Extension of red light cameras signed into law

So if the company truck gets ticketed, who So if the company truck gets ticketed, who pays? Traffic moves past the sign for a red-light camera on Middle Country Road near Boyle Road in Selden on Aug. 18, 2011. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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ALBANY -- New York's newest laws, signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Tuesday, will extend the use of red-light cameras on Long Island, while others will require schools to try to stem a rise in gambling by school-age children on lottery games.

The measures signed into law also create crimes for directing a laser pointer at aircraft.The red-light cameras authorized in Nassau County in 2009 and a year later in Suffolk County will be used for at least another five years under the new laws pushed by Assemb. Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead) and Assemb. Edward Hennessey (D-Medford). Supporters say they promote safety. The cameras also generate millions of dollars in cash for the counties.

A report this year found revenue from red-light camera tickets in Suffolk County dropped 24 percent in 2012 as motorists became more aware of cameras at dozens of intersections.

Suffolk received $9.76 million in 2012 from 208,648 tickets, down from $12.9 million in 2011.

Nassau received $26.1 million in revenue from the cameras in 2011. That was a 75 percent increase from 2010, the year after they were authorized.

The law that aims to educate youth about problem gambling comes as New York is greatly expanding casinos and video-slot machine centers to create jobs and raise state and local tax revenue. The New York Council on Problem Gambling found 86 percent of youths under 18 years old had bet on one or more types of legal gambling and 15 percent bet every week.

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Much of this gambling is on state gambling operations such as numbers games, scratch-off games and video Quick Draw games. But adolescents were also found to have bet on horse and dog races and in a casino, the new law's legislative memo says.

"Educating youth on the very real issue of problem gambling is simply good policy and, as an agency that promotes responsible gaming, we fully support this measure," said Lee Park of the state Gaming Commission.

Another bill signed into law by Cuomo makes directing a laser pointer at an aircraft a Class A misdemeanor or, if the laser forces a pilot to change course or endangers passengers, a Class E felony. The Federal Aviation Administration said there were 2,836 reports of lasers being pointed at aircraft in 2010, an increase of 185 percent from 2009.

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