Albany is alive with political activity once again. Having concluded our ceremonial start of the 2024 session last week, and at the time of writing, eagerly anticipating the governor’s 2024 State of the State address, the wheels of action in our state’s capital are slowly but surely beginning to spin. And in this same year, the nationwide election cycle is beginning to wake to the point where we’re all beginning to brace for the numerous political ads and distraction campaigns that try to sway our vote in one way or another. For me, nothing matters more this year than ensuring the needs of the people of Orange and Rockland counties are met, which is why it is my continued goal to serve you in what we hope will be a successful session.
As previously mentioned, I’m writing this before formally reviewing the governor’s State of the State, as well as before seeing any policy agenda from the majority party in the Legislature, so the definitive goals of my colleagues are a bit of an unknown this year. Still, we’ve gleamed hints of what actions will be debated and discussed this year, including the governor’s desire to reinforce consumer protections. Her goal to expand consumer protection laws and ensure New Yorkers aren’t being taken advantage of by bad business practices is a measure I can get behind. She’s also discussed the possibility of passing laws that would protect low-income citizens from medical debt lawsuits, another financial protection that would greatly benefit New Yorkers and one move I would be very interested in discussing further.
As for myself, I still have a number of issues I want to work on this year. I’ve discussed before the need for an animal abuse hotline and drafted a proposal for it in bill A.5405. New York is a state that has the capacity to do more for animal care, and this would be just one way we can get better at it. Caylee’s Law is another new protective measure I’m hoping my colleagues will join me in supporting because as stated in the text of A.5452, the effectiveness of childhood protection depends on the swiftness of able adults to respond or inform those who can when children go missing. And, unfortunately, we’re still in a state of mind where we need to radically rethink our approach to the drug epidemic, a problem bill A.5592 would hopefully help solve by criminalizing the possession of fentanyl and dissuading further trafficking of the substance.
But, for now, we remain in a holding pattern until the majority conference begins to share with us what its priorities are as well. In a big election year, with a budget that will need strict and stable management, I’ll be hard at work in Albany making sure your voices remain heard and your needs get addressed. Please continue to share with me your thoughts and priorities by contacting my office at: email@example.com.
[Post State of the State Addendum:] As the governor teased her state of the state proposals throughout last week, I was optimistic about the direction she seemed to be taking. Having listened to the full presentation, I am less than enthused. While previously mentioned initiatives, such as reducing medical debt or protecting consumers from predatory businesses are all worthwhile, she failed to present adequate strategies for a number of other issues, from combating crime to protecting New York’s Jewish citizens. It’s another milquetoast presentation from our executive office, but I am as committed as ever to ensuring the people of Orange and Rockland counties have their needs met.
Karl Brabenec, Assemblyman (R-98)