Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move May 9, 2016

News Site Brooklyn

 Schumer Warns Against Exploding E-Cigarettes

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

On the heels of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announcing it has full authority to regulate e-cigarettes, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer yesterday warned about a serious problem involving exploding e-cigarettes, which have caught on fire, and have burned and injured scores of individuals, including individuals in New York.

Schumer said that over the past few weeks, at least four New Yorkers, including two teens, have been seriously injured by exploding e-cigarettes. Despite these dangers, there have been no product recalls or new defective warnings issued on e-cigarette products. Schumer now wants the FDA to investigate exploding e-cigarettes and determine what, if any, actions might be required to prevent these explosions from occurring.

“It’s bad enough that e-cigarettes cause nicotine addiction and may be dangerous to a person’s health, but now it seems they’re doubling as a ticking time bomb,” said Schumer. “Now that the FDA has asserted full regulatory oversight over e-cigarettes, the agency should use this authority to investigate whether these repeated explosions require a recall or more warnings. We cannot turn a blind eye to the dangers of exploding e-cigarette devices, especially when many of the injured are teens. The FDA should determine whether these vaping devices are flawed and require a recall if necessary, to make sure these explosions stop.”

More than 2.5 million Americans are using e-cigarettes and that number is growing. E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that are designed to resemble traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes contain a mechanism inside the device that heats up liquid nicotine and turns it into a vapor that smokers then inhale and exhale.

Squadron Continues Push To Close LLC Loophole

Sen. Daniel Squadron
Sen. Daniel Squadron

State Senator Daniel Squadron (Northern Brooklyn) and State Senator Todd Kaminsky, State Senators Brad Hoylman and Liz Krueger, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, Citizen Action NY, Common Cause/NY, League of Women Voters of NYS, NY Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), and Citizens Union today will urge passage of Squadron’s bill to close the LLC Loophole (S60B/A6975C-Kavanagh).

The bill allows LLC’s to skirt state campaign finance laws, which has given developers and other deep-pocketed donors the ability give essentially unlimited campaign donations to state politicians. Squadron used a Motion for Committee Consideration to force a vote on the bill at today’s Senate Elections Committee.

Squadron has repeatedly highlighted the urgent need to close the LLC Loophole, as well as the lack of Senate movement on ethics reform in the state budget process or this session.

Squadron will hold a press conference on the issue at 12 noon today in the State Capitol Building, 3rd Floor, Glass Doors in front of Senate Chamber, Albany.

Thompson Creates Young Adult Court Bureau

District Attorney Kenneth Thompson
District Attorney Kenneth Thompson

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson last week announced the creation of a Young Adult Bureau that will operate in the newly-formed Brooklyn Young Adult Court, in partnership with the Office of Court Administration and the Center for Court Innovation.

The new specialized court – the first in New York State – will handle all misdemeanor cases of defendants between the ages 16 and 24, offering risk-needs assessments, counseling and services tailored to the specific requirements of that particular age group, including substance abuse, mental health, anger management, GED, vocational and internship programs.

“Young adult offenders who enter the criminal justice system are at a higher risk of re-offending after being incarcerated.  Many return to our society, not rehabilitated, but as hardened criminals,” said Thompson. “Recognizing that, our Office, in partnership with the Center for Court Innovation, applied for a grant and created a specialized Brooklyn Young Adult Bureau that will offer young misdemeanor offenders who may be facing incarceration the appropriate help and services they may need to help set them on the right path and avoid a prison sentence.”

The Brooklyn Young Adult Court (BYAC) will begin operations at a dedicated court part in Brooklyn Criminal Court, located at 120 Schermerhorn Street. It will be presided over by Judge Craig S. Walker, under the leadership of Supervising Judge Michael Yavinsky and the overall supervision of Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks and will handle cases involving defendants between the ages of 16 to 24 who are charged with misdemeanors, with an eye toward expanding to low-level felonies in the future.

Funding for the BYAC was provided through a Smart Prosecution grant of $425,000 awarded last fall to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and the Center for Court Innovation (CCI) by the United States Department of Justice to create and operate the first Young Adult Court in New York State, with the only other similar model in the country located in San Francisco.

Hikind Takes Stand Against Nickel Grocery Bag Fee

NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind
NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (Borough Park) urged New Yorkers to rally fellow elected officials behind an effort to terminate a five-cent grocery bag fee that passed in the City Council on Thursday, 28-20.

The legislation, which will take effect on Oct. 1, would require certain retailers to charge a fee for each carryout bag, paper or plastic.

“This motion to charge consumers a nickel for their grocery bags is an unfair tax on hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” Hikind said. “Not only will this fee further complicate our lives even more, it will also tremendously burden the store owners.”

Supporters of the bill insisted the five-cent fee would encourage shoppers to use reusable bags, thus reducing the number of plastic bags New Yorkers throw away annually and argued that the five-cent charge wouldn’t be considered a tax since it would go directly to the store owner.

“If it looks like a tax, smells like a tax and acts as a tax, then it’s a tax,” Hikind argued. “This is just one more thing New Yorkers have to worry about. Grocery shopping, especially in New York City, can be hectic, and this will add to the chaos. As customers, we will now have to worry about having our reusable bags handy every time we go to the supermarket. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Sen. Simcha Felder (Borough Park, Midwood) and Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-State Island) recently proposed legislation that would prevent New York City from imposing this fee.

Civic Clubs & Organizations News

Madison-Marine-Homecres Civic Association – The next meeting is slated for 7:30 p.m.,  Thursday, May 19, at the Carmine Carro Community Center in Marine Park, 3000 Fillmore Ave., at Marine Parkway/Madison Pl.

Discussion will center on neighborhood parks, especially Marine Park, and also Kelly Park, and plan to present information about: update ongoing construction/planned improvements, safety /crime, programs (including current and “wish list”), and any issues or suggestions that attendees might raise.

Invited representatives include from the Parks Dept., NYPD, Marine Park Alliance, Millennium Development, along with City Councilmembers Maisel, Deutsch, and Van Bramer (Chair of Council’s Cultural Affairs Committee).

The Bergen Beach Civic Association is holding their annual installation affair at 8 p.m., tomorrow May 10 at the Hudson River Yacht Club, 2101 Bergen Avenue (just off Avenue T). 

The civic association will be swearing in their officers, including their president, longtime Thomas Jefferson Club member Mike Benjamin.  All are welcome to attend.