Added risk on the road
What is New York Governor Cuomo thinking ? With the pressing issues of tax relief, infrastructure and ethics reform needing legislative attention Cuomo turns away and is looking to legalize marijuana for recreational use as a top priority in the current legislative session. Apparently he has enough support in the state Assembly and Senate to make it law. This is what makes a big splash in newspaper headlines but certainly demonstrates the governor's misalignment of priorities.
Once this law takes effect, do they know what will happen ? Of course Cuomo and his lawmaking cohorts know the problems that will arise. They know the Mary Jane law will be violated. Human nature tells us people will abuse the use of marijuana, get euphorically high and drive under the influence to the point of impairment. On the road these irresponsible people will put fellow motorists at risk as well as themselves. So now responsible drivers have this worry along with facing drunk drivers, texting drivers and motorists who constantly have cellphone to ear. Legal clearance for the use of cannabis is just another hit on the chin of public safety.
So why have this law on the books ? It's simple. It's a tragic tradeoff; profit at the expense of public safety. Cuomo and colleagues see dollar signs; a sales tax revenue windfall from a potential weed-producing multi-billion dollar industry. This is the paramount reason behind the law.
Of course as time goes on and cannabis-causing traffic deaths mount a new MADD ( mothers against drugged driving ) will form. This is all so sad.
Governor Cuomo and supporters will sugar-coat this law and describe it as PROGRESSIVE. That is hogwash ! Those who have a modicum of clear-eyed common sense and oppose the law will accurately label it as PERMISSIVE. New York state is both figuratively and literally going to pot. I pray our state doesn't all go up in smoke !
As a woman I applaud Assemblyman Colin Schmitt in his opposition to the recent Reproductive Health Act. No matter what side of the abortion debate you sit on this bill was simply wrong.
RHA legalized late term and partial birth abortion up to the moment of birth, allows non-medical doctors to perform abortions, and deletes for law protections for pregnant women against violent acts
Assemblyman Schmitt was one of the only legislators from our area to oppose the bill and take a stand for women. The direction this state is heading is troubling to many but it gives me great comfort to know there are people in Albany like Colin who will work tirelessly to be the voice of common sense individuals.
During the campaign season, you often hear a lot of empty promises coming from the mouths of candidates that are just trying to win your vote. Many of the representatives that were recently elected certainly fit into that category. I am relieved to say that my recently elected Assemblyman, Colin Schmitt, was not one of those candidates. On the campaign trail, he vowed to the residents of the 99th Assembly District that if elected, he would hit the ground running on day one. Just by following his activity for his first month in office, I am proud to say he has done just that. Assemblyman Schmitt has already been fighting for our local governments, introducing legislation that would provide real property tax relief, and has co-sponsored bills that have already been signed into law as a freshman Assemblyman! His energy and drive is incredible, second to none, and it’s a refresher for this entire area to have a true fighter up in Albany. Everyone inside and outside of his district should be happy that we have his voice representing us.
Schmitt on Second Amendment
I am writing to thank Assemblyman Colin Schmitt for defending our 2nd amendment rights in Albany.
Governor Cuomo is hell bent on infringing on our basic rights as Americans-- and it is great to see our Assemblyman is standing up to him.
The beliefs held by many in Orange County deserve a voice and to be defended, with Colin Schmitt we can count on that time and time again.
While reckless politicians vote to attack our rights, including those who said they would stand with us, Colin stood by his word.
Thank you Assemblyman Schmitt for having our back and doing the right thing.
Is anyone under the illusion that governmental regulatory agencies protect the public?
The Nestlé Corporation recently requested permission from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to increase water extraction by 60%. Despite "deep public opposition" (public comments ran 80,945 against, 75 in favor), the department concluded that the company's plan met with "legal standards".
The DEQ’s source water supervisor, Matt Gamble: The agency can't say no, "even if the vast majority of the public wants them to."
What was the point of gathering public comments? To show that public opinion doesn't make any difference to the DEQ? Point proved!
Mr. and Mrs. Suter? Mrs. Suter worked for FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission....Mr. Suter, a former FERC employee, moved on to work for the gas industry. The "Mrs." approved a project connected with a company her husband worked for. Sweet.
The Connecticut DEEP, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection? In 2005, the Christian Science Monitor reported that Connecticut was the "tailpipe of the Northeast."
Did anyone in the Environmental Protection Department panic? Did anyone say "Holy Cannoli", we've got to do something radical?"
Apparently not. In 2018, Connecticut was still the "tailpipe of the Northeast". 7 of 8 CT counties still have American Lung association "F" rated air.
I know what my revolutionary war ancestors did when confronted with a government that didn't represent them. Of course, they were radicals, firebrands, revolutionaries. They threw private property into Boston Harbor(!) and progressed from there. I wonder what they would do about governments that permit its people's water to be stolen, and their air poisoned?
