2016-06-15 / Political Page

Worst Shooting Ever In U.S. Unleashes More Blame Game

This nation was mourning the wanton killing of 50 Americans and a like number of seriously wounded in last Saturday’s worst terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil.

But Donald Trump was sticking to his campaign demands, calling for his opponent, Hillary Clinton, to quit the presidential race if she won’t acknowledge that the Orlando rampage was the result of radical Islam.

Clinton instead said through a spokesperson that the enormity of the situation in Orlando was a “tragedy that requires a serious response,” according to several reports on the situation.

Clinton said later “we need to redouble our efforts” to defend our country from threats at home and abroad.

Trump, meanwhile, continued to attack Clinton for what he described as her effort to increase admissions of immigrants from the Middle East while he repeated his call for a ban on Muslim migration to this country.

Clinton also called “to keep guns like the ones used last night out of the hands of terrorists,” but Trump made no mention of the issue of the access to firearms. Trump also thanked supporters for their criticism of President Obama’s refusal to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism” in addressing the Orlando matter.

Trump also issued a tweet saying he “appreciated the congratulations,” he had received “for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.” But, he added, “I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart.”

The attack on the nightclub in Orlando was carried out between 2 and 3 am Saturday by Omar Mateen, 29. An American citizen born to Afghan parents in New York City, Mateen worked as a security guard and lived in Fort Pierce, the town neighboring Orlando. Officials said he tried to make a telephone call pledging allegiance to ISIS before the attack. He was investigated by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 but they did not find any grounds to arrest him.

During the annual Puerto Rican Day parade which was held as planned on Sunday, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio offered condolences to the nation for the Orlando attacks.

DA VANCE, PERALTA URGE ASSEMBLY PASSAGE OF BILL TO COMBAT IDENTITY THEFT: Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. and New York State Senator José Peralta on June 6 urged the New York State Assembly to pass legislation to combat identity theft by expanding New York state’s “enterprise corruption statue” to include cybercrime and identity theft-related offenses. The bill, S.1301-A/A. 938-A, was previously passed by the New York State Senate on May 20, 2015, and again on February 25, 2016.

“Since its creation in 2010, my office’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau has prosecuted more and more cybercrime and identity theft rings operating in a manner similar to traditional organized crime groups,” said Vance. “However, New York State has done little to adapt existing laws to a changing criminal landscape, which means that we are effectively fighting 21st century crimes with tools from the 1970s. I thank Senator Peralta for his leadership and collaboration on this legislation, which will enhance prosecutors’ ability to build strong cases against cybercriminal operations, and I strongly encourage the Assembly to pass it.”

Peralta said: ‘As gangs and organized crime syndicates are becoming more and more involved in perpetrating computer crimes, money laundering and identity thefts, this legislation will provide a much – needed and common-sense tool for law enforcement. As is often the case, the law has not kept up with technology and currently, New York’s enterprise corruption statute excludes a broad range of these crimes from its coverage. Computers are a part of our daily lives, and sadly, criminals use them to steal both our money and our identities. My bill has passed the Senate several times, including during this year’s Legislative Session that is now coming to a close. The clock is ticking, and it is my hope that the Assembly will step up to the plate and take up this important legislation, where it is sponsored by Assemblymember Michael Miller. As always, I want to thank Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance for his unwavering efforts to curbing organized crime, especially as it relates to the growth of cybercrimes and identity theft.”

Miller (D–Woodhaven) said, “Law enforcement must keep up with the changing landscape of criminal enterprises. In this day and age traditional criminal organizations have become more complex and have turned to cyber-crimes to cover their traces while obtaining new avenues to make money. I have pushed for legislation that would assist law enforcement with tackling such crimes within the state of New York. I am currently fighting for passage of a bill in the Assembly that if passed would assist law enforcement with updated language in penal law on criminal enterprises and their actions of such cyber-crimes. I commend Senator José Peralta for his efforts on passing this bill through the State Senate. District Attorney C. Vance has been a strong advocate for this legislation and continues to diligently work to combat crimes where identify theft and fraud are perpetrated electronically.”

