Maher, Bipartisan Group of Legislators Urge Passage of Melanie’s Law

Bipartisan bill would extend orders of protection to members of a household regardless of age

Assemblyman Brian Maher (R,C-Walden) joins Assemblyman Anil Beephan, Jr. (R,C-East Fishkill), Sen. Rob Rolison and others to urge the passage of Melanie’s Law, which would allow courts to issue orders of protection for immediate family members or household members of a named victim regardless of age (A.6026). Current law only allows orders of protection for the victim and minors in a household. Other relatives cannot be protected by these orders.

“Domestic violence doesn’t just impact one person; it affects an entire family. It then only makes sense to extend orders of protection from violent people to an entire household. Having provided an order of protection to Melanie Chianese could have helped save her life by keeping away her killer, the same man who was harassing her mother,” said Maher. “I hope bipartisan support for this bill can grow so we can get this passed by the end of the legislative session.”

The bill is named in honor of Melanie Chianese who was murdered by her mother’s abusive ex-boyfriend Paul Senecal. At the time, Melanie’s child and her mother were the only ones able to receive orders of protection against the man. Increasingly after the breakup between her mother and Senecal, he had begun stalking both Melanie and her mother. Things later escalated to him viciously killing Melanie. He was on probation and averted GPS monitoring at the time. In April 2023, he was convicted and sentenced to life without parole.