Expands eligibility for those who receive awards under crime victims' compensation to include a domestic partner; defines domestic partner; further provides for out-of-pocket loss to include the cost of counseling for surviving family members of homicide victims.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to eligibility of domestic partners for compensation from the crime victims' board
PURPOSE: This bill would allow people maintaining significant and long-term. yet not legally formalized, relationships with homicide victims to be eligible for compensation from the Crime Victims Board for actual out of pocket losses and counseling expenses. Such people would include, for example, elderly siblings or relatives sharing living quarters in a mutually interdependent relationship, adult partners in long-term committed relationships not formalized by marriage and those who have parent-child relationships but have not entered into a formal adoption arrangement.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill would amend Executive Law section 624 to allow a family member of a homicide victim, who resided with the victim at the time of such crime and with whom the victim maintained a long-term relationship characterized by emotional and financial commitment and interdependence, to be eligible for compensation from the Crime Victims Board when the victim died as a direct result of such crime. The term "family" is currently defined in Executive Law sec. 621 (4). This bill also would amend Executive Law sec. 626 by adding a new subdivision 4 to provide that out of pocket loss shall include the lost the cost of counseling for surviving family members of homicide victims who are otherwise eligible pursuant to section 624(1)(b).
JUSTIFICATION: Currently, the Crime Victims Board has no authority to compensate family members of homicide victims unless such persons are relative listed explicitly in Exec. 1. sec. 624 or unless they are principally dependent on the victim for financial support. In the absence of such financial dependence, a long-term living companion, or a person in a parent-child relationship not formalized by an adoption order, may not recover under the current statute.
A recent trend in New York has been to broaden the definition of family to include persons who maintain long-term substantial relationships but not formalized by marriage licenses or orders of adoption. In fact, in response to the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2000. the Governor extended the definition of family to domestic partners of victims of the attack in order to make them eligible for compensation.
SEE BRASCHI V. STAHL ASSOCIATES CO., 74 N.Y.2d 201, (1989), in which the Court of Appeals stated that for purposes of protection from eviction under the New York City rent control law, the term "family" not be rigidly restricted to those people who have formalized their relationship by obtaining, for instance, a marriage certificate or an adoption order... but instead should find its foundation in the reality of family life.
ID., at 211. Such persons are readily distinguishable from "mere roommates". ID. at 212. New York City recently initiated a new policy on paid bereavement leave for City employees who live with a partner outside of marriage. The impact of a partner's death despite the lack of legal formalization of a relationship is recognized by this legislation. Although the Crime Victims Board statute already defines "family" very broadly.
Exec. L. sec. 621(4), definition is currently used only for narrow purposes and not to determine who should receive compensation for out of pocket loss and counseling expenses. Those persons within this broader definition of family are no less traumatized by the crimecaused death of a person with whom they maintain a committed relation- ship than are those who have legally formalized their relationship prior to the commission of the crime.
By combining the existing statutory definition of "family" with a requirement that the claimant show that he or she had a long-term interdependent relationship with the victim, the statute would more clearly reflect societal changes and would more fairly compensate those whose lives are forever changed by the homicide of a loved one.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2000: S.3217 Referred to Crime Victims, Crime and Correction A.6204 Referred to Governmental Operations 2002: A.4980 Reported from Government Operations and Referred to Ways and Means 2003-04: A.1033 Reported Referred to Ways and Means 2007-09: S.2416A Referred to Crime Victims, Crime and Correction A.4526 Advanced to Third Reading Calendar 2009-10: S.1422A/A.4089A (Passed Assembly)
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: The Crime Victims Board has estimated that approximately $28,000 per year from existing appropriations would be required to cover awards to the additional eligible claimants under this bill.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 629 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. SQUADRON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to eligibility of domes- tic partners for compensation from the crime victims' board THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 1 of section 624 of the execu- tive law, as amended by chapter 427 of the laws of 1999, is amended to read as follows: (b) a surviving spouse OR DOMESTIC PARTNER, grandparent, parent, step- parent, child or stepchild of a victim of a crime who died as a direct result of such crime; S 2. Section 624 of the executive law is amended by adding a new subdivision 1-a to read as follows: 1-A. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "DOMESTIC PARTNER" MEANS A PERSON WHO, WITH RESPECT TO ANOTHER PERSON: (A) IS FORMALLY A PARTY IN A DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP OR SIMILAR RELATION- SHIP WITH THE OTHER PERSON, ENTERED INTO PURSUANT TO THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OR OF ANY STATE, LOCAL OR FOREIGN JURISDICTION, OR REGIS- TERED AS THE DOMESTIC PARTNER OF THE OTHER PERSON WITH ANY REGISTRY MAINTAINED BY THE EMPLOYER OF EITHER PARTY OR ANY STATE, MUNICIPALITY, OR FOREIGN JURISDICTION; OR (B) IS FORMALLY RECOGNIZED AS A BENEFICIARY OR COVERED PERSON UNDER THE OTHER PERSON'S EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS OR HEALTH INSURANCE; OR (C) IS DEPENDENT OR MUTUALLY INTERDEPENDENT ON THE OTHER PERSON FOR SUPPORT, AS EVIDENCED BY THE TOTALITY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES INDICATING A MUTUAL INTENT TO BE A DOMESTIC PARTNER INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: COMMON OWNERSHIP OR JOINT LEASING OF REAL OR PERSONAL PROPERTY; COMMON HOUSEHOLDING, SHARED INCOME OR SHARED EXPENSES; CHILDREN IN COMMON;EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01279-01-1 S. 629 2
SIGNS OF INTENT TO MARRY OR BECOME A DOMESTIC PARTNER UNDER PARAGRAPH (A) OR (B) OF THIS SUBDIVISION; OR THE LENGTH OF THE PERSONAL RELATION- SHIP OF THE PERSONS. S 3. Section 626 of the executive law is amended by adding a new subdivision 4 to read as follows: 4. OUT-OF-POCKET LOSS SHALL ALSO INCLUDE THE COST OF COUNSELING FOR SURVIVING FAMILY MEMBERS OF HOMICIDE VICTIMS WHO ARE OTHERWISE ELIGIBLE PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH (B) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION SIX HUNDRED TWENTY-FOUR OF THIS ARTICLE. S 4. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law.