Currently, the Organized Crime Control Act (OCCA) provides increased penalties for patterns of repeated criminal activity – as defined by three or more criminal acts committed within a five-year-period – carried out in connection with a structured criminal enterprise Vance said. Criminal acts covered by the OCCA include many financial and economic offenses but do not, importantly, cover identity theft and related crimes. Cybercrime, however, is one of New York’s most pervasive and fastest growing crime types, and the harm caused to victims is significant, whether the victims are individuals or entire organizations, the DA added.

The bill expands the OCCAs definition of a criminal act to include identity theft and related offenses including unlawful possession of personal identification information, computer tampering, unlawful duplication of computer related materials, criminal use of an access device, and unlawful possession of a skimmer device among others, Vance added.

The legislation follows the recommendation of the White Collar Crime Task Force, which District Attorney Vance convened during his tenure as president of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York. The Task Force – comprising prosecutors, attorneys, academics, and other legal experts – issued a 100 page report recommending, among other proposals, that identity theft and related offenses be added as predicate felonies under the OCCA.

PERALTA TO SENATE: ‘ACT NOW AND PASS THE DREAM ACT’: State Senator Jose Peralta urged his colleagues in the State’s upper chamber to pass the New York State DREAM Act “and right this wrong, once and for all.”

Peralta, the lead sponsor of the DREAM Act in the Senate, applauded the State Assembly for again passing the legislation that would provide state college financial aid to undocumented New Yorkers. Currently, undocumented college students are ineligible for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), Peralta (D–East Elmhurst) explained.

“I am glad the Assembly passed the bill during its session today. It is time my colleagues in the Senate Majority follow suit and let our DREAMers truly live the American Dream,” said Peralta. “I encourage all Senators to rise above politics and right this wrong.”

Implementation of the DREAM Act will cost approximately $27 million Peralta said. It amounts to an average of a few cents annually for an average New York taxpayer. “Let’s remember that the average college graduate makes more money and pays more in taxes than people who did not receive a higher education degree. This is clearly an investment in our future, and one that more than pays for itself,” Peralta added.

CROWLEY BLASTS GOP’S ‘FEEBLE POVERTY AGENDA’: Congressman Joe Crowley (D–Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, issued the statement below following the release of house Republicans’ so-called “A Better Way” agenda to address poverty in America:

“House Republicans seem to think that the answer to solving the poverty crisis in America is repackaging their callous and ugly policies and slapping a pretty new name on it. If Republicans were truly serious about addressing poverty, they’d join us on the myriad of serious policy proposals Democrats have led that will help lift up American families. Ideas like boosting affordable child care, which allows parents to go to work, and strengthening food assistance programs to give families a hand in meeting their basic needs. Or how about raising the minimum wage and ensuring equal pay, so workers can put food on the table, make rent, and perhaps, save a little for their future. Or maybe even seriously investing in education and job training – giving people the tools they need to achieve more. Despite all their rhetoric, these ideas and policy proposals have been met with a resounding silence.

“But there’s actually something worse than doing nothing – and that’s Republicans’ constant attacks on families living in poverty. Republicans have kept up their campaign to push people off of food assistance programs – programs that can mean the difference between eating a meal or not. They continuously attack social services programs that states and cities rely on to care for their most vulnerable citizens. And, they’ve been relentless in their effort to gut access to affordable health care. And underlying much of these harmful policies is hateful rhetoric that demonizes families that are trying to work hard for their future.

“So, it should come to no surprise that the party of Donald Trump is trumpeting an agenda that is just a regurgitation of the same awful policies they’ve been pushing for years. Far from a ‘better way’, this agenda is the absolute wrong way to address poverty in this country.  The American people deserve better.”

ADDABBO OPPOSES NEW CONSUMER PLASTIC BAG TAX’: Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. made the following statement last week on the State Senate passage of legislation (S.7336) he supported that would “prevent” New York City and other municipalities from imposing fees on the use of plastic grocery bags. The Howard Beach (D) lawmaker stated:

“There is no question that we need to take positive action to end the proliferation of plastic bags that clog up our storm drains, litter our trees, and otherwise degrade our environment and landscape. However, I don’t think the recently-approved New York City law imposing a punitive fee upon our residents  who use plastic bags is the right solution. I have had many complaints from individuals, especially fixed-income seniors, in my district who object to the ‘bag tax.’

