Taking Stock of Albany’s 2019 Destructive Legislative Session.

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Among others, Bob McManus, contributing editor of City Journal and E.J. McMahon writing for the Empire Center agree that New York’s just ended state legislative session represents a triumph of the left. In part, how so!

The lawmakers, and in particular progressive Democrats, dealt heavy blows to property rights and the rule of law, trial lawyers picked up a few juicy plums, violent criminals enjoyed a break, and aspiring charter school children caught a thumb in the eye. On the positive side, it is now illegal to declaw cats in New York. Thank goodness for small mercies. More specifically:

Governor Cuomo just signed the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act that repeals virtually all incentive for current landlords to maintain their properties—or for investors to build new ones.

Under a deluded mandate to end all carbon emissions the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act was signed into law now requires reductions in statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 60% of 1990 levels by 2030. Separate provisions of the law –address environmental justice and toxic air pollution impacts on disadvantaged communities, all to be supervised by the Department of Environmental Conservation, heretofore well known for blocking new pipelines into New York.   

The legislature thumbed its collective nose at federal immigration policy and public sentiment by approving the issuance of drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens.

According to Albany County District Attorney David Soares, meaningful criminal justice reform fell by the wayside with input from police, prosecutors, judges ignored. As a result (1) prosecutors will now be required to provide the names, telephone numbers and addresses of all witnesses to crimes within 15 days of arraignment – all but inviting the intimidation of victims and witnesses,  (2) the law no longer requires cash bail in cases of minor arrests associated with the sale of fentanyl and opioid’s by traffickers, and (3) the bill may allow a burglar who breaks into our homes released back into our neighborhoods.   

The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act was passed requiring insures to cover over-the-counter contraceptives, provide a 12 month’s supply per refill, and wave cost-sharing for sterilization procedures;  striking union members will now be allowed to collect unemployment insurance benefits, and last but not least, the governor and the legislature agreed to borrow and spend another $1.2 billion on capital projects, including (yet) another $385 million or their favorite capital pork barrel slush fund.  

This is not a complete account of the legislature’s activities. History suggests that additional damaging legislation has been hidden away from public scrutiny.  So, don’t be surprised at surprises. The legislature’s ebullient leaders—and an uncharacteristically muted Andrew Cuomo—say that they’re just getting warmed up. Best to believe them.

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