Important legislation (A-1678) that I sponsored, which was signed into law, expands access to DNA testing for anyone convicted of a crime and will exonerate the wrongfully convicted in our state. Thanks to DNA testing, we have seen a number of individuals exonerated after years, sometimes decades spent behind bars for crimes they did not commit. Sadly, under current state law, an innocent person who is on probation or parole does not have the same access to the technology that can help clear their name and restore their dignity. This bill would open access to DNA testing to these individuals, so they can stop living under the shadow of guilt and finally be free.
I sponsored a bill to protect law enforcement officers this year that passed the Assembly 79-0. The bill known as Marc Anthony’s Law (A-823) makes it a first-degree crime to cause serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer with a stolen or defaced firearm. The bill will increase the penalties for possessing or acquiring defaced firearms. By toughening these penalties, we will keep our streets safer. It is a significant step in protecting law enforcement officers. The bill is named for and honors Marc Anthony DiNardo who died from injuries suffered during a shootout with robbery suspects in 2009. Law enforcement officers ensure public safety by essentially putting their own lives at risk, we should extend them every possible protection.
Other public safety initiatives, that I have fought for in the Assembly, extend beyond our law enforcement community and relate specifically to victims and making our communities safer. I am leading important efforts in DNA collection for violent offenders, establishing a permanent gangland security task force, and keeping our families safer by supporting domestic violence prevention measures.