Capitol Watch: Tankers on the Hudson, tick trouble
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — In New York state government news, a new law aims to protect the Hudson River amid a rise in oil tanker traffic and a legislative report calls for greater action on tick-borne illness.
A look at stories making news:
The 2017 legislative session may have ended months ago but Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is still working his way through a long list of bills. Several were recently signed into law.
One new law authorizes the creation of “tanker-avoidance zones” on the Hudson River to restrict where oil tankers can anchor. The idea emerged after the U.S. Coast Guard proposed 10 anchorages along the Hudson for tankers traveling between Albany and New York City. Environmental groups as well as residents objected, raising safety and environmental concerns.
“An increase in petroleum tankers would pose a direct threat to coastal fish and wildlife, local drinking water, the safety of waterfront communities and economic development in our beautiful region,” said Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, a Hudson Valley Democrat. “This is truly a victory for everyone who voiced their opposition to the Coast Guard’s ill-advised proposal.”
Another bill signed by Cuomo last week gives all children in foster care the right to ask to visit their siblings.
A third new law will add electronic cigarettes to the state’s indoor smoking ban.
Earlier this month Cuomo signed legislation outlawing elephant performances at circuses and carnivals.
A state Senate committee has released a report detailing the growing health threat posed by ticks.
Titled “Ticking Time Bomb,” the report details the need for greater action to address the blood-sucking pests and assist those New Yorkers struggling with tick-borne illness.
The report lays out recommendations including greater funding for tick testing, prevention and educational programs — and possibly even research into treatment for the long-term complications of Lyme disease. New York has the nation’s third highest number of confirmed Lyme cases.
“This is a serious public health issue across the state,” said Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome. “My colleagues and I in the Senate have been actively working to reverse this trend. I am looking forward to making even more progress in the days and months ahead.”
— The Assembly’s health and corrections committees will hold a joint hearing Wednesday focusing on health care services in the state’s prisons and jails. The lawmakers will meet in Albany.
— Sen. David Carlucci will host a community forum on identity theft Wednesday in New City. Carlucci, a Democrat, led a hearing this fall that looked at the recent Equifax breach, which exposed data of 145 million Americans, including 8 million New Yorkers. Carlucci is calling for greater regulations on credit monitoring firms following the incident.
— Several lawmakers will take part in events commemorating the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. Sen. James Sanders, of Queens, will join a “remembrance and recovery walk” that includes a moment of silence as well as emergency preparedness training led by representatives from the U.S. Army.