“Instead of simply punishing consumers, we should be looking at other credible ways to address the plastic bag issue. I don’t believe this disproportionate fee, which will reluctantly be paid by consumers, with the money collected going to the businesses and not for environmental purposes, will result in a significant decrease in the use of plastic bags. Actually, some major chain stores, like Target and Whole Foods, offer discounts to reward consumers who bring their own shopping bags and distribute reusable bags.

“I do believe a direct legislative ban on plastic bags should be passed. The New York City Styrofoam ban was overturned by the courts, but that doesn’t mean the ban wasn’t the right thing to do. We should also actively look to make it easier to recycle plastic bags so that fewer end up in our waste stream, or better educate consumers on how to reuse various types of shopping bags. I would gladly accept and properly dispose of plastic bags at my numerous recycling events in the district.

“Quite simply, there must be other avenues we can explore to encourage New Yorkers to adopt more environmentally-conscious behavior without basically imposing a surcharge on them. I encourage ongoing conversations among the State Legislature, City Council, the Mayor, the environmental community, businesses and other stakeholders to resolve the plastic bag issue in a way that we can all support.”

VAN BRAMER’S STATEMENT ON FY17 BUDGET DEAL: NYC Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries, released the following statement on the budget deal agreed to by the Mayor and City Council last week:

“I’m thrilled that this budget restores and baselines $23 million for our City’s public libraries, making six-day service permanent citywide. This is the first time we’ve had baseline six-day service for libraries in over a decade. Gone is the budget dance that clouded our libraries’ futures each year. In addition, we will invest a record amount in much-needed capital upgrades for libraries so patrons can learn and read in modern, up-to-date facilities.

“In addition, I’m very happy to have helped fight for the first increase in operating funds to the Department of Cultural Affairs in over a decade. The $10 million added to the Department of Cultural Affairs budget will support numerous cultural organizations citywide. On top of the $10 million announced today, the City Council’s cultural initiatives are on target for record increases. With millions more allocated for capital projects at cultural institutions, this is a banner year for culture, arts, and libraries in New York City!

I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for fighting for this investment and continuing to stand for libraries, art, and culture.”

CITY COUNCIL PASSES KOO’S LANDMARKS REFORM LEGISLATION: By a vote of 40-10, the City Council last Wednesday passed intro 775-A, a landmarks reform bill introduced by Councilmen Peter Koo and David Greenfield that will impose timelines on the designation of landmarks, interior landmarks, scenic landmarks and historic districts.

The bill was introduced last year on the 50th anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Law, after it was found that nearly 100 properties had idled on the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) calendar for as long as the law had existed, rendering them in a state of perpetual limbo, unable to reap the benefits of preservation.

The original bill (Intro 775) sought to impose strict deadlines on the amount of time LPC can take to designate potential landmarks (1 year for individual landmarks and 2 years for historic districts), and to bar properties from reconsideration if the LPC failed to come to a decision within those timeframes. However, after holding a full day public hearing to solicit input from the community and LPC, Chairs Koo and Greenfield decided to revisit the timelines to allow for greater flexibility and extensions, as well as to completely eliminate the moratorium against recalendaring.

The revised bill, Intro 775-A, establishes the following guidelines:

Individual, interior and scenic landmarks - LPC must hold a public hearing and take final action within 12 months of calendaring the landmark for consideration. Option for a one-year extension with LPC and landowner consent.

Historic districts - LPC must hold a public hearing and take final action within 24 months of calendaring the district for consideration.

Backlog – LPC has 18 months to designate.

A summary of the changes are below:

Item  Original Bill (Intro 775)    Amended Bill (Intro 775-A)

Individual Landmarks – Hearing within 180 days of calendaring, final action within 180 days of public hearing     Hearing and action within 12 months

Historic District – Hearing within 1 year of calendaring, final action within 1 year       Hearing and action within 24 months

Moratorium – 5 year moratorium on reconsideration           Moratorium removed

Extensions – No extension possible        Possible 12 month extension for individual landmarks if agreed upon by LPC and property owner

Koo, who serves as Chair of the Landmarks Subcommittee, stated, “Landmarking in New York City is an arduous process that has kept many properties in a state of perpetual limbo, unable to reap the benefits of an actual landmark designation. Since the creation of the landmarks law 50 years ago, many potential landmarks have languished on the LPC calendar for decades with no end in sight. In a city that takes enormous pride in its history, architecture and neighborhood character, this kind of inaction is unacceptable. Clearly, the landmarks law needs a predictable timetable that provides reasonable expectations for both the community and property owners. I would like to thank Land Use Chair David Greenfield, Speaker Mark-Viverito and all my colleagues in the City Council for supporting this common sense and good government legislation that will provide some measure of predictability, accountability and transparency to the Landmarks Law.”

