 of paragraph (c) of section 1402 of the not-for-profit corporation law to provide that upon application by any person for membership in a fire company operating pursuant to this section, the fire chief shall cause the applicants background to be checked pursuant to section eight hundred thirty-seven-o of the executive law for a criminal history involving a conviction for a criminal offense (current law limits search to conviction for arson).

Section 9: Amends section 122-b of the general municipal law by adding a new subdivision 6 which provides that any member of a volunteer ambulance company or emergency medical service organization shall be subject to a criminal background check pursuant to section eight hundred thirty-seven-o of the executive law. It also provides that a person who has been convicted of any offense that is related to his or her fitness to serve as a volunteer member of an ambulance company or emergency medical services organization may be found ineligible to be elected or appointed as a volunteer member.

Section 10: Effective Date

JUSTIFICATION: Volunteer fire departments and volunteer EMS departments should have the ability to keep convicted sex offenders from becoming volunteers. Because of the nature of the job of volunteer firefighters and volunteer EMS, personnel are often in situations where children and families are present and most vulnerable due to a fire or medical emergency. Volunteer fire fighters and EMS personnel frequently participate in community and school activities in which children are present that would give sex offenders unique access to children. In addition, municipalities with volunteer fire departments and volunteer EMS departments should not be exposed to potential lawsuits that could come about because of an incident involving a volunteer with a past sexual offender conviction. Finally, this bill would allow departments to screen current volunteers for sexual offense convictions and authorizes the termination of any current volunteer with a conviction for sexual offenses.

This legislation has been introduced at the request of, and is supported by, the Fireman's Association of New York, Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York and the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A.1277 of 2009-2010 A.5721 of 2008

