Tag health committee

Gay City News: Legal Pot Movement on Two Fronts This Week

By Nathan Riley, October 19

The Albany County district attorney made an impassioned plea for taxing and regulating the sale of marijuana to adults at a State Assembly hearing October 16, saying ending the war on pot is a logical next step in the process that began in 2004 with the repeal of the draconian Rockefeller era drug laws.

David Soares, who is also the president of the New York State District Attorneys Association, said there is disagreement on this issue within that group but that “several” DAs had similar views. Soares has intensively studied Colorado’s example as the first state to permit adult use of marijuana and emphasized that the new tax revenues from legalization must restore “vulnerable” communities where residents have been arrested by the tens of thousands while pot use by white New Yorkers was overlooked by law enforcement.

“Real Courage,” he told a joint hearing of several Assembly Committees on adult use of marijuana, is about addressing the “aftermath” of the war on drugs, winning the peace with a plan for “reconstruc­tion” of neighborhoods unsettled by mass incarceration. Simply closing the illegal market for pot could have grim consequences; dealers could replace what is on their shelves with opioids.

“If you don’t recycle the money, you’re buying yourself a bigger problem,” Soares warned.

Proposed legislation creating a tax and regulate system provides for community reinvestment. Sponsored by Manhattan Democratic Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Buffalo Democrat, the measure creates a marijuana revenue fund from tax receipts — net of administrative and oversight costs — that would funnel 25 percent to the State Education Department, 25 percent for drug treatment and public education, and 50 percent for community reinvestment.

Specific regulations implementing the legislation would be drafted by a new bureau in the State Liquor Authority, which was established in 1933 to create from scratch a system of legal liquor sales following the repeal of Prohibition. The SLA would repeat this mission by licensing and managing the production and sale of legal marijuana.

A cornerstone of the SLA is a system favoring small business ownership of retail outlets, Krueger told a conference, also held October 16, organized by Capalino+Company, which is recruiting clients that would benefit from a regulated market. Under this approach — which represented a persistent theme touched on at the event that drew roughly 200 people — residents of low-income neighborhoods would be given an opportunity to go into business as retail sellers of legal marijuana.

Billed as the “Cannabis Summit: Developing a Sustainable Cannabis Economy in New York,” the Capalino event featured a keynote addresses by Melissa Mark-Viverito, the former City Council speaker who is now a senior official at the Latino Victory Fund, and Melissa Moore, the deputy state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a leader in the movement to end drug prohibition.

Krueger’s bill would permit people with marijuana convictions to petition for a review of their criminal justice records. Marijuana convictions complicate the abiity of some to access jobs and scholarships for which they are otherwise qualified.

In his hearing testimony, Soares strongly supported this objective, saying, “We must work to seal and reclassify” previous convictions and “move from stigma to opportunity.”

Krueger voiced particular pride that her bill would respect New Yorkers who object to second-hand smoke. Tenants in smoke-free buildings would be prohibited from smoking pot at home. Doctors, she said with a sly grin, believe that inhaling a burning leaf of any kind is dangerous.

Soares — responding to questions from the Assembly panel chaired by Dick Gottfried from Manhattan, the Health Committee chair, Joe Lentol from Brooklyn who heads the Codes Committee, and Manhattan’s Linda Rosenthal, chair of the Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse — devoted a lot of time to addressing the risks of drivers being stoned. Currently, the police bring charges as soon as they smell pot, but with legalization that trigger would disappear. The Albany prosecutor said police would have to be trained in drug detection, and if a reliable blood test were developed police labs would need additional funding. He recommended that anyone refusing a blood test have their license suspended.

In any discussion of plans for legalizing pot, Krueger acknowledged, the elephant in the room is a proposal from Governor Andrew Cuomo that is likely to be part of the budget he unveils next year. The governor’s wishes would hold center stage in Albany.

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.

El Diario: Vientres de alquiler al banquillo en Nueva York

By Pedro Frisneda, May 24

Las leyes que rigen los “contratos de madres sustitutas”, conocidos más popularmente como “vientres de alquiler”, son muy antiguas, estrictas y punitivas en el estado de Nueva York.

