ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Utilities and their labor unions are asking New York lawmakers to make it a felony when anyone attacks utility workers.
They say the legislation is necessary as a deterrent particularly for those in the field restoring lost power, who are at high risk of violence.
Advocates say similar laws have been enacted in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Utility Labor Council says the workers are vulnerable to crime also because they work outdoors at all hours and enter crime-ridden areas and buildings.
The council says some have been assaulted, shot, stabbed and robbed of the money in their pockets.
The bill passed the Senate last year.
It would apply to anyone covered by state public service law, which includes electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, cable and broadband services.