Greenfield, who serves as Chair of the Land Use Committee, stated, “Intro 775-A is a sensible, practical, good-government bill that introduces some much-needed transparency and predictability to the landmarking process. It is the result of many months of discussion, consideration, debate, and adjustment. It will ensure the integrity of the landmarking process while continuing to protect all of New York’s historic properties and districts. I want to thank Councilman Koo for his partnership in getting this bill to the finish line, as well as Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her outstanding leadership and support. I would also like to thank the Land Use staff for all the late nights they put in to accommodate the many changes that were made to this bill along the way as a result of meetings with preservationist groups, fellow Councilmembers, and other community advocates. The legislation we vote on today is truly the product of hard work and compromise on all sides, and I am proud to have sponsored it in the Council.”

DROMM COMMENT ON CITY COUNCIL INTRO 775-A: At last Wednesday’s stated meeting of the NYC Council, Councilman Daniel Dromm (D–Jackson Heights, Elmhurst) voted against Intro 775-A, a bill that would establish a maximum period of time for the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to take action on any item calendared for consideration of landmark status.

“Preserving historic properties and neighborhoods is key to preserving the beauty of our city,” said Dromm, whose district is home to the Jackson Heights Historic District. “The creation of the Jackson Heights Historic District was a lengthy process, requiring more time than the two-year deadline set by Intro 775-A.  I am deeply concerned that the mandated time frame prescribed by this bill will allow properties and neighborhoods to fall off the calendar, leaving them vulnerable to unscrupulous developers who will seize the opportunity to make irreversible and damaging changes.   I am opposed to legislating a time frame that could potentially jeopardize the character of our city’s historic districts and property.”

A majority of Council Members voted in favor of Intro 775-A at the stated meeting. Council Members Inez Barron (D-Brooklyn), Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan), Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan), Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn), Mark Levine (D-Manhattan), Rosie Méndez (D-Manhattan), and Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) joined Council Member Dromm in opposing the measure.

WITH MODI VISIT, ENGEL & CROWLEY BILL STRENGTHENS U.S.-INDIA RELATIONSHIP: Representative Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Representative Joseph Crowley (D–NY), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, announced that they have introduced legislation to enhance ties between the United States and India by elevating the status of the bilateral relationship. The Special Global Partnership with India Act of 2016 (H.R. 5387) would designate India as a Special Global Partner of the United States and take other steps to ramp up engagement and deepen collaboration between the United States and India, particularly on defense issues.

“I just had the honor to watch Prime Minister Modi address a Joint Meeting of Congress, and it is clear that the United States and India are successfully steering our relationship from contention to cooperation. From defense to scientific research, from climate change to economic innovation, we are working more closely with the people and government of India than ever before. Now we need to make those ties even stronger,” said Engel. “This bill would give our relationship the status it deserves by naming India a Special Global Partner and ensuring that our close collaboration continues for years to come.”

The Special Global Partnership with India Act of 2016 calls for Congress to elevate the U.S.-India relationship by designating India as a Special Global Partner of the United States, leading to greater cooperation across sectors ranging from defense and space to entrepreneurship and innovation. H.R. 5387 would also amend the Arms Export Control Act, allowing the President to include India among our closest allies. This bill would also authorize the President to give India an exception to allow for strategic trade authority, and codify assistance in all areas that would support key priorities, such as education, growth in the digital sector, and environmental protection.

Representatives Engel and Crowley are also members of the Congressional India Caucus.

CROWLEY COMMENTS ON INDIAN PRIME MINISTER MODI’S ADDRESS TO CONGRESS: Congressman Joseph Crowley (D–Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus and a former chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, released the statement below following Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s address to a Joint Session of Congress last Wednesday.

