Assembly bill A-1434B passed the assembly but failed in the senate where the sponsor of the companion bill saw the same defects we complained about to the assembly sponsor. So the matter is set aside.
Another misconceived idea became law as logic and legislation collided. Mentioned here, somewhat cynically, is the plan for generation of 50% of electricity by renewables by 2030 and 80% by 2050. The numbers are interchangeable, flexible, variable and perhaps not even real numbers. We debated this about 6 years ago with NYSERDA to keep it out of the State Energy Plan, but wind and sun and weeds are inexorable forces so we now have a law to require these goals and bench marks but with some off ramps.
Currently the NYS ISO buys power from the grid from Exempt Wholesale Generators from sources previously regulated and owned by utilities. The “mix” is to be skewed toward renewables if enough can be found, if not, well see off ramps. Renewables are wind, solar, biomass, nuclear and hydro.
The end of session occurred early in the morning of June 21, as the legislature considered several issues on which they campaigned with support of interest groups that gave the democrats a majority in the senate.
The legalization of marijuana, a fervent goal of purveyors, morphed into de-criminalization and served up an example of triangulation.
NY and several other state either have legalized medical marijuana, as New York has, or allow recreational use. The NYS senate leaders complained that Governor Cuomo was not doing enough to corral senators in sufficient numbers to pass legislation in that house where opposition is building from groups like police chiefs, rank an file police union members, the PTA’s and the NY Medical Society. At least these groups are expressing concern about negative impacts of open usage shifting the argument away from the facile acquiescence to changing societal preferences as the justification for recreational use that until now has been the sole selling point. The purveyors of the latter approach have been effective in deflecting the criticisms you’d expect from parents, teachers and doctors arguing it is no different from using liquor (that ought to comfort parents), or policing its use drains police, court and prison resources. When the question, why parents would want their kids on maryjanne, was put to the still beautiful Colleen, she replied “it’s the parents who want it”.
The triangulation employed by the governor is even more nuanced than merely supporting some of the ideas of opponents. He has written to Congress suggesting changes to federal law, that because marijuana is illegal at the federal level, banks are barred from financing companies that are legal purveyors of medical marijuana and by parity of reasoning, recreational where it is legal or may become legal. He has it both ways, it is the feds (Trump?) blocking legalization not him not doing enough. That is as good as I tried it but did not inhale by the master of psycholinguistics, presidential candidate Bill Clinton. But as the grass fight continued senate dems could not gather enough votes to overcome reluctance by newly elected senators from Long Island who fear the wrath of the unconverted constituencies. The political view is recreational use is dead for this and next year when aforementioned dems from Suffolk, Nassau, and Hudson Valley counties will face heretofore republican districts.
The views that MJ is a gateway drug, that it affects young brains adversely, that second-hand smoke is a negative externality, that it may conceal the use of stronger, illegal and more potent substances, seem to have faded in the haze. But perhaps such discussions of grass are too vague, so this pithy observation from the purveyor of marijuana paraphernalia: “Marijuana justice is equity. Marijuana justice is criminal justice. Marijuana justice is repair and investment into our communities.” He favors it, me thinks.
Mr. Cuomo, according to senate and other critics, had been not doing enough to pass legislation allowing illegal aliens to have licenses to drive. Mr. Cuomo has, perhaps disingenuously, pointed out driver records would provide a road map to the feds looking for illegals, even though he has expressed support of their cause proclaiming he is an immigrant, too. He did manage to overcome his angst and sign the law.
The legislature has renewed and enhanced rent control benefits, that had been set to expire June 14th. Such laws are no more than price controls that lead to shortages of rental housing disproportionately affecting lower income families. Cities like San Francisco and NYC have rent controls, low vacancy rates, high rents and a homelessness problem. Cities like Dallas have a 20% vacancy rate and no controls and low rental prices. The problem with price control laws is the longer they are in place the greater the constituency for continuation and the greater the dislocations getting rid of them. And the new law will allow upstate jurisdictions to impose rent control laws of their very own. Rent control laws are a vestige of WWI resource allocation problems that shifted materials to war production and away from consumer goods resulting in fewer housing units and higher rents. Post war pent-up demand would have corrected the shortage but alas, the depression, shortages of credit, and WWII price controls made it even more difficult to undo rent control.
Now onto some really tough problems: what to do about pesky toddlers or their parents who’d like to skip kindergarten? Some children may be at the younger range of kindergarten eligibility or may be emotionally vulnerable or so their parents may think.
Tough, the legislature rules: get those unruly tikes off their floors, take their toys and put the fear of the educational lobby into them. I asked my then very young niece how she liked school, expecting smiles and stories: “I don’t like it; they don’t let you play and they yell at you all the time”. This is clearly an invitation to higher more teachers and strengthen the education lobby and make at least some toddlers unhappy.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins presented a rational, sincere and eloquent explanation of “the farm bill” extending bargaining rights and work rules to farm workers heretofore barred from organizing but now enabled by a court decision to allow bargaining, work rules, etc. The bill had been resisted for years by farmers in mostly republican areas so party line votes kept the bill under wraps until the new democrat majority. The agriculture business is substantial but the bill may shift production to other states or countries. It also means dues for the AFL/CIO who will negotiate the CBA’s with the labor department and Farm Bureau. Higher prices for food, fewer farm workers, more mechanization? But a rising Consumer Price Index (CPI) induces people to substitute cheaper foods for those with rising prices so the impact may be minimal.