Gianaris Announces Legislation Expanding Good Samaritan Laws
The legislation would protect local businesses and non-profits offering themselves as safe havens from being held liable for damages or injuries that may have occurred while helping a victim.
Gianaris held a press conference on December 22 at Dazies Restaurant owned by a small business owner Lily Gavin on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside, to formally announce the legislation. Gianaris was joined by Central Astoria Local Development Coalition Executive Director Marie Torniali and President George Stamatiades.
“Protecting small businesses that rush to aid someone in distress will increase the safe havens available to crime victims and make our streets safer,” Gianaris said. “By encouraging businesses to act in good faith in an emergency, this legislation creates a stronger safety net for individuals who may otherwise feel apprehensive about traveling alone or in unknown neighborhoods.”
Currently, Good Samaritan laws only protect individuals from liability for damages or injuries incurred by a victim while seeking assistance in an emergency. Gianaris’ bill would extend those laws to pertain to local businesses and non-profits acting as safe havens to help individuals who feel at risk or victimized.
In November, Gianaris held an anti-crime rally with local leaders to protest the recent, unusual spike in crime in Western Queens. The elected officials used the rally to announce new crimefighting initiatives to increase safety in the neighborhood, including the Gianaris measure to expand the Good Samaritan laws.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Assemblymember Aravella Simotas who was also present.
Simotas said, “Promoting public safety is a community endeavor, and organizations that step in to help the victim of a crime need to know that they have the law on their side. I am proud to sponsor Senator Gianaris’ legislation in the Assembly and support small businesses and nonprofits who act as ‘Good Samaritans’ to those in need.”