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State Legislature

Wednesday’s Headlines: Good for You, Governor Edition

12:05 AM EDT on September 1, 2021

Photo: Darren McGee / Governor’s office

How about that! Gov. Hochul called the state legislature into what the papers called an "extraordinary" special session (NY Post, NY Times, amNY). By "extraordinary," of course, everyone means, "It's only extraordinary because state lawmakers are only expected to work from January until early June." In other words, not extraordinary at all.

Hochul says the extra session (which begins on Wednesday) is about pot and evictions — worthy topics! — but we also have a laundry list of life-saving bills that we (and Hank Gutman!) want the legislature to pass. You know, all the stuff lawmakers failed to pass earlier in the year (it's a long list, so strap on your helmet):

    • Sen. Jessica Ramos’s bill (S2757B) to allow for wider cargo bikes (it has only passed the Senate). The bill is seen as critical for companies such as Amazon, UPS and DHL that hope to start a cargo bike delivery revolution, but cannot do so with the current limitation. The bill stalled in the Assembly.
    • The Idaho Stop bill (S920A/A3104) was not voted on in either house. Allowing the so-called “Idaho Stop” is seen as a key safety measure because it would allow cyclists to stay in front of turning cars at intersections. Syracuse Sen. Rachel May drafted the bill citing its success in other states.
    • Sammy’s Law (S524/A4655) passed the Senate, but did not make it to the Assembly floor. The bill is named after 12-year-old Sammy Cohen Eckstein, who was killed by a reckless driver in Brooklyn in 2013. This bill was just one of eight in the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act that failed to pass both houses. The package also featured legislation to require motorists to give cyclists room when they pass, create a new way of rating car safety, make it easier to prosecute reckless drivers, lower the acceptable blood-alcohol level, and improve driver education.
    • Here's the bill that Gutman has been pushing for: S5602/A6681 would authorize the city to operate school zone speed cameras 24-7-365.
    • Manhattan Senator Brad Hoylman’s bill (S00077/A00579) would have allowed the city to use its monitoring systems to patrol areas where illegal street racing take place. So far in 2021, there have been 1,247 reported 311 complaints, more than eight per day, on illegal drag racing. All of last year, there were 2,007 instances reported to 311, about five per day.
    • Brooklyn Assembly Member Michael Tannousis’s bill (A6921) to permanently revoke a driver’s license for failure to take a field sobriety test also failed to get out of committee. Currently, refusal to take a breath test results only in a one-year license revocation and $500 fine.

And Hochul doesn't need a special session for S4943/A6235B, an already passed bill by Sen. Alessandra Biaggi and Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas to give cyclists a voice on an MTA bridge panel. She can just sign it.

In other news from a slow day:

    • The historic Sunday night subway meltdown — which started with a split-second ConEd blip but cascaded into a disaster — deserves a second day of analysis. Guse of the Newsuh led the pack.
    • Car carnage in Brooklyn. (NY Post)
    • It's all over but the shouting at the Grand Prospect Hall. (Gothamist)
    • And finally, our old man editor really ramped up the outrage machine with a Queens Assembly Member's plan to turn a park into (wait for it!) a parking lot. It was our most-read story of the day yesterday, so why not see what all the fuss is about?

Like we said, slow. On the plus side, today is the day that the city DOT will consider allowing more autonomous vehicles to be tested on the streets of this town. Wait, wut? More autonomous vehicles? Clearly you missed our eye-opening story earlier this month.

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