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None, the background checks already occur for arson convictions, this bill expands the checks to include convictions for other offenses.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4931--A 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 2, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sens. BONACIC, LIBOUS, MARTINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance -- committee discharged and said bill committed to the Committee on Codes -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the executive law, the town law, the village law, the not-for-profit corporation law and the general municipal law, in relation to criminal background checks for firefighters and emergency medical services personnel THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The section heading and subdivision 1 of section 837-o of the executive law, as added by chapter 423 of the laws of 1999, are amended to read as follows: Search for [arson] conviction records of volunteer firefighter appli- cants. 1. Any person who applies for membership in a fire company, as such term is defined in section three of the volunteer firefighters' benefit law, or who seeks to transfer as a member to another fire compa- ny, shall be required to authorize the submission of his or her name and other authorized identifying information to the division which shall search its files for records indicating whether the person stands convicted of [the crime of arson] A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. The chief of the fire company to which application is made shall provide written notice to the applicant that a search will be conducted, and if the applicant desires to proceed, he or she shall complete a search request on the form provided for this purpose by the division of criminal justice services. S 2. Subdivision 3 of section 837-o of the executive law, as added by chapter 423 of the laws of 1999, paragraph (b) as amended by section 41 of part B of chapter 56 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows:
3. (a) All searches concerning the application for membership in a fire company shall be conducted under the provisions of subdivision six of section eight hundred thirty-seven of this article without the assessment of any fee to the applicant or fire company and shall pertain solely to ascertaining whether the applicant stands convicted of [arson] A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. (b) The results of the search shall be communicated in writing, within ten business days of receipt from the division, to the chief of the fire company from which the search request originated by either the sheriff's department or the office of fire prevention and control, and shall be kept confidential by the chief, except as provided in paragraph (c) of this subdivision. [The results of the search shall only state either that: (i) the applicant stands convicted of arson, or (ii) the applicant has no record of conviction for arson. The results of the search shall not divulge any other information relating to the criminal history of the applicant.] (c) UPON CONDUCTING A REVIEW OF THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES RECORDS, THE CHIEF SHALL MAKE A DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER THE APPLICANT IS ELIGIBLE TO BE ELECTED OR APPOINTED AS A VOLUNTEER MEMBER OF A FIRE COMPANY. A CONVICTION OF ARSON IN ANY DEGREE, A FELONY SEX OFFENSE OR THE MISDEMEANORS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, FORCIBLE TOUCHING OR SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE SECOND DEGREE SHALL RESULT IN AN IMMEDIATE DISQUALI- FICATION AS A MEMBER AND A CONVICTION FOR ANY OTHER CRIMINAL OFFENSE SHALL RESULT IN A DISQUALIFICATION IF IT IS DETERMINED TO BE RELATED TO HIS OR HER FITNESS TO SERVE AS A VOLUNTEER MEMBER OF A FIRE COMPANY UPON, AMONG OTHER THINGS, CONSIDERATION OF THE FACTORS SET FORTH UNDER SECTION SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE OF THE CORRECTION LAW. At the time an applicant is advised that he or she is ineligible for membership due to a record of conviction [for arson], he or she shall also be advised of the rights to challenge and appeal the information contained in the record of conviction as provided in the rules and regulations of the division. The applicant shall continue to be barred from membership until all administrative and judicial challenges to the accuracy of such information or appeals therefrom, are ultimately resolved in his or her favor, or if such a determination is unchallenged. S 3. Subdivision 16 of section 176-b of the town law, as added by chapter 719 of the laws of 1985, is amended to read as follows: 16. A person who has been convicted of arson in any degree, A FELONY SEX OFFENSE OR THE MISDEMEANORS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, FORCIBLE TOUCHING OR SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE SECOND DEGREE shall not be eligible to be elected or appointed as a volunteer member of a fire company. A PERSON WHO HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF ANY OTHER CRIMINAL OFFENSE SHALL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO BE ELECTED OR APPOINTED AS A VOLUNTEER MEMBER OF A FIRE COMPANY IF THE OFFENSE IS RELATED TO HIS OR HER FITNESS TO SERVE AS A VOLUNTEER MEMBER UPON, AMONG OTHER THINGS, CONSIDERATION OF THE FACTORS SET FORTH UNDER SECTION SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE OF THE CORRECTION LAW. The membership of any volunteer member of a fire company shall immediately terminate if he OR SHE is convicted of arson in any degree, A FELONY SEX OFFENSE OR THE MISDEMEANORS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, FORCIBLE TOUCHING OR SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE SECOND DEGREE while a member of a fire company AND SUCH MEMBER- SHIP SHALL BE TERMINATED IF HE OR SHE IS CONVICTED OF AN OFFENSE THAT IS RELATED TO HIS OR HER FITNESS TO SERVE AS A VOLUNTEER MEMBER UPON, AMONG OTHER THINGS, CONSIDERATION OF THE FACTORS SET FORTH UNDER SECTION SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE OF THE CORRECTION LAW. S 4. Subdivision 17 of section 176-b of the town law, as added by chapter 423 of the laws of 1999, is amended to read as follows:
