Editorial Roundup: New York

Auburn Citizen. June 29, 2022.

Editorial: Don’t rush legislation at NY special session

Gov. Kathy Hochul has called for a special session of the state Legislature on Thursday aimed at addressing the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that invalidated the state’s long-on-the-books law limiting who can carry concealed firearms in public.

Specifics on bills that lawmakers could consider were still being hashed out as of Tuesday morning, but some press reports have said measures would likely include increased training requirements for permit holders, limits in certain high-risk public places and giving private businesses the legal authority to prohibit weapons on their property.

These measures would follow a series of gun control measures the Legislature passed at the end of the regular session, but before the high court’s ruling. Those bills included steps to strengthen the state red flag law aimed at keeping guns out of hands of people who have demonstrated they could be a danger to themselves or others, as well as age limits on assault weapons purchases.

We’ve long championed sensible restrictions on firearms that preserve law-abiding citizens rights to own and use them while providing reasonable public safety protections against deadly violence. To a large degree, the new measures coming out of Albany appear to fit that description.

But there has been an important missing piece to these new efforts — consultation with the law enforcement officials who will be tasked with enforcing new measures. While the reaction to whether these new laws are needed could be mixed within the law enforcement community, we’re certain there’s one issue in which there’s likely strong agreement. There is a need for more financial resources to ensure enforcement can be done consistently, fairly and without taking away from other aspects of law enforcement work.

We urge lawmakers to build the funding question into their deliberations this week, and as part of that, bring in law enforcement leaders to share their perspectives.

The mass shootings and Supreme Court ruling have brought urgency to this issue in New York state, but if that results in flawed legislation that does little to address the problem and ends up being thrown out in court, the effort will have been wasted.

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Albany Times Union. June 27, 2022.

Editorial: Ms. Rosa, get tough

Don’t just “hope” school districts will stop using Native American mascots. Mandate it.

Cambridge Central School District has lost its court appeal to keep its “Indian” mascot and team names, and state Education Commissioner Betty Rosa says she hopes the ruling will prompt other school districts with Indigenous team names and logos to do the right thing and voluntarily change their mascots.

That would be great. But it’s not going to happen.

Ms. Rosa argues that “there is a climate right now, a momentum and an opportunity to look at these issues of social justice.” We don’t disagree that for many Americans, the past few years have brought a reckoning with issues of equity and identity. But for others, that reckoning has fueled anger, entrenchment, hyperpoliticization, and deep community division. If the state is committed to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, then hoping school districts follow those values isn’t enough.

As she did with Cambridge, Ms. Rosa needs to put other districts on notice that if they don’t meet a deadline to choose a new mascot, their state aid will be in jeopardy.

That means no more Averill Park Warriors and no Mechanicville Red Raiders. No Oriskany Redskins or Canandaigua Braves. No Fonda-Fultonville Braves, or Saranac Chiefs, or Schoharie Indians. Or Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Indians or Mahopac Indians. In Old Forge’s Webb Union Free School District, no more Eskimos. In all, about 60 New York school districts have Indigenous mascots or team names. Every one of them needs to change, and it’s the job of the state Education Department to make them do it.

In fact, in many communities, a state order likely would make the change go more smoothly. It could take some pressure off of local school officials and sidestep the vitriol and bitterness that pitted neighbor against neighbor in Cambridge.

The state has been “asking” districts to stop using Indigenous mascots for 20 years. Stop asking. Start telling.

Sweet, but sour

Unexpected money is mighty tasty -- who doesn’t like finding a fat, juicy check in the mailbox? A little harder to swallow, though, is when the check arrives on the verge of an election – and comes with an incumbent’s name on it.

In the state budget highlights that Gov. Kathy Hochul published in early April, she told New Yorkers to expect the onetime Homeowner Tax Rebate Credit checks in the fall. But here they are, just in time for the gubernatorial primary. What’s more, the check comes with a note that begins, “Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature are providing you this Homeowner Tax Rebate check that you can use to help pay your property taxes.”

The governor’s office says it’s inflation that prompted them to hustle the checks out the door. That may be, but when President Donald Trump did something similar with pandemic “economic impact payment” checks – printing his name on them – critics accused him of grandstanding on the back of a crisis and of trying to take credit for a lifeline thrown to families hurt by the shutdown. No matter who does it, no matter what party they’re in, such political showboating leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

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Dunkirk Evening Observer. June 27, 2022.

Editorial: NEW YORK STATE Passing the buck to caregivers

Legislation to lessen the mandatory overtime worked by area nursing home nurses — and possibly lead to penalties paid by nursing home owners — is awaiting Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature.

The bill hasn’t yet been presented to the governor, but A.8874/S.8063 passed both houses of the state Legislature as the legislative session came to a close. In our opinion, Hochul should veto the bill.

That doesn’t mean it’s OK for nurses to work an endless series of double shifts each week. Nursing is a valuable profession in our society, but nurses should be able to have a life outside of work. Lessening nurses’ overtime is a worthy goal.

