Prospective volunteer firefighters will be screened for sex offenses under legislation signed Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The bill, S1885C, by Senator John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, D-Forestburgh, requires candidates for volunteer firefighter positions to undergo a background check for sex offenses and allows fire departments to reject them.
“Volunteer fire departments should have the ability to keep convicted sex offenders from becoming volunteers,” according to the bill justification memo. “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.”
The bill, introduced at the request of the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York, has been passed by the Senate three times, but previously had died in Assembly committee. It takes effect in 120 days.
Essentially, what would otherwise be a misdemeanor assault will become a felony if the victim holds one of those jobs. The housing authority bill takes effect in 30 days while the crossing guard measure becomes effective on Nov. 1.