17. Upon application by any person for membership in a fire company operating pursuant to this section, the fire chief shall cause the applicant's background to be checked pursuant to section eight hundred thirty-seven-o of the executive law for a criminal history involving a conviction [for arson] OF A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. S 5. Subdivision 18 of section 10-1006 of the village law, as added by chapter 719 of the laws of 1985, is amended to read as follows: 18. A person who has been convicted of arson in any degree, A FELONY SEX OFFENSE, OR THE MISDEMEANORS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, FORCIBLE TOUCHING OR SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE SECOND DEGREE shall not be eligible to be elected or appointed as a volunteer member of a fire company. A PERSON WHO HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF ANY OTHER CRIMINAL OFFENSE SHALL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO BE ELECTED OR APPOINTED AS A VOLUNTEER MEMBER OF A FIRE COMPANY IF THE OFFENSE IS RELATED TO HIS OR HER FITNESS TO SERVE AS A VOLUNTEER MEMBER UPON, AMONG OTHER THINGS, CONSIDERATION OF THE FACTORS SET FORTH UNDER SECTION SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE OF THE CORRECTION LAW. The membership of any volunteer member of a fire company shall immediately terminate if he OR SHE is convicted of arson in any degree, A FELONY SEX OFFENSE OR THE MISDEMEANORS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, FORCIBLE TOUCHING OR SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE SECOND DEGREE while a member of a fire company AND SUCH MEMBER- SHIP SHALL BE TERMINATED IF HE OR SHE IS CONVICTED OF AN OFFENSE THAT IS RELATED TO HIS OR HER FITNESS TO SERVE AS A VOLUNTEER MEMBER UPON, AMONG OTHER THINGS, CONSIDERATION OF THE FACTORS SET FORTH UNDER SECTION SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE OF THE CORRECTION LAW. S 6. Subdivision 19 of section 10-1006 of the village law, as added by chapter 423 of the laws of 1999, is amended to read as follows: 19. Upon application by any person for membership in a fire company operating pursuant to this section, the fire chief shall cause the applicant's background to be checked pursuant to section eight hundred thirty-seven-o of the executive law for a criminal history involving a conviction [for arson] OF A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. S 7. Subparagraph 4 of paragraph (c) of section 1402 of the not-for- profit corporation law, as added by chapter 719 of the laws of 1985, is amended to read as follows: (4) A person who has been convicted of arson in any degree, A FELONY SEX OFFENSE OR THE MISDEMEANORS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, FORCIBLE TOUCHING OR SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE SECOND DEGREE shall not be eligible to be named in the certificate of incorporation of a fire corporation, or to be elected or appointed as a volunteer member of a fire corporation. A PERSON WHO HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF ANY OTHER CRIMINAL OFFENSE SHALL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO BE NAMED IN THE CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION OF A FIRE CORPORATION OR TO BE ELECTED OR APPOINTED AS A VOLUNTEER MEMBER OF A FIRE CORPORATION IF THE OFFENSE IS RELATED TO HIS OR HER FITNESS TO SERVE AS A VOLUNTEER MEMBER UPON, AMONG OTHER THINGS, CONSIDERATION OF THE FACTORS SET FORTH UNDER SECTION SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE OF THE CORRECTION LAW. The membership of any volunteer member of a fire corpo- ration shall immediately terminate if he OR SHE is convicted of arson in any degree, A FELONY SEX OFFENSE OR THE MISDEMEANORS OF SEXUAL MISCON- DUCT, FORCIBLE TOUCHING OR SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE SECOND DEGREE while a member of a fire corporation AND SUCH MEMBERSHIP SHALL BE TERMINATED IF HE OR SHE IS CONVICTED OF AN OFFENSE THAT IS RELATED TO HIS OR HER FITNESS TO SERVE AS A VOLUNTEER MEMBER UPON, AMONG OTHER THINGS, CONSID- ERATION OF THE FACTORS SET FORTH UNDER SECTION SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE OF THE CORRECTION LAW.
S 8. Subparagraph 5 of paragraph (c) of section 1402 of the not-for- profit corporation law, as added by chapter 423 of the laws of 1999, is amended to read as follows: (5) Upon application by any person for membership in a fire corpo- ration operating pursuant to this section, the fire chief shall cause the applicant's background to be checked pursuant to section eight hundred thirty-seven-o of the executive law for a criminal history involving a conviction [for arson] OF A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. S 9. Section 122-b of the general municipal law is amended by adding a new subdivision 6 to read as follows: 6. ANY MEMBER OF A VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE COMPANY OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE ORGANIZATION SHALL BE SUBJECT TO A CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK PURSUANT TO SECTION EIGHT HUNDRED THIRTY-SEVEN-O OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW. THE SHERIFF OF ANY COUNTY IN WHICH SUCH EMERGENCY SERVICES ARE PROVIDED SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR RECEIVING THE SEARCH REQUESTS AND PROCESSING THE SEARCH REQUESTS WITH THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES WITH- IN TEN BUSINESS DAYS OF RECEIPT FROM THE AMBULANCE OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES COMPANY. A PERSON WHO HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF AN OFFENSE THAT IS RELATED TO HIS OR HER FITNESS TO SERVE AS A MEMBER OF A VOLUNTEER AMBU- LANCE COMPANY MAY BE FOUND TO BE INELIGIBLE TO BE ELECTED OR APPOINTED AS A VOLUNTEER MEMBER OF AN AMBULANCE COMPANY OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES ORGANIZATION. S 10. This act shall take effect immediately.

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