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before the state senate adjourned for the rest of the summer, the chamber passed three bills sponsored by local legislators.

state sen. tom duane's family health care decisions act will allow a patient's family member, domestic partner or close friend to make health care treatment decisions once that individual has lost decision-making capacity.

"this is vitally important legislation that protects those who are incapacitated and powerless," said duane in a statement.

the bill, which was approved unanimously by the senate on july 17, is now pending in an assembly committee.

meanwhile, assembly member linda rosenthal celebrated the passage of legislation designed to stem violence against women. the first bill prohibits the state from forcing victims of domestic violence to contact their abusers in order to receive state services. the other allows social services districts to inform those applying for public assistance that they may receive information regarding sexual assault.

both bills, passed by the senate and the assembly, are waiting for gov. david paterson's signature to become law.

"the two bills will help to ensure that victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse receive the help and support that they deserve," said rosenthal in a statement.

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