- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Several New York lawmakers are pushing legislation that would require caretakers of the disabled, mentally ill and addicted in state programs to report suspected abuse to local police and prosecutors.

The bill, with 31 Assembly sponsors and 18 in the Senate, would raise the penalty for failure to report incidents from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Sponsors say current law requires only notifying New York’s Justice Center in suburban Albany and has resulted in “persistent incidences of heartbreaking abuse” across the state.

The legislation would apply to staff of state facilities and group homes, requiring calls to the 911 operator and county district attorney also to report incidents.

Assemblyman David Weprin, a Queens Democrat, says Monday it would reduce abuse while giving disabled people equal access to the justice system.

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