For the sixth year in a row, the New York State Senate has passed a controversial bill that would create a public registry of people convicted of domestic violence-related felonies. In past years, the legislation has stalled in the state Assembly without being voted on.
Brittany’s Law was passed again by the State Senate June 14 with a 50 to 11 vote. However, defenders of civil liberties and even advocates for victims of domestic violence have spoken out against the proposed legislation.
The New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence opposes Brittany’s Law and has urged people to ask that their senators vote no on the bill. The Coalition said that it opposes registries because they do not prevent domestic violence, violate the privacy of victims and may give potential victims a false sense of security. The group also said that such registries have a disproportionate impact on people of color and may have unintended consequences.
The Democratic majority in the state Assembly also opposes the bill, with a spokesman stating that domestic violence registries make ex-offenders less stable by preventing them from finding employment and housing.
The proposed legislation is named for Brittany Passalacqua, a 12-year-old girl who was killed in 2009 along with her mother Helen Buchel. John Brown, who was dating Buchel, was convicted of two counts of murder in 2010. He had previously served three years in state prison for injuring his infant daughter. Brittany’s grandmother, Dale Driscoll, said she believes that if a domestic violence registry had been available, Buchel would not have become involved with Brown.