Reproductive Health Act: Anti-Woman
For all you New Yorkers out there who have heard about the upcoming Reproductive Health Act (RHA) and think you are in favor of it, I want to briefly outline a few points that it entails:
RHA will make it legal for any healthcare practitioner to perform an abortion, not solely a doctor, and it does not have to be in a hospital. RHA will remove a woman’s right to prosecute for a forced, illegal abortion. RHA will permit abortion through all nine months of pregnancy and even after birth, should the child survive during an abortion procedure and be born alive. RHA redefines the term “health” for a reason to abort and broadens it to include age, economic and emotional factors, not actual “health” conditions.
You do not have to be prolife to oppose this act. It is taking away women’s rights along with that of the unborn. The goal of RHA is to “prevent the enforcement of laws and regulations that burden abortion access.” It will ultimately free anyone involved from accountability for what happens. Thousands of women and babies will suffer unheard as a result.
Please call your NYS Assembly representative: (518-455-4218) or Senate (518-455-2800) and stand for women’s rights against RHA. New York lives are depending on it.
To read the act yourself, visit: nyscatholic.org/2019/01/abortion-expansion-act.
Stop tobacco sales in pharmacies
As of January 1, 2019, New York City joined Rockland, Albany and Erie counties in prohibiting the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies. Pharmacies are a key link in the healthcare system, that often provide services like immunizations, screenings, wellness programs, clinics, and educational events. The availability of tobacco products in these same pharmacies minimizes the health impacts of tobacco, and chips away at the reputation of our local pharmacies as a trusted partner in wellness.
In pharmacies that continue to sell tobacco throughout the state, tobacco product displays take up an average of 50 sq. feet, equaling more than 300 cigarette packs on display for our community’s youth to view. This gives youth an impression that tobacco products are both easily accessible and acceptable, priming them for a dangerous and often lifelong addiction.
Removing tobacco from pharmacies can also encourage current users to quit. When CVS voluntarily ended the sale of tobacco products, total cigarette purchases in states where CVS holds significant market share declined by one percent, and smokers who purchased their cigarettes exclusively at CVS were up to twice as likely to stop buying cigarettes entirely.
A study by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, shows that over 75 percent of New Yorkers support tobacco-free pharmacies. Additionally, the Pharmacist Society of New York passed a resolution to support banning the sale of tobacco in pharmacies, while communities in California and the State of Massachusetts have successfully ended the sale of tobacco in pharmacies for good. The Hudson Valley and New York State should follow this lead in removing tobacco sales from pharmacies, in hopes that the New Year is truly happy and healthy for our neighbors.
Carissa H. Mazzeo
Reality Check Manager for POW’R Against Tobacco
Proud to Serve with Joe Maloney
The recent decision by the county ethics board against Legislator Joe Maloney is nothing short of retaliation for his diligence in pointing out corrupt like behavior. Through Joe’s extensive research he has brought to light the massive amount of donations to the County Executive from those getting contracts and those getting tax pilots worth millions of dollars. There is no proof in a pay for play scheme but it certainly has an unhealthy smell.
The County Board of Ethics has all members appointed by the County Executive. They were handed complaints against Legislator Joe Maloney that were drawn up by the county attorney that serves at the pleasure of the County Executive. The complaints were then carried through by a hand picked attorney. The complaints and findings have played out in the press. Meanwhile the Ethics Board has not released complaints filed against two other legislators from people other than the Executive. (I know these complaints exist because I was copied by the complainants.)
The board did things procedurally that are beyond questionable and are unacceptable. It is also questionable if they have the legal right to impose the kinds of punishment that they presume in this decision when it comes to an elected office and that's without taking into consideration the numerous conflicts by members of the board itself such as significant donations by members of the board to the county executive as well as close relationships that would warrant them to recuse themselves from such hearings.
In regard to the facts, Joe Maloney voted on a contract that was negotiated by the county executive and the CSEA Union and was unanimously supported by the 23 member legislature for the approximately 1000 employees. The fact that a legislator with a relative in the CSEA Union may vote on CSEA contracts is an exception for a conflict of interest under state law since they do not negotiate or take part in the negotiations seemed to be ignored by the Board. During my 26 years on the legislature I witnessed various legislators with CSEA relatives voting on these routine contracts repeatedly with no impunity. It is part of their fiduciary responsibility. Like Joe Maloney, they did not take part in the negotiation of the contract nor had any say in its particulars. This was ignored by the board’s findings.
Prior to the bogus Ethics Board’s findings, Joe and I put forth a resolution to change the way the Ethics Board was chosen which would have had an impact on these members. Rather than the Executive appointing all members, we called for more elected officials taking part in the appointment process to assure a more fair approach. The resolution passed the legislature but was vetoed by the County Executive. The Ethics Board brought this resolution as part of its charges but decided not to add it to the final report, perhaps realizing their findings would smell to much like the retaliation it actually was.
I can honestly say in my tenure with the Ulster County Legislature I have not worked with a freshman legislator with more energy, work ethic or dedication to bring about honest and transparent government than Joe Maloney. For that work the county executive has accused him of being misogynistic for questioning a female department head for including raises to employees that were not in the budget, he was called a clown for openly questioning a policy many disagreed with and now the county ethics board has been used to further the attack his integrity.
Have we not seen enough bullying and intimidation tactics at all other levels of government? We must stand and say not in my back yard. I am proud to stand with Joe Maloney.
City of Kingston Legislator
Ulster County Legislature
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