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Cuomo looking at a multitude of bills

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been given 48 bills to consider as the Thanksgiving holiday nears.

Receiving the most publicity throughout the year is A.4739/S.8817, which would prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution of food packages in which PFAS chemicals are present in any amount.

PFAS’s, or poly and perfluorooctanoic acids, are associated with health problems such as thyroid disorders and cancers. PFAS chemicals have been highly utilized in various industries because of their ability to repel oil and water. They’ve been manufactured since the 1940s and can be found in Teflon nonstick products, stains and water repellents, paints, cleaning products, food packaging and firefighting foams.

The legislation passed the Assembly 118-23, with Assemblyman Joe Giglio, R-Gowanda, voting yes and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, voting no. The bill passed 48-12 in the state Senate, with Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, voting against it.

Goodell said long-chain PFAS have already been banned voluntarily by industry and in 2016 by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Other states, Goodell said, have also considered similar bans but have given the industry more time to find safer alternatives than the New York legislation does.

“(The FDA) also recognized there are over 5,000 chemicals or forms of this chemical,” Goodell said. “Not all of them are dangerous. So with 5,000 variations, they’ve eliminated all the long-chain ones, they recognize those as dangerous, but they haven’t thrown out the entire class. Nor has the EPA nor have any of the experts in our own DEC nor have any of our experts in the Health Department. So once again, while I really appreciate the expertise of my colleague, we are being asked to ban 5,000 variations of this component when none of us are doing those scientific studies or analyzing the cost benefit on all 5,000 without the FDA indicating that all 5,000 need to be banned or the DEC or our own Health Department, yet by legislative fiat we are removing all of these compounds. That’s a concern.”

Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, D-Albany, said more than 2,000 businesses supported the PFAS ban through the New York Sustainable Business Council, which repeatedly said there are plastic-free, tree-free and PFA-free alternatives available to replace those that use PFAs. She said cleaner water will also help the craft beverage industry, which has begun to grow statewide.

“Again, this is a bill that has been a couple of years in the making to ban PFAs which is a group of approximately 5,000 man-made chemicals that are used for waterproofing or creating non-stick surfaces, “ Fahy said. “Underneath that class of PFAs have included PFOAs and PFOSs, which we know have had significant and quite serious carcinogens that have polluted our water in a number of places and we’re spending millions if not billions cleaning that up. This class in numerous studies have showed very very troubling health concerns, including cancer, including decreased vaccine responses, cholesterol levels as well as decreases in birth rates.”

Other bills under consideration by the governor include:

¯ A.3330/S.3679A, which establishes a real property tax exemption task force to examine the real property tax exemption laws and to recommend changes, if any. The legislation passed the Assembly 140-1, with Goodell and Giglio both voting in favor, and 43-19 in the Senate, with Borrello voting against.

¯ A.5390/S.4580C, which amends the Vehicle and Traffic Law to no longer require a motorcycle license to drive an autocycles, three-wheeled motor vehicles that are widely available in New York state. The legislation passed the Assembly unanimously and the Senate 59-1, with Borrello voting in favor.

¯ A05605/S.5959D, which amends the Civil Rights Law to establish establishing the right of publicity and to providing a private right of action for unlawful dissemination or publication of a sexually explicit depiction of an individual. The legislation also creates a right of publicity for deceased individuals, including the ability of using technology to create digital replicas, and a registry to publicly post such interests upon thereby giving notice to people who may seek to use an individual’s right of publicity in New York State for advertising purposes, or for the purposes of trade. In addition, this bill addresses the ability of technology to create digital replicas for sexually explicit materials and makes regulations regarding their use. The legislation passed the Assembly 140-1, with Giglio and Goodell both voting in favor, and passed the Senate unanimously.

A.7104/S.3873, which authorizes and directs BOCES throughout the state to establish a young farmer apprentice program students. The bill passed the legislature unanimously. Legislators wrote that the programs may help recruit young farmers into the agriculture profession.

¯ A.7498/S.5421, which adds licensed massage therapists to the list of authorized providers of workers’ compensation. Injured employees can only be reimbursed for massage therapy services on an ad-hoc basis, with some workers’ compensation carriers allowing it and others denying it. The legislation would add licensed massage therapists to the list of authorized providers and would allow an injured employee to receive reimbursement for massage therapy services. The legislation was approved 134-8 in the Assembly with Giglio and Goodell both voting in favor while the Senate approved the bill 57-3 with Borrello voting in favor.

¯ A07970/S.6533, which requires the video recording of interrogations of juveniles in juvenile delinquency proceedings in Family Court. The legislation was approved 116-26 in the Assembly, with Giglio voting yes and Goodell voting against. The Senate passed the bill 50-8 with Borrello voting against.

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