Tuesday, 16 May 2023 17:29

OP ED: Assembly Democrats Block Republican Measures on Public Safety, Mental Health & Health Care

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OP ED: Assembly Democrats Block Republican Measures on Public Safety, Mental Health & Health Care Supplied photo

Assembly Democrats today rejected dozens of Republican bills across various committees, preventing common-sense measure from reaching the Assembly floor for a vote.

In multiple committee meetings, Democrats voted to block a wide range of proposals in areas such as public safety, mental health, education and health care.

“The political games being played by Assembly Democrats are standing in the way of a better New York. Republicans present positive, sound bills that can help various communities and millions of people, but they continue to be blocked by the obstructive politics of one-party rule,” said Leader Barclay. “For example: New York faces a massive nursing shortage, but Democrats block a bill to bring more nursing students into the profession. Just yesterday, we recognized Legislative Disability Awareness Day, but today Democrats rejected a measure to build more accessible playgrounds for disabled children. It’s clear their priorities on public policy aren’t where they need to be.”

The following bills were blocked in committee:

  • Nursing Scholarship Increase (A.3372, Jensen) – Increases the total awards of the Senator Patricia K. McGee nursing faculty scholarship program.
  • “Everyone Can Play” (A.3263, Jensen) – Establishes a grant program to help local governments invest in and build accessible playgrounds and recreation facilities.
  • Health Care Peer Support Program (A.3702, Manktelow) – Enacts the “Health Care Worker Peer Support Program” to provide grants to eligible entities for the purpose of establishing peer-to-peer mental health programs for health care workers.
  • Foreign Land Purchase Protection (A.5301, Slater) – Prohibits the acquisition of real property by actors known to the US State Department to be of “particular concern.”
  • Mental Health Professional Loan Forgiveness (A.6151, Blumencranz) – Establishes a loan forgiveness program for licensed mental health professionals working in New York’s jails and prisons.

The following criminal justice bills were among those blocked in committee:

  • Enhanced Penalties for Domestic Violence (A.3385, Gallahan) – Increases penalties for those who repeatedly commit crimes against members of tehri family or household. Requires courts, when determining recognizance or bail in cases of domestic violence, to consider certain factors which could lead to intimidation or injury by the principal to the victim or witness.
  • “Paula’s Law” (A.4661, McGowan) – Prevents the parole of anyone who sexually assaults and murders a child under 18 years of age.
  • Increased Penalties for Gun Crimes (A.4222, Mikulin) – Provides for an additional five-year term of imprisonment for committing a felony while possessing a loaded firearm.
  • Risk Assessment (A.5169, Tannousis) – Restores judicial discretion relating to bail reform, and provides that when the defendant is charged with a felony, the court shall request of the applicable county pretrial services agency that a risk and needs assessment be conducted.
  • Three Strikes & You’re In (A.5557, Brabenec) – Authorizes a sentence of life in prison without parole for persistent violent felony offenders.

“Assembly Democrats have no interest in preventing crime or protecting innocent New Yorkers. That’s been shown over and over,” Leader Barclay said. “What’s the last bill they’ve passed that actually reduces crime, supports crime victims or increases penalties on offenders? Blocking Republican efforts to improve public safety is hardly surprising. Democrats are more focused on things like erasing criminal records, letting more felons out of jail and limiting the ability of judges to hold lawbreakers accountable for their actions.”

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