Por esta razón, miembros de los comités de Salud y Judicial de la Asamblea estatal de Nueva York realizaron una audiencia pública este jueves para analizar estas leyes que datan de casi 30 años atrás.

En 1992, el estado de Nueva York aprobó el Artículo 8 (Secciones 121-124) de la Ley de Relaciones Domésticas, que establece que los “contratos de crianza sustituta” con compensación (pago a la mujer que queda embarazada) son contrarios a la política pública de este estado, y son nulos e inaplicables.

Este artículo fue promulgado luego de un caso judicial muy publicitado y polémico en Nueva Jersey, conocido como “Baby M”, el cual involucró a una mujer casada que firmó un contrato por $10,000 con una pareja casada por el que aceptó quedar embarazada a través de inseminación artificial. El acuerdo estipulaba que, luego de nacer el niño, ella renunciar al mismo para entregarlo a la pareja. Sin embargo, después del nacimiento, la mujer se negó a renunciar al bebé.

Aunque originalmente un tribunal de primera instancia de Nueva Jersey decretó que la mujer cumpliera con lo exigido en el contrato de subrogación, una apelación ante el Tribunal Supremo del Estado Jardín declaró “inaplicable” el contrato frente a la política pública de ese estado.

Por antecedentes como éste, los participantes en la audiencia pública, encabezada por los asambleístas Jeffrey Dinowitz y Richard Gottfried, examinaron las formas en que la práctica de la maternidad subrogada o vientre de alquiler ha cambiado desde la aprobación de la prohibición estatal de los contratos de subrogación compensados en 1992.

Chronogram: Can New York Pull Off Single-Payer Healthcare?

By Wendy Kagan, June 1

About 10 years ago, when she was 44, Eve Madalengoitia had a hunch that something was wrong. She was experiencing concerning symptoms of the lady sort, and her doctor said it’s probably nothing, but let’s get you an MRI to be sure. At the time, she was working as a consultant from her home base in Poughkeepsie, writing grants and fundraising for nonprofits; her husband was a self-employed artist. They didn’t have health insurance. The expense of an MRI (ballpark $2,600) was so daunting that Madalengoitia convinced herself that her symptoms were nothing to worry about. She was young and healthy, wasn’t she?

A few months later she got insurance through a new job, so she went ahead and scheduled the exploratory test. Soon after, she received some news that no one expected. “I had aggressive, high-grade uterine cancer, which was not common in women my age,” she says. “I needed immediate surgery, chemo, and radiation.” Thankfully, her insurance paid for it, and now she is NED (no evidence of disease). But she is keenly aware of the what-ifs. “Without health insurance, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the test and the cancer would have spread,” Madalengoitia says. “I wouldn’t be here to tell my story.”

CBS Radio: NYS Bill Would Make It Easier For Parents To Opt Out Of Vaccines Over Religious Objections

May 31, Audio here.

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Vaccines for public school students are required in New York state, unless parents claim the shots violate their religious beliefs.

As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, the bill would make it easier for parents to receive a religious exemption. They would just need to sign an affidavit.

New York state Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) wants people to be vaccinated, and he understands some parents might make up a religious objection.

But he said, “I think that’s the price you have to pay for respecting peoples’ claim of a religious belief.”

But Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at NYU Medical School, said, “I think we don’t need that legislation right now.”

He worries that vaccine rates in certain districts will go down.

“The problem is with diseases like measles, you’ve got to get up to rates like 90, 95 percent to protect the whole population,” Caplan said.

He said students who are vulnerable would be put at risk.

The vaccine bill was before the state Senate Health Committee on Thursday.

Crain’s: Poll shows majority of New Yorkers support aid-in-dying as Assembly holds public hearing

By Jonathan LaMantia, May 4

While the state Assembly health committee heard hours of testimony on Thursday for and against a bill to allow doctors to help terminally ill patients end their lives, a new poll was released that showed the majority of New Yorkers favor such medical assistance.

The Quinnipiac University poll  of 1,076 New York state voters showed 63% support “allowing doctors to legally prescribe lethal drugs to help terminally ill patients end their own lives.” State voters who attend religious services weekly were the only demographic group that opposed the concept. They opposed the concept 61% to 34%.

