Guest Op-Ed: New laws will benefit community


            January 1 marked the start of a promising new year full of prospects for meaningful change. It was also the day many new state laws took effect that I helped implement as your representative in the state Assembly.

Below, I have highlighted some of these new laws that will benefit southwest Brooklyn families by growing our economy, strengthening our business climate and keeping our community healthy and safe.

With an eye toward spurring economic growth and creating jobs, I supported a law creating the START-UP NY program that establishes tax-free zones where new businesses can partner with New York’s colleges and universities to develop innovative products and offer state-of-the-art services to our community. START-UP NY will encourage businesses to plant roots in New York, create jobs and reinvest in our local economy.

The Assembly is also working to ensure that families across New York State remain healthy. New laws which will promote greater public health include:

  •  “Hannah’s Law,” which helps people with certain possibly life-threatening conditions by requiring health insurance plans to cover enteral formulas that provide vital nourishment, regardless of how they  are administered;
  • Requiring hospitals and health care providers to offer hepatitis C testing to baby boomers;
  • Ensuring hospital patients are informed about whether they are being “observed” or “admitted,” a difference which severely impacts health insurance reimbursement rates; and,
  • Requiring birthing facilities to perform pulse oximetry screenings that can detect critical congenital heart defects in newborn babies.

Additionally, I’ve been working to pass laws to make our community safer. An important provision of the NY SAFE Act will take effect this month. This requires all commercial sellers of ammunition to register with the state police and perform background checks on anyone attempting to purchase ammunition.

Background checks of ammunition purchasers will begin 30 days after the superintendent of the New York State Police certifies the statewide database is ready. The certification has not yet occurred, so there is no set start date at this time.

Together, these new laws represent important steps forward. They will improve our economy and help keep our families healthy and our neighborhoods safe. In addition, I look forward to working with my colleagues further to better the quality of life for the families of Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Bath Beach.

As always, if you have questions about these laws or any other community issue, please feel free to contact my community office at 718-236-1598 or

Assemblymember William Colton represents the 47th A.D.

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