New York News: June 16, 2012

by Andrew Henderson

The New York State Senate recently approved a bill to give increased law enforcement powers to security officials at three nuclear power plants in Oswego County as well as other plants around the state.

The measure, S.3825, would designate trained personnel of the Physical Security Organization of a nuclear facility as “peace officers” with power to make arrests, and other enhanced law enforcement powers.

“The security teams at nuclear facilities undergo the highest level of federally established military and law enforcement training and education, in order to ensure that the public is safe, and facilities are protected from attack,” said Senator Patty Ritchie. “Providing these additional powers only enhances our safety and security oat these vital facilities.”

As peace officers, security officers would be allowed to make arrests, use physical force in certain cases to make arrests, and issue appearance tickets.

More than 70 categories of law enforcement and security personnel are already characterized in law as “peace officers,” from probation officers and park rangers, to employees of the insurance fraud bureau.

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Assemblyman and Ranking Minority Ways and Means Committee Member Robert Oaks said New York State Thruway Authority’s proposed 45-percent toll hike on commercial trucks with three or more axles could create a flat tire for New York’s businesses by increasing their cost of operation.

“In a general business sense, it’s just another way that a company thinking about leaving New York could come to the conclusion they just can’t afford the cost of doing business here anymore,” Oaks said. “It might tip the scale for a company to move somewhere else.”

The assemblyman is joining other legislative leaders in opposing the proposal. Thruway Authority Board recently gave it an initial green light to move forward.

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