Medicaid reimbursements haven’t paid for minimum levels of care for quite some time. Then, in April, state regulations passed by the legislature in 2021 requiring at least 3.5 hours of care per resident per day took effect. That bill — which is the subject of a lawsuit — forces nursing homes to either hire additional workers or decrease their number of residents. The state’s decision to limit overtime by nurses places many nursing homes between a rock and a hard place while balancing over the Grand Canyon on a piece of flimsy string.

The triple-whammy with which the state is hitting health care providers will end up hurting patients and the elderly. Some providers are using overtime to avoid hiring additional employees, but others legitimately can’t find workers and can’t provide basic care without nurses working overtime.

If New York was serious about protecting workers and residents, the state would have increased the Medicaid reimbursement for nursing home residents so that nursing homes could afford to hire more employees and offer a higher starting wage to attract more workers. Legislators did not choose that option. Instead, they made a bad situation worse with yet another regulation that makes life harder on nursing homes and which could make life worse for the senior citizens living in our nursing homes.

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Jamestown Post-Journal. June 27, 2022.

Editorial: A State Power Grab Disguised As A Protection Of Voter Rights

The goals enshrined in the newly-signed John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York are goals we should all share.

Polling places should be located in such a way that everyone has an equal opportunity to vote. There should be equal numbers of voting machines at each polling site. Those who are eligible to vote and need translation help should have that help. No one should intimidate or obstruct someone of any color who is trying to exercise their right to vote.

On these things we should all be able to agree.

But there is disagreement between Democrats and Republicans in the state Capitol over the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York — and it’s easy to understand why. The biggest issue with is a familiar one in New York right now — removing power from local governments and consolidating it either in the hands of the state or courts. The so-called Independent Redistricting Commission ended up blatantly throwing the drawing of district lines into the hands of legislative leadership and then the courts because a deadlock was always bound to happen. Local concerns over green energy projects — which likely would happen regardless of local opposition — are muffled by state laws to speed up the approval of wind and solar projects at the expense of local public comment and debate. Isolation and quarantine rules currently the subject of a legal challenge similarly place more power over who is isolated during a disease outbreak into the hands of the state at the expense of local health officials. Now, a voting rights act has been passed that places great power over the way local representation is designed in the hands of courts even in areas where there is no history of discrimination.

“This bill says we don’t care what your intent is. I’m not just making that up or summarizing — it says evidence concerning the intent of the parties or of the intent of the voters or the elected officials cannot be considered,” Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, said on the Assembly floor.

Making sure minority communities have equal access to voting is an important goal. But much of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York is yet another Albany power grab at a time when trust in Albany is pretty low.

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New York Post. June 29, 2022.

Editorial: Albany’s never-ending tax hikes are now backfiring — big-time

Albany’s never-ending tax hikes seem to be backfiring: Some 300,000 city residents, who as a group earned $21 billion in 2019, fled as the pandemic broke out — and many cite high taxes as a key reason.

As The Post reported Wednesday, Internal Revenue Service data based on tax filings show that the mad dash for the doors that year represented the largest loss of income in city history, twice the amount lost in an average year over the past decade.

Statewide, high-income New Yorkers (those making over $200,000) represented a larger share of those leaving (10.7%) than in any other state, per data from the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon — who also sounded the alarm over the exodus in The Post last week. Manhattanites who moved to Palm Beach County earned, on average, a whopping $728,351 each.

True, some of the moves were temporary as the pandemic ran its course; some who skedaddled have already moved back. And not everyone left because of high taxes: Crime, homelessness, quality of life, bad schools, the cost of living and even the weather might have prompted some people to pick up stakes.

Albany’s never-ending tax hikes seem to be backfiring: Some 300,000 city residents, who as a group earned $21 billion in 2019, fled as the pandemic broke out — and many cite high taxes as a key reason.

As The Post reported Wednesday, Internal Revenue Service data based on tax filings show that the mad dash for the doors that year represented the largest loss of income in city history, twice the amount lost in an average year over the past decade.

Statewide, high-income New Yorkers (those making over $200,000) represented a larger share of those leaving (10.7%) than in any other state, per data from the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon — who also sounded the alarm over the exodus in The Post last week. Manhattanites who moved to Palm Beach County earned, on average, a whopping $728,351 each.

True, some of the moves were temporary as the pandemic ran its course; some who skedaddled have already moved back. And not everyone left because of high taxes: Crime, homelessness, quality of life, bad schools, the cost of living and even the weather might have prompted some people to pick up stakes.

The irony couldn’t be more obvious: Greedy progressives in Albany think they can endlessly hit up the rich for ever-higher taxes yet wind up driving those very people clear out of state — and getting zero tax dollars from them in return. Trouble is, if they manage to push out all of the wealthy, who’ll fund their extravagant budgets?

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