Jacobs & Lawmakers Approve Social Host Law, Alec's Law, Underground Fuel Tank Regulations

Nassau County Presiding Officer Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) joined fellow legislators at the July 9 full legislative session in unanimously approving a social host law that makes it possible for party hosts to be prosecuted if alcohol is found to be consumed by underage guests.

Party hosts age 18 and over can be hit with a $250 for a first violation if they are found to be serving alcohol to minors at private parties. A second violation can bring a $500 fine and a third, a $1,000 fine and possible jail time. Similar laws exist in the cities of Long Beach and Glen Cove in Nassau County, and Amityville in Suffolk County.

“Some adults believe underage drinking is just part of growing up and therefore think it is acceptable to give alcohol to underage people,” Jacobs said, “but this law will send a clear message to adults that providing alcohol to underage youth is not acceptable and it’s against the law. This is about the safety of our children and holding responsible those that endanger young lives.”

According to national statistics, almost 50% of teens report having attended parties where drinking occurred and parents were present.In local surveys, 70% of high school seniors report drinking at parties in homes. The bill says that it is illegal for anyone over the age of 18 who owns, rents or otherwise controls a private residence and who is present and aware of the consumption of alcohol by any minor at any party, gathering or event on such premises, to permit drinking.

In other business, Alec’s Law was also unanimously approved by the full legislature. The law is named for Alec Nelson, a 16-month-old from Suffolk County who was killed in his own driveway because of poor rearward visibility.

The law requires the Nassau County Traffic Safety Board to establish and maintain a web page promoting child safety and accident prevention for vehicle owners which would include current information and statistical data relative to the prevention of non-traffic related incidents such as back-overs; rearward visibility performance standards; information concerning drivers’ visibility in “blind zones”; general vehicle safety; and, a list of the names and addresses of all businesses authorized to sell new and used vehicles in Nassau County.

“Tragedies such as the death of Alec Nelson are all too common in today’s world, but by simply providing people with information and literature, we can ensure that all car buyers know what inherent dangers could lead to accidents and worse,” Jacobs said.

Since 2000, over 1,100 children have died in non-traffic accidents, with 210 in 2006 alone. Back-over accidents claimed the lives of 474 children from 2002-2006, compared to just 128 from 1997-2001.

Also approved was legislation requiring underground fuel storage tanks to be replaced every 30 years. The law also requires all new or replacement tanks to be made of sturdier fiberglass reinforced plastic or double wall steel. The law brings Nassau County’s Fire Code regarding underground tanks into compliance with the higher, national standard. Residential underground storage tanks are not affected by this ordinance.

“This ordinance will raise the safety and environmental standards regarding fuel storage tanks that are utilized at the more than 1,575 locations across Nassau County,” Jacobs said. “Long Island’s ground water supply is fragile and very susceptible to contamination by fuel tank leaks and I believe raising the safety standards on these tanks will keep our water and soil safe.”

The ordinance also requires that all new underground petroleum storage tanks must have a secondary containment system which collects and contains a leak, consisting of either a double-walled tank or a vault and a leak monitoring system.

Also approved at the meeting was the appointment of Lawrence Mulvey as the new Nassau County Police Department Commissioner.

The Rules committee approved an agreement with The Carousel Works, an Ohio-based company, to completely restore and revamp the beloved Nunley’s Carousel.

“The carousel is a nostalgic symbol to many Nassau County residents,” Jacobs said. “Restoring this historic carousel will enrich the lives of generations to come.”

The historic wooden carousel was built by Murphy-Stein & Goldstein between 1910 and 1912 and was operated at Nunley’s Amusement Park in Baldwin from 1939-1996. Consisting of 30 jumping and 11 standing horses as well as chariots and a lion, the Nunley’s Carousel has been in storage at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City since Nunley’s closing. Following its restoration, the carousel will make its new home on Museum Row near Mitchel Field.

The Carousel Works’ $484,000 contract will include extensive restoration of Nunley’s Carousel. Specifically, the reconditioning of the frame and mechanism, the horses, the chariots and lion, the scenery panels, the mirror panels, the operating controls, and the original Wurlitzer 153 organ.

Also passing through committee is funding for the Board of Elections to implement programs to educate employees and voters on the proper use of new voting systems, including ballot marking devices. The funds, totaling $791,723, is Nassau County’s matching share of the federally mandated HAVA grant program passed through the New York State Board of Elections. Voter education is designed to educate voters concerning voting procedures, voting rights and voting technology. The essential purpose of voter education is to train voters on the proper use of new voting systems to ensure that their votes are counted and to ensure that voters thoroughly understand new voting procedures.

The next legislative session will be on July 18 at 6 p.m.