Common Sense: The good and the bad

Two pieces of legislation sponsored by our local Conservative Party-endorsed state senators that I thought might be of interest to my readers are S3241 by State Senator Simcha Felder and S2410 by State Senator Marty Golden (whom I serve as chief of staff).

Felder’s bill, supported by Golden, which passed the State Senate and is being considered by the Assembly, prohibits the requiring of a permit to sing the national anthem or recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Can you imagine it has come to this point in some parts of our state? We need legislation to guarantee an environment in which two of the best known symbols of our freedom can be freely spoken.

Regardless, the Felder legislation would put an end to the desires of some radical official who has gone one step to far in creating the need for a permit before the national anthem can be sung or the pledge recited. It’s a good and necessary bill and I hope passes the Assembly.

The Golden bill is an anti-gang crime bill that would likely have put Jose Gonzalez, the killer of EMT Yadira Arroyo, behind bars and kept him there years ago. The bill is sponsored in the Assembly by the dean of the Brooklyn delegation and Codes Committee Chairperson Joe Lentol.

The bill essentially does the following. If an individual can be identified as a member of a gang – and Gonzalez through his own admission, the admission of others, certain crime activity and identifying tattoo marks known to be gang-identifying symbols — arrests for less significant crimes such as misdemeanors and class E felonies are elevated significantly, reducing the likelihood that a judge would release such an individual and, upon conviction, a higher likelihood that the defendant would do some serious time.  Bail could still be offered but there would be grounds for it to be high and, in some cases, bail might not be offered.

Gonzalez had a long arrest history and a number of convictions. They were apparently all for misdemeanors, although some were related to gang-sponsored crimes. Judges continued to deal with him as a minor offender because there is no three strikes, you’re out law (another Golden bill) and/or an anti-gang law on the books.

The Golden/Lentol bill goes further than the three strikes, you’re out bill and would have likely caused Gonzalez to be considered, as a gang member, a more significant offender, and caused him to be held in jail awaiting trial.

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I must say I was disappointed in Congressmember Donovan’s announced intent to vote against the Obamacare repeal. After all, it was one of the three or four issues that defined the 2016 election. And, I can say for certain, it was a key issue for the Brooklyn Conservative Party which I chair. The party’s position on this bill was well-known, having been articulated by State Chairperson Mike Long many times, as well as appearing on the party’s website and in this column.

Of course, Speaker Ryan did a poor job in managing the bill and the conservative Freedom Caucus deserves its share of the blame but Dan should have supported it.

He is too comfortable allowing himself to be portrayed as a moderate. As you can imagine, this would concern me and I suspect it would concern many of the better than 10,000 voters in Brooklyn and Staten Island that voted for him in 2016 on the Conservative Party line.

The repeal bill was in no way the most conservative possible, but it was a start. And, frankly, all indications are that Dan’s objections were not coming from the right but a bit more from the left. Of course, he is entitled to his opinion, but as a party leader for 40 years this June, I think I have a need to also give him mine.

In any event, I believe the best we can hope for is tinkering with the present law. That is hardly a reform and will, after much more pain, probably after several years, result in Obamacare imploding anyways.

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