Chelsea Now: Food and Fun in Chelsea at the National Night Out Against Crime

BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC, August 8

The temperature, like the chicken being grilled, was sizzling — but the mood was buoyant at the annual National Night Out Against Crime on Tues., Aug. 7.

The event — a way for the police and the community to come together — was held locally by Chelsea’s 10th Precinct, and took place at the Fulton Houses on W. 17th St., between Ninth and 10th Aves.

“I think it’s great for the community,” said Jennifer Beeks, 35, who has been living at the Fulton Houses for three years. “It gives the children a chance not to be fearful of the police.”

Press wrap-up: RAND study confirms NY Health expands coverage, net savings

A new report by the RAND Corporation finds that the New York Health Act single-payer bill would cover all New Yorkers while generating a net savings.  More information can be found here; the full report here; and a summary here.

The report has generated widespread press coverage including:

PRESS RELEASE: RAND study confirms NY Health expands coverage, net savings

RAND CORPORATION STUDY CONFIRMS: NEW YORK HEALTH ACT “COULD EXPAND COVERAGE WHILE REDUCING TOTAL HEALTH SPENDING”

Think tank concludes: New York Health would cover all New Yorkers with net health care savings

Bill sponsors Senator Rivera and Assembly Member Gottfried will continue to push for the passage during the next legislative session

            State Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, sponsors of the New York Health Act in the New York State Legislature, welcomed the findings of a study of the bill by the highly-regarded, independent, non-profit RAND Corporation. The study confirms that New York Health would reduce total health care costs, while increasing spending on actual care rather than administration and insurance company profit; provide full health coverage to every New Yorker; save substantial money for almost all New Yorkers; and generate a net increase in employment due to increases in disposable income.

NY Times: It Wasn’t a Crime to Carry Marijuana. Until the Police Found a Loophole.

By Benjamin Mueller,  August 2

It was the 1970s, and marijuana raids and mass arrests had been sweeping college campuses and suburban concert venues in New York. The crackdown outraged parents. There was talk of ruined reputations and “Gestapo” police tactics.

State legislators in 1977 devised what they took to be a simple fix: a bill that made carrying small supplies of marijuana a ticket-worthy violation, not a crime. To win enough votes from Republicans, the authors carved out an exception that said it was still a crime to carry marijuana “open to public view.”

The bill’s backers thought the addition was harmless enough, given that people did not usually take out their stash in front of the police anyway. The era of mass arrests for carrying around marijuana seemed to be over.

City & State: Gottfried’s Janus Workaround Reopens Labor Debate

By Max Parrott, July 10

When information leaked to the Empire Center, a fiscally conservative think tank, that Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, a Democrat from Manhattan, was planning to sponsor legislation that would reverse the effects of the Supreme Court’s recent Janus decision limiting the power of public sector unions, it swiftly attacked the bill as unconstitutional.

The Janus ruling on June 27 held that public sector unions cannot force employees covered by collective bargaining agreements to pay membership dues. Five days later, Gottfried circulated a memo to members of the Assembly summarizing his proposal, which would allow unions to collect reimbursement for the costs of collective bargaining from the state rather than from employees who opt out through agency fees.

Absent an intervention like Gottfried’s, the Janus decision will start draining funds from unions. Last week, it was reported that the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, announced it will cut its budget by $28 million.

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision, which was split along the usual conservative-liberal dividing line, ruled that the government cannot compel employees to support collective bargaining because to do so infringes on the free speech rights of anti-union workers.

NY Post: Dem lawmaker has “workaround” to SCOTUS unions decision

By Nolan Hicks, July 4

New York’s most senior Democratic lawmaker is proposing an end-run around a US Supreme Court ruling that could cost the state’s powerful public-employee unions more than $100 million a year.

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), a longtime labor ally, plans to introduce legislation that would allow unions to include collective-bargaining costs in their contracts with government agencies to replace the mandatory fees banned under last month’s Janus v. ­AFSCME ruling.

“I would call it a workaround,” said Gottfried, who has served for 50 years in Albany. “I don’t think there’s a lot of logic to the Janus decision to start with, but New York state — in our Constitution and law — has long recognized that public employees have the right to collectively bargain.”

WCBS Newsradio (audio) – NY Assemblyman Gottfried has plan to circumvent SCOTUS union dues ruling

(Audio in link) – July 5, 2018

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/CBS News/AP) — A U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued last week will make it more difficult for unions to collect dues from people who do not want to pay.

Now, a New York state lawmaker has a plan to circumvent the decision.

“I think this is about fundamental fairness,” said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan).

The Villager – Gottfried and O’Donnell: Combat Opioids with Pot

By Sydney Pereira,  July 26

Manhattan assemblymembers hope medical marijuana can help curb the state’s opioid crisis. Two recent bills aim to increase access to medical pot to reduce the abuse of the potentially deadly painkillers.

One bill, from Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, has passed both the state Senate and Assembly; it would add substance use disorder to the list of conditions legally treatable by medical marijuana, plus would allow the use of medical pot in place of opioids for pain management. Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell’s legislation would add opioid use disorder as a condition treatable by medical marijuana. O’Donnell’s bill passed the Assembly in early June.

Young Turks: Single-Payer Health Care Advances in New York

WNYT: 11-year-old girl lobbies for medical marijuana (w/ video)

June 19

ALBANY – Her name is Haley Hilt. She’s 11 years old — and she’s been suffering epileptic seizures since she was an infant.

“Haley is one of the medical marijuana success stories,” says Haley’s mother, Melissa.

When medical marijuana was legalized in New York four years ago, Melissa says her daughter’s seizures were reduced by 75 percent.

“Haley no longer has to suffer through three hours of car drives in order to get the medication she needs that has improved her quality of life significantly,” Melissa says.