“As the world’s oldest democracy welcomed the leader of the world’s largest democracy, I was pleased to hear from Prime Minister Modi on his vision for the next chapter in U.S.-India relations. The U.S.-India relationship – rooted in shared democratic values and strong people-to-people ties – is one of the world’s most rapidly growing partnerships. I believe that a strong U.S.-India relationship should and will serve as a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy in decades ahead. Working together, the U.S. and India can be a transformational force in meeting global challenges, such as Climate Change, fighting terrorism, and ensuring regional stability.  We are also faced with a unique opportunity to further strengthen our partnership in a way that benefits both our nations by deepening our technological, security, educational, and economic ties. I look forward to continuing my efforts to help bolster U.S.-India relations, as well as continuing my work with the vibrant Indian-American community in New York and across the country.”

STAVISKY GATHERS SIGNATURES FOR REELECTION BID: State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D–Flushing) kicked off her 2016 petitioning campaign to get on the ballot for reelection by going door-to-door with campaign volunteers last Friday starting at the corner of Bowne Street and Ash Avenue in Flushing.

ADDABBO BACKS ANTI-CRIME LEGISLATION: From discouraging assaults on active and retired police officers and cracking down on shoplifters who use special devices to avoid security detection to tightening up registration requirements for sex offenders, the New York State Senate recently passed a variety of anti-crime proposals with the support of Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. (D–Howard Beach).

“One of the most important functions of government is to help establish laws and policies aimed at keeping our residents safe from harm,” said Addabbo. “All of us deserve to live out our lives untouched by crime, including the most vulnerable among us, and those who put their own lives on the line to protect the public. We need to fight illegal activity on many different fronts to both prevent tragic crimes and ensure that those who show blatant disregard for the lives and property of others are adequately punished.”

The roster of anti-crime bills recently passed by the State Senate, which are all awaiting consideration by the State Assembly, are as follows:

S.1827 would create new felony crimes to address circumstances in which a person assaults a retired police officer while believing that this officer was once involved, during active duty, in their previous arrest. Punishment for this retaliatory behavior by previously arrested criminals would rest upon the severity of the retired officer’s injuries at their hands.

S.5849 increases criminal penalties for causing the death of police or peace officers when the perpetrator of the crime was specifically attempting to prevent the officers from performing their official law enforcement duties.

S.1849 would increase penalties for thieves who use and possess anti-security items – such as “booster bags” specially outfitted with heavy layers of aluminum foil – to avoid detection by store security panels and other systems when stealing merchandise.

S.424 would raise the crime of criminally negligent homicide from a Class E to Class D felony offense, which carries greater penalties and increased potential prison time, to more accurately reflect the severe and tragic consequences of these deaths.

S.1340 would address the behavior of those who repeatedly commit misdemeanor crimes by creating a new felony offense of aggravated criminal conduct and imposing greater punishment on persistent offenders.

S. 4953 would make it a Class D felony, instead of the lesser Class A misdemeanor offense, when convicted sex offenders fail to register or verify their whereabouts under New York State’s Sex Offender Registration Act.

“I hope the State Assembly will ultimately consider these common-sense proposals to protect our retired and active law enforcement personnel, cut down on thievery, require sex offenders to obey the law and ensure that criminals are held more responsible for their actions and the irreparable harm they sometimes cause to their victims and their families,” said Addabbo.

In the Assembly, the bills are under review by the two Standing Committees on Codes and Correction.

MENG WARNS; NEW N.J. FLIGHT SKEDS MAY INCREASE NOISE HERE: Congresswoman Grace Meng has sent a letter to the head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expressing concern over a new flight arrival plan that may create additional airplane noise over Queens.

In the letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Meng vowed to fight a plan that would allow Newark Airport to use another runway for some incoming flights if the move results in more air traffic over Queens. This new procedure, if implemented, could force airplanes heading towards New York City airports to utilize flight paths that require an increased amount of time in airspace over the borough, Meng (D–Flushing) warned.

Queens Members of Congress who signed onto Meng’s letter include Reps. Joseph Crowley, Gregory Meeks, Hakeem Jeffries and Steve Israel.

“I am dismayed at the possibility of more aircraft noise over Queens,” said Meng. “In 2012, new flight patterns over Queens slapped increased airplane noise over our borough, a move that continues to ruin quality of life for Queens residents. We will not accept any new noise and we’ll do everything in our power – legislative and otherwise – to fight this plan should it negatively impact our borough. The FAA must immediately clarify whether this new plan for Newark Airport will cause any new aircraft noise over Queens,” Meng declared.

