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Miller fights back against sex offender bill criticisms

State Assemblyman Michael Miller (D-Woodhaven) said an attack launched against him by a supporter of his primary opponent, Nick Comaianni, on a sex offender bill he sponsored was full of inaccuracies and denied claims that the legislation was watered down due to concerns from special interest groups.

Farouk Samaroo, who co-founded a Democratic club with Comaianni, said in a letter sent to TimesLedger Newspapers that the bill, which would require employers who hire workers who supervise or come into contact with children to run a sex offender check on prospective employees, is a “complete fraud.”

Miller’s campaign said, “Nick Comaianni’s campaign supporters should be ashamed of themselves for criticizing a bill that will protect New York’s families and children. It is a shame that Mr. Comaianni has resorted to negative campaigning and baseless attacks, which is an insult to the families of Queens.”

Comaianni said he had nothing to do with Samaroo’s statement.

Samaroo claimed the first version of the bill would have required the check to be done by all businesses, but was changed June 15 to just businesses whose workers deal with children because Miller raised “tens of thousands of dollars from his new Albany lobbyist and special interests friends.”

Campaign finance records showed Miller raised $15,000 from corporate donors and about $11,000 so far from individuals.

“It’s not like [Miller’s] getting massive corporate dollars at all,” a source with Miller’s campaign said.

The source said the bill has bipartisan support and no businesses were lobbying against the legislation.

Samaroo also claimed the bill would only affect 1 percent of businesses in the state, but he could not be reached to find out where he got that statistic.

Miller’s campaign said the bill was amended not because of special interests, but because it was “too expansive legislatively to make it work out.”

“The bill was still very vast in its scope. This was the best bill they could come up with and it’s still a groundbreaking bill,” the source said. “As far as where Farouk got the 99 percent thing, I honestly don’t know. I think he pulled it out of thin air. Farouk’s two main points, both are completely on their face invalid.”

Under the bill, which is currently in the Assembly Codes Committee, employers who do not run the sex offender registry check would be fined up to $100.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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