Galef Releases Results of January 2013 Constituent Survey

Constituents agree on many issues, are divided on others

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef has released the results of her most recent constituent survey, citing that 695 constituents responded to various questions regarding early voting, plastic bag taxes, gun safety and medical personnel apologies, among other issues.

“I rely on these surveys to get a better understanding of the issues that are important to my constituents,” Galef said. “I found it intriguing that respondents were very split on some of the issues, while on others almost everyone seemed to agree upon a particular path to take. Discussions about how to move forward with these topics will be continuing in the Legislature, so it is very useful to have received this input from those who live in my assembly district.”

Some of the questions showed a general consensus among the respondents. Even though the survey came out around the same time as the legislation in regard to gun control was passing the Assembly, 69 percent of constituents responded that they support the placement of additional measures regulating both guns and ammunition. On Jan. 15, Gov. Cuomo signed into law the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, or SAFE Act, the most comprehensive gun safety law in the United States at the time.

With regard to medical personnel apologizing for errors without the apology being considered an admission of guilt, 65 percent of constituents agreed such apologies should be excluded in medical malpractice lawsuits, and Galef has introduced Assembly bill A4071 to do so.

The results show that 64 percent of the constituents would support allowing voters in New York state to cast ballots up to a week or two before Election Day. Many respondents commented on this issue, supporting the increased accessibility to voting that this proposal would offer.

Two questions on the survey received an overwhelming amount of favorable support. Eighty-eight percent of constituents agree with Galef that the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse should be extended from five years to 10 years. Eighty-nine percent of those that responded are in favor of the creation and maintenance of an automobile driver next-of-kin registry. This would allow those who obtain driver’s licenses to provide the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles with emergency contact information that can then be used to contact next-of-kin in the event of an automobile accident that either kills or injures the driver. In order to direct the Commissioner of the DMV to establish such a registry, Galef has introduced Assembly Bill A6694.

Most of the questions yielded results that showed a clear majority opinion of the respondents. This was not the case for the issue of allowing voters that are not registered with a specific party to participate in primary elections. According to the results, only 49 percent are in favor of New York allowing this. Another topic on which respondents are much divided is that of adopting a program to impose a 5-cent fee for single use carryout bags at stores and supermarkets, with the revenue then going towards state parks and historic sites. A majority of 58 percent are opposed to such a program being implemented.

“I have distributed the full results of my survey to my Assembly and Senate colleagues and will continue working with them to pass legislation that will benefit both the communities within my Assembly District and the entire state. I appreciate all of the responses that I received. It is essential to receive such feedback from my constituents so I am aware of the issues that are important to them and can represent them well in Albany,” Galef concluded.

New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef,  April 2013

I received 695 responses to the Constituent Questionnaire on the back of my January Newsletter and I thank those of you who submitted these responses. I value your input, as it allows me to better address the pressing issues of today during the legislative process. Here are the percentage results for both yes and no responses:

Question In Favor Opposed
1. Many states in the U.S. have early voting opportunities to encourage greater voter participation. How would you feel about New York State allowing voters to cast a ballot up to a week or two before election day, which would include a Saturday and a Sunday? 425 /
237 / 36%
2. Other states allow voters not registered with specific parties to participate in primary elections. Do you think New York should allow this? 331 / 49% 347 / 51%
3. Should we adopt a program which would impose a 5 cent fee for single use carry out bags at supermarkets and stores, revenue from which we would use to fund state parks and historic sites? 280 / 42% 380 / 58%
4. Many medical personnel, such as doctors and nurses, are afraid to apologize for an error or bad outcome regarding a patient because it can be used in lawsuits as an admission of guilt. Would you support a law that excludes such apologies as admissions of liability in medical malpractice lawsuits? 409 / 65% 220 / 35%
5. Should we extend the statute of limitations from five to ten years for victims of child sexual abuse to file claims against their abusers? 593 / 88% 82 / 12%
6. Some states maintain an automobile driver next-of-kin registry so that the next of kin are contacted if the driver is injured or killed in an automobile accident. Would you support legislation that would allow those obtaining a driver’s license to provide the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles with emergency contact information in case he or she is injured in an automobile accident? 599 / 89% 71 / 11%
7. In light of the tragedy of Newtown, CT, do you believe the state needs to put in place additional measures regulating guns and ammunition? 457 / 69% 205 / 31%


The following are some of the comments on my survey that I received from constituents in relation to various issues:

Gun Control Comments

  • Ban private ownership of assault weapons
  • Ban large magazines/limit number of rounds
  • Enforce current laws
  • Go after criminals, not law-abiding citizens
  • Tougher restrictions should be applied to handguns
  • More extensive background checks
  • Ban or tax assault weapons
  • Ban pistols
  • Ban ammunition for banned weapons
  • Longer wait periods for purchasing firearms
  • Strengthen registration procedures
  • All weapons must be kept in vault
  • Tougher sentences for gun-related crimes
  • Station employee at school entrance, possibly with use of a buzzer system
  • Hunt down unregistered gun owners
  • Enforce registration/background checks at gun shows
  • No sales at gun shows
  • Strict licensing
  • Re-registration every year/periodically
  • Make purchase of guns public knowledge
  • Hunters cannot own more than 3 rifles or shotguns
  • Ban handguns
  • No more than 1 box of bullets per month per costumer
  • Ammunition should be registered when bought
  • Ammunition should be limited, and taxed
  • Register all firearms
  • Don’t need more laws
  • New tax on buying guns
  • Alert police if gun owner has more than 1 gun
  • Restrict concealed weapons
  • More money and effort into mental health issues
  • Close gun show and private sale loopholes
  • Require higher-level license for assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
  • Ban gun ownership for people with mental health issues
  • Institute background checks for purchases of ammunition
  • Ban individuals under 19 from purchasing guns
  • Limit number of guns private households can own
  • Improve databases of guns/gun owners across state agencies
  • Require fingerprinting of all gun buyers
  • Limit gun and ammunition purchases as much as possible
  • Restrict sale of ammunition to specifically licensed entities (NOT sporting goods stores)
  • Limit gun purchases to 1 per year
  • Stricter punishment for gun trafficking
  • Restrict hunting within one mile of public space, including in the Adirondacks

Early Voting Constituent Comments

  • Only when necessary to alleviate long lines
  • Could possibly offer more flexibility
  • Easier process encourages more participation
  • Must push online voting
  • Mail — use the L.A. Model
  • Voting opportunities should be made possible to the aged and home-bound
  • Crucial in obtaining votes from isolated groups
  • Could create more voter fraud
  • Don’t trust ability to “warehouse” ballot
  • It’s the voter’s obligation to make the effort on Election Day
  • Voters should vote on only Election Day
  • If people want to vote they find the time
  • It is hard enough now to keep track of who has already voted
  • More room for voter fraud
  • Increases cost for poll workers
  • Might need significant clerical oversight to control

 Plastic Bag Tax Constituent Comments

  • No plastic bags at all
  • Use paper bags for packing
  • Should be $0.25
  • If the money actually went where it should go
  • Food expenses are already enough

Statute of Limitations for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse Constituent Comments

  • 20 years would be better

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