Bronx lawmaker demands domestic violence laws change after News 12 investigation

A News 12 investigation that exposed loopholes in the state’s domestic violence laws has caught the attention of a Bronx lawmaker who is now demanding change.
Laura Panek, a newly retired nurse, spoke out for the first time publicly in the “No Way Out” series.
In Panek’s case – despite the fact that her ex-husband tried to kill her and is now in prison – her divorce ended with a judge forcing her to pay him $810 a month out of her pension.
Bronx Assemblywoman Karine Reyes says Panek’s stories resonated with her.
The freshman Democrat is a nurse who also says she survived an abusive relationship.
After watching Panek’s story on News 12, Reyes decided to take action, becoming the primary Assembly sponsor of a bill that would force a judge to factor in a batterer’s criminal history during matrimonial proceedings.  Currently, this is discretionary.
 "I think this isn't something that can't be left up to interpretation," says Reyes. "This is definitely a priority for me. I think that particularly, thanks to stories like the ones you put together, the bill has gotten some traction and some publicity and I think this is going to help us move it forward sooner rather than later."

Reyes says the bill should be called Laura’s Law.
The bill Reyes is hoping to pass was first introduced by state Sen. David Carlucci, of Rockland County. It is currently in committee.