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Panepinto legislation would increase criminal penalties for sales of controlled substances on or near park grounds or playgrounds

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Wed, Mar 2nd 2016 09:10 am

State Sen. Marc Panepinto, D-Buffalo, announced the passage of his co-sponsored legislation (S.994) to protect New York's most vulnerable residents in a 56 to 5 vote Tuesday. The legislation's passage comes as Western New York and the nation are faced with a growing heroin and opiate epidemic. It is designed to protect New York's children from drug dealers who target them on municipal or park grounds.

By amending New York penal law to include park or municipal grounds and playgrounds, Panepinto's co-sponsored legislation increases the penalty for the sale of a controlled substance in those locations.

"As we continue the fight to address the debilitating and often-times deadly drug problem facing our community, it is crucial that we attack it from all angles; and that starts with our kids," Panepinto said. "Playgrounds and park grounds are no place for drugs. By simply enhancing the penalties for those caught selling a controlled substance, we can take the first of many steps to clean up our streets and prevent our most vulnerable from living a life of addiction. In a world where many children are forced to grow up too soon, we owe them that much.

"I commend my colleagues in the Senate for taking up this important legislation and call on my fellow lawmakers in the Assembly to do the responsible thing and protect New York's children."

Panepinto's co-sponsored legislation would accomplish the following:

•Amends penal law to define "park grounds" or "playgrounds" to include:

√Any buildings structures, playing fields, playgrounds or lands that are owned, leased or maintained by the state, a municipality, a not-for-profit corporation or similar entity and used on a basis as a recreation area. Any parking lots, marinas, boat launches or parking garages that serve and are within a 1,000 feet of a park ground or playground are also included.

•Amends a section of the penal law - criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree - to add that a person is guilty of the offense if he or she sells a controlled substance upon park grounds or playgrounds.

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