Melanie’s Law Passes
in NY Assembly

Assemblyman Anil Beephan, speaks about Melanie’s law, which will close a loophole in protecting victims of domestic violence. Assemblyman Brian Cunningham stands next to him. Cheryl Chianese, who lost her daughter when her ex-boyfriend murdered her, stands in the first row, far right, next to Cunningham. She has advocated for the law. Photo from the State Assembly.

New York State Assembly

Melanie’s Law Passes in NY Assembly

ALBANY — New York state took another crucial step in the passage of Melanie’s Law, a law which will protect the families of domestic violence victims, whatever their age.

On Tuesday, May 21 the Assembly gave its approval to the measure.

Assemblyman Anil Beephan, who represents the 105th Assembly district, announced that the law passed in the Assembly and was be on its way to the governor’s office for signature. The 105th district includes parts of Dutchess County: Amenia, Dover, and Wappingers. Melanie Chianese, for whom the bill is named, was from Wappingers.

As it stands now, the law only protects those family members who are under eighteen.

Melanie was stabbed to death by her mother’s ex-boyfriend, Paul Senecal, in May of 2022. While Melanie’s mother and three-year-old son were granted protective orders against Senecal, Melanie, then twenty-nine, did not qualify for one. Melanie’s Law will correct this loophole if signed into law by the governor.

Beephan introduced Melanie’s Law in February of 2023 and it failed to pass the Assembly. He is “proud to confirm” its passage this year.

“The bill was able to pass this time because we were able to secure more bipartisan co-sponsors who advocated for the bill to be reported out of committee. As this was a new bill introduced in 2023, it sometimes takes the full session to get things to the floor. None of this would have been possible without the support of Assemblyman Cunningham.” Brian Cunningham, a Democrat, represents the 43rd district. As part of the majority in the Assembly, he helped Beephan introduce the bill.

State Senator Michelle Hinchey, who co-sponsored the bill in the Senate, commented about the Assembly’s passage of the bill, “The tragic murder of Melanie Chianese reminds us of the far-reaching consequences of domestic violence and the work that must be done to better protect victims and their loved ones. I’m proud to sponsor Melanie’s Law, developed in her memory, and heartened that both houses of the Legislature were able to pass it before the end of the session. We remain hopeful that the Governor will see the need for this common-sense legislation and sign it into law.”

Beephan said of the law and the work put into it, “I want to thank Cheryl, Melanie’s mother, for sharing her story and bringing awareness to this issue. I feel incredibly honored to have been part of this body of advocates and legislators to enact real change that will protect people in the future. The best of government is people coming together to solve problems, and in Melanie’s memory, I was glad we could do that here.”

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