Capitol Watch: New license plates; no e-cigs in schools
By DAVID KLEPPER
Jul. 29, 2017
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — In New York state government news, motorists will soon see four new license plates on the roads and electronic cigarettes are now banned in schools.
Meanwhile, Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is returning to the North Country for the latest leg of his upstate tour.
A look at some new state laws and what's coming up:
NEW LICENSE PLATES
Four new specialty license plates will soon be available — with three for veterans.
Veterans of our nation's most recent military conflicts may choose new plates that say "Veteran of the Iraq War" or "Veteran of the Afghanistan War."
Members of AMVETS, meanwhile, will be eligible for a plate bearing the name of the veterans' service organization, also known as American Veterans.
The fourth plate will bear the words "Appalachian Trail" and will be available to any New York motorist.
Designs for the plates have not yet been released.
NO MORE 'SMOKIN' IN THE BOYS' ROOM'
One new law immediately bans the use of electronic cigarettes in all schools in an effort to discourage students from smoking.
The Legislature also passed a bill this year that would ban e-cigarettes in all restaurants, businesses or other locations where traditional cigarettes are banned. That measure awaits action by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who signed the ban on e-cigarettes in schools on Tuesday.
HONORING FALLEN TROOPER, GUARD
Two new laws will honor a state trooper and a state Capitol night watchman who died while on duty — though a century apart.
One measure signed by Cuomo will name a bridge on Interstate 87 after Trooper Timothy Pratt, a 55-year-old Air Force veteran who was struck and killed by a vehicle last year while assisting a truck driver.
The other directs the state to install a plaque memorializing Samuel Abbott, a 78-year-old Civil War veteran who died in the great 1911 fire that devastated the state Capitol in Albany.
HEASTIE RETURNING TO NORTH COUNTRY
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie's summer tour of upstate continues this week with a visit to Plattsburgh.
The Bronx Democrat plans to tour two local manufacturing facilities, including the Bombardier plant that produces rail cars for New York City's subway. He'll also meet with college students receiving financial assistance and academic support through the state's Educational Opportunity Program.
On the way to Plattsburgh Heastie, who has been known to quote Mr. Spock during discussions of state policy, plans a stop in Ticonderoga to see a replica of the Starship Enterprise set from the original Star Trek television series.
The Speaker has already traveled to Syracuse, Rochester and the Thousand Islands. He completed a similar survey of upstate New York two years ago after his election as Speaker.
Heastie says the trips help him better understand the challenges faced by each region of the state.