The FAA is seeking to implement the new plan for Newark Airport in the fall, Meng explained. It would allow air traffic controllers to shift a small number of arriving flights to Newark’s Runway 29 if the airport’s Runway 4 Left or 4 Right are at capacity. The FAA is presently reviewing the environmental impact study it conducted for the plan.

Meng, as well as Crowley, Meeks, Jeffries and Israel, are members of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus.

ADDABBO MOBILE OFFICE HOURS AT GLENDALE LIBRARY: In his ongoing scheduling of Mobile Office Hours around the district, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. will meet with constituents in Glendale next week.

Addabbo (D–Howard Beach) visits each library in his district multiple times per year as part of his commitment to personally assist as many people in his district as possible. The Senator will be at the Glendale Library, located at 78-60 73rd Place, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 23 to meet with residents wishing to talk with him about problems they may be having, or to bring community issues to light. By holding mobile office hours at different libraries throughout his vast Senate district, Addabbo makes it more convenient for constituents to come to him at a time that is easier for them and a site right in their own community.

“As an elected official, making sure I interact with the people I represent is one of my top priorities,” said Addabbo. “I have always urged my constituents to contact me if I can help them in any way, but it is not always easy for some people to do that during normal business hours. These extended office hours, held at night in various neighborhoods throughout my district, are an excellent way to make sure I am not only reaching as many residents as possible, but also making it more convenient by coming to them. I look forward to another successful round of mobile office hours over the next few months and, as always, encourage those who need assistance to take advantage of these library visits.”

Additional Mobile Office Hours are being scheduled for future dates and locations throughout the district. For more information, contact Addabbo’s Howard Beach Office at 718-738-1111.

SENATE PASSES BILL CO-SPONSORED BY ADDABBO TO RAISE FINES FOR OWNERS WHO FAIL TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE SHELTER FOR DOGS: In order to ensure that dogs are cared for properly during very cold temperatures or other weather extremes, State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. recently joined with his Senate colleagues in approving legislation he co-sponsors (S.7316) that would increase fines for owners who willfully fail to provide appropriate outdoor shelter for their canine companions.

Addabbo (D–Howard Beach) noted that New York State law requires dog owners to provide shelter to their pets when they are left outside that is appropriate to their physical condition, breed and the climate. It is the responsibility of local police or animal control officers to investigate and assess compliance with the sheltering requirements, he said.

“Despite the threat of fines, there have been many instances throughout New York State where dogs have been knowingly left outside without adequate shelter in freezing temperatures and have suffered severe pain and injuries,” said Addabbo. “If we hit irresponsible owners a little harder in the wallet, maybe they will be more inclined to take better care of their companion animals when they are left outside to brave the elements.”

Under the bill, fines for knowingly failing to provide adequate shelter would rise from $50-100 to $250 for a first offense. A second offense, now carrying fines of $100-250, would rise to $500, and a third violation would bring a charge of $1,000.

“The bottom line is that we need to take the health and welfare of our dogs and other companion animals very seriously, and give them the care they deserve as members of our families,” said Addabbo. “This legislation will help to make sure that dogs left outside are protected from preventable harm.”

The Assembly companion bill is now under consideration by the Committee on Agriculture.

MALONEY RELEASES STATEMENT ON ORLANDO ATTACK: Following news of the mass shooting attack at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) released the following statement:

“Today we mourn the loss of dozens of innocent lives, brutally murdered at Pulse Nightclub. This act of terror and hate directed at members of the LGBT community and in the midst of Pride Month, brings to the forefront the importance of celebrating and honoring our American values of equality and diversity.

“With reports that the perpetrator was armed with a powerful assault rifle, we are reminded that it is far too easy for individuals to acquire a weapon capable of inflicting so much pain, so quickly. 

“This is now the most deadly shooting in American history, and our country is long overdue for meaningful gun reforms. As this event makes clear, gun safety is about homeland security and Congress needs to act.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the survivors and the families and friends of all the victims. New Yorkers and the whole country stand with Orlando and LGBT community here at home and worldwide.”

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