Under the bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale), patients must make an oral and a written request, signed by two witnesses. Then two physicians must determine that the patient has the mental capacity to make the decision. If one or both of the doctors think the person lacks the mental capacity, a mental health professional will be called in to make the determination. A terminal illness is defined as one that will “within reasonable medical judgment, produce death within six months.”

Six states and the District of Columbia have passed medical aid-in-dying laws, including Oregon, which has had its law for 20 years.

Public Hearing – Opioid Overdose Reversal Drugs

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

SUBJECT:  Opioid overdose reversal drugs: assessing and improving access to and availability of drugs to prevent opioid overdose deaths.

PURPOSE:  The purpose of this hearing is to examine access to and availability of opioid overdose reversal drugs, such as naloxone, and to identify, if necessary, means by which to expand access and availability statewide.

New York City
Thursday, May 17
11:00 A.M.
Assembly Hearing Room
19th Floor
250 Broadway

Opioid antagonists, such as naloxone, are potentially life-saving prescription medications used to reverse overdoses caused by heroin and opioids. New York State has made progress expanding access to naloxone and similar drugs. In 2006, New York State passed a law authorizing non-medical personnel to administer naloxone to individuals who seek it. A 2014 law expanded this to allow the prescribing, dispensing, and distribution of opioid antagonists by a non-patient specific order. In addition, many first responders now receive training to administer naloxone.

AM New York: New York’s physician-assisted suicide bill debated at State Assembly Committee on Health

By Anne Erhart, May 3

The State Assembly Committee on Health heard testimony from 48 people on Thursday regarding a bill allowing medical aid in dying, or physician-assisted suicide.

The bill would allow for terminally ill patients with a prognosis of six months-or-less to live to take a “cocktail” of drugs to end their life. It would also allow them to pick up the “cocktail” up from their pharmacy once approved by two doctors and confirmed by two independent witnesses.

New York’s proposed legislation is modeled on Oregon’s medical aid in dying bill, which has been in place since 1994. The legislation is known as “assisted suicide” by its opponents, and is currently legal in seven total states and the District of Columbia.

Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers support allowing doctors to legally prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients, according to a poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University.

ABC 7: New York lawmakers hold hearing on physician-assisted suicide (w/ video)

By Dave Evans, May 3 (video in link)

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) –

State lawmakers in New York are taking a closer look at a legislative proposal to give terminally ill people the right to seek life-ending medication from their physician.

The Assembly’s Health Committee held a public hearing on the measure Thursday in Manhattan. It came after a hearing last month in Albany.

The proposal now before lawmakers, called the Medical Aid in Dying Law, would require two doctors to sign off on the use of life-ending medication. The patient must be within six months of death and must self-administer the drug.

El Diario: Debaten ley de muerte asistida en la ciudad de Nueva York

By Pedro Frisneda, May 3

Quizás, aparte del aborto y la marihuana medicinal, no existe otro tema médico y de salud más polémico y controversial que el de la muerte asistida.

Esto quedó muy claro, este jueves, durante la primera audiencia pública que se realiza en la ciudad de Nueva York sobre una legislación estatal que, de ser aprobada, permitiría a enfermos terminales –que sean adultos mentalmente competentes–, la opción de solicitar ayuda médica para morir.

Durante la audiencia, organizada por el Comité de Salud de la Asamblea Estatal de Nueva York, que tiene en sus manos la responsabilidad de aprobar el anteproyecto antes de que pase al pleno de la Asamblea Estatal,  los neoyorquinos tuvieron la oportunidad de escuchar los diferentes puntos de vista y argumentos de medio centenar de personas que expusieron su apoyo o rechazo a la legislación.

Tal como lo plantea el proyecto de ley A-2383-A, conocido como ‘Medical Aid in Dying Act‘ (Ayuda Médica para Morir),  que fue patrocinado por la asambleísta Amy Paulin (D-Westchester), los neoyorquinos adultos con enfermedades mortales  –como los que tiene cáncer en estado terminal–, y que estén en pleno juicio, tendrían la opción de solicitar a un doctor una prescripción  para un medicamento que puedan tomar por sí mismo y  que les permita morir pacíficamente mientras duermen, si su sufrimiento y dolor se vuelven insoportables.