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JERRY KASSAR
JERRY KASSAR

The New York State Senate approved S2410 on Monday, May 8.  Sponsored and written by State Senator Marty Golden (whom I serve as Chief of Staff) the legislation is known as the Criminal Street Gang Enforcement and Prevention Act.  

Gang violence is a growing problem in New York City with several well publicized incidents catching the public’s attention. On Long Island the notoriously violent MS-13 gang has been linked to a number of grisly murders.

The legislation for the first time legally defines criminal street gangs in New York’s penal statues, giving prosecutors more options when charging offenders.  Penalties are increased and new felonies are created for individuals who benefit from gang activity, participate in gang activity, and recruit youth or adults to participate in gang activities.

As part of the legislation, a new Criminal Street Gang Prevention Fund would also be established and schools would be required to consult with the State Division of Criminal Justice Services on model curriculum focused on gang violence prevention.

Senator Golden, a former police officer, said the legislation “will work to prevent the formation of gangs as well penalize them, track them and educate about the dangers of them to youth so the dangers they cause on our streets can be eliminated.”

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I was pleased to see House passage of the Obamacare repeal. Obamacare has failed.  Plans are limited and in some states, few are even available.  The more inclusive plans are incredibly expensive and the tax burden on companies, directly on higher earners and indirectly on everyone else, are prohibitive.

The original objective was to provide coverage for the few Americans who had no coverage.

Obamacare did accomplish this objective but at too high a financial cost and with limitations on care that could be easily avoided when plans were simply negotiated and purchased on the open market.

The replacement proposal is far from perfect. New York State would need to adjust by changing regulations, mandates and possibly its own health financing.  That would be something the Governor and Legislature will need to consider.  Maybe New York does not need the gold standard in Medicaid.  Possibly we should not be spending more per person on Medicaid than any other State in the nation by not a little, but by a lot.

The new language goes to the United States Senate where it is certain to go through significant changes before it goes back to a Joint House/Senate Conference Committee.

House passage was a first step. An important step. And I thank the seven out of nine New York State Republican Congress members who voted for its passage.

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The Brooklyn Conservative Party will be hosting a Meet and Greet of New York City Mayoral candidate Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis  on May 17 at 7:30 pm at the John Hughes Council of the Knights of Columbus, 1305 86th Street in Dyker Heights.

The Conservative Party will also be holding its annual Tax Freedom Day celebration. Tax Freedom Day in New York State was May 11.

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