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7/29/2008
New York: Meter Maid Slapping Now a Felony
Meter maids receive the same special status as firemen and police officers when attacked in New York state.

NYC meter maidShoving a meter maid and interrupting the issuance of a parking ticket is now a felony in the state of New York. Legislation passed unanimously in the state assembly and senate took effect last Tuesday elevating any physical contact for which a meter maid can claim an injury to a Class D felony carrying a prison sentence of up to seven years. Lawmakers wanted to embolden the army of 2000 New York City employees responsible for bringing in $580 million in annual ticket revenue.

"The job of the Traffic Enforcement Agent is to maintain the smooth flow of traffic by issuing summons to vehicles parked illegally and, where required, by towing these vehicles," state Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow (D-Westchester) explained in his bill justification. "No one likes to get a ticket. But the contempt some persons have for the job of the TEA or New York City marshal does not warrant the violent confrontational approach they have taken."

Meter maids received their first status boost in 1996 when they were given uniforms designed to resemble those worn by police officers, although Traffic Enforcement Agents have no police powers. The lack of status for meter maids is so severe that a police officer was accused in May of beating a meter maid to public applause. In response to this attitude, the Communications Workers of America Local 1182, the union representing meter maids, has worked for the past fifteen years to enact the felony punishment statute.

"Like police offices, firefighters, corrections office and certain other personnel, Traffic Enforcement Agents are classified as part of New York City's elite uniformed forces, pursuant to local law," union President James Huntley wrote in a letter to Governor David Paterson (D).

The new law bestows on meter maids the special protection originally applied only to firemen, paramedics and police officers operating in the course of their duties. For example, if a meter maid were to attack a motorist, the assault would only be classified as a felony if a "severe physical injury" resulted. The standard is reduced to anything considered an "injury" -- no matter how minor -- if the victim happens to be writing a ticket.

According to police, this change would have applied to about sixty reported meter maid assault cases last year. According to FBI statistics, ordinary New York City residents were subject to aggravated assault on 27,295 occasions over the same period.

Article Excerpt:
S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
6011--D

2007-2008 Regular Sessions
I N A S S E M B L Y
February 27, 2007
___________

Introduced by M. of A. PRETLOW -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A.D. GORDON -- read once and referred to the Committee on Codes -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee -- again reported from said committee with amendments, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee -- recommitted to the Committee on Codes in accordance with Assembly Rule 3, sec. 2 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee -- again reported from said committee with amendments, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee

AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to assaults on city marshals, traffic enforcement officers and traffic enforcement agents and making certain technical corrections relating to firefighters

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. Subdivisions 3 and 11 of section 120.05 of the penal law, subdivision 3 as separately amended by chapters 269 and 287 of the laws of 1998 and subdivision 11 as amended by chapter 100 of the laws of 2006, are amended to read as follows:

3. With intent to prevent a peace officer, A police officer, a {fireman} FIREFIGHTER, including a {fireman} FIREFIGHTER acting as a paramedic or emergency medical technician administering first aid in the course of performance of duty as such {fireman} FIREFIGHTER, an emergency medical service paramedic or emergency medical service technician, or medical or related personnel in a hospital emergency department, A CITY MARSHAL, A TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT AGENT, from performing a lawful duty, by means including releasing or failing to control an animal under circumstances evincing the actor's intent that the animal obstruct the lawful activity of such peace officer, police officer, {fireman} FIREFIGHTER, paramedic {or}, technician, CITY MARSHAL, TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT AGENT, he OR SHE causes physical injury to such peace officer, police officer, {fireman} FIREFIGHTER, paramedic, technician or medical or related personnel in a hospital emergency department, CITY MARSHAL, TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT AGENT; or

11. With intent to cause physical injury to a train operator, ticket inspector, conductor, signalperson, bus operator or station agent employed by any transit agency, authority or company, public or private, whose operation is authorized by New York state or any of its political subdivisions, A CITY MARSHAL, A TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT AGENT, he or she causes physical injury to such train opera tor, ticket inspector, conductor, signalperson, bus operator or station agent, CITY MARSHAL, TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT AGENT while such employee is performing an assigned duty on, or directly related to, the operation of a train or bus, OR SUCH CITY MARSHAL, TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT AGENT IS PERFORMING AN ASSIGNED DUTY.

S 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.



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