Assemblyman Discusses Legislative Ethics

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By Gary Simeone

New York State Assemblyman Charles Lavine held a presentation at the Glen Cove Library on Wednesday, Sept. 30, on “Albany 101: Legislation/Ethics.” Lavine is a Glen Cove resident and is chairman of the state’s ethics committee and is co-chair of the State Legislative Ethics Commission. Lavine was named chairman of the ethics committee in 2013.

“The purpose of this program is designed to make more open and transparent our legislative system and the methods used to process ethical violations,” said Lavine.

The assemblyman referenced a few of his former colleagues who have, “been in the news lately for ethical violations and have been investigated and prosecuted.”

Lavine said that there are three channels in the state in which ethical violations by legislative members are handled and processed. The first one is through the NYS Standing Committee on Ethical Guidance, which investigates sexual harassment and retaliation claims. The second is through Joint Commission on Public Ethics( JCOPE), which was established as a result of the numerous ethical violations as of late. The third way is through the Legislative Ethics Commission, which has the authority to dole out punishment for violations.

Lavine also discussed how bills become laws in the legislature and spoke about his recent bill that would extend prison sentences for those who illegally use lethal and explosive devices. The bill would impose an additional 10-year sentence for defenders who possess a lethal device such as a handgun, machine gun, rifle or assault weapon.

“I first wrote the bill after discussing this issue with friends in law enforcement and with people in the NYS Rifle & Pistol Association,” said Lavine. “Originally, I wanted to impose an additional five-year consecutive sentence to offenders, but negotiated with people and reconsidered the bill. Personally, I don’t think 10 years is too much.”

Lavine’s presentation was a timely one because the day before, a home invasion led to a shooting at a home on Eldridge Place in Glen Cove. Many Eldridge Place homeowners and members of the Colonial Park Community were in attendance at the event.

One Eldridge Place resident said that she had made calls almost every day over the summer to police concerning the unscrupulous activity going on at the home.

“I know that location has been troubled for a long time,” said the resident. “My 7-year-old son has been scared and doesn’t want to go outside because he is in fear of the ‘bad guys who will get mommy and me.’ What can we do as far as getting law enforcement to be more aggressive with this situation?”

A Colonial Gate resident suggested that forming a neighborhood watch similar to what other communities have might be the answer.

The assemblyman said that he would speak to the mayor and the police chief to see what he could do about the situation.

“We need to pool our resources and get the local mayor, police department and district attorneys involved and get some results,” said Lavine.

Lavine is scheduled to present the program in 11 libraries across Nassau County. Locally, he will be at Sea Cliff Public Library on Nov. 12, at Locust Valley Public Library on Dec. 1 and at Oyster Bay-East Norwich Public Library on Dec. 2.

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