On Monday, December 17, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave a speech at the New York City Bar Association setting forth his legislative priorities for the New Year and declaring “independence” from the policies of the federal government under President Donald Trump.
To put it mildly, some of the Governor’s priorities need adjusting.
- Make the property-tax cap permanent. New York’s two percent annual cap on property tax increases is currently scheduled to expire in 2020.
- Bolster abortion rights. New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms is passionately opposed to Gov. Cuomo’s abortion expansion plans. Gov. Cuomo wanted to pass an abortion expansion bill in 2013. With God’s help and the hard work of our organization and other pro-life allies, the Governor’s abortion expansion attempt failed by one vote. Earlier this year, State Senate Democrats—under the leadership of the passionately pro-abortion Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers), and with the full support of Gov. Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul—tried to force a vote on abortion expansion legislation and failed again. Gov. Cuomo has proclaimed that abortion expansion will pass the Senate within the first 30 days of the 2019 legislative session. Despite the Governor’s vow and the misguided enthusiasm many legislators have for abortion expansion, NYCF will continue to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The Governor also desires to pass an abortion pill insurance mandate (also opposed by NYCF) that is misleadingly known as the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA).
- DREAM Act. The proposed DREAM Act would make some illegal immigrants eligible for college tuition aid from the state.
- Legalize marijuana. Gov. Cuomo’s position on marijuana legalization has shifted in the wrong direction. During the early years of his administration, the Governor spoke against marijuana legalization; now, however, he supports it. It appears that the legalization of marijuana in Canada and in some of New York’s neighbor states has led the Governor to see legalization as inevitable. At NYCF, we believe that nothing is inevitable until it happens, and we strongly oppose the full legalization of marijuana.
- Congestion pricing in NYC. The Governor wants to require drivers in some areas of Manhattan to pay tolls; the proceeds of those tolls would be used to fund subway repairs.
- Child Victims Act. The Child Victims Act would allow for lawsuits to be filed against individuals and employers based upon claims of child sex abuse, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. While NYCF deplores sex crimes against children and supports justice for victims, we continue to believe that the Child Victims Act is not the best way to bring about justice.
- LGBT protections. For more than 10 years, NYCF has worked to block the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act—also known as the Bathroom Bill—from becoming law. The Bathroom Bill would give biological males access to women-only space in public places and would force many employers to allow crossdressing and other gender-bending behavior in the workplace. We have been successful in preventing the passage of the bill; however, Gov. Cuomo has used a legally questionable executive action to implement some of its provisions. The Governor wants the Bathroom Bill passed this year. The Governor also wants to pass the Counselor Coercion Bill, which would bar mental health professionals from helping minor clients to resolve unwanted same-sex (homosexual) attractions. NYCF strongly opposes both proposals.
- Gun control. Gov. Cuomo wants to ban bump stocks (which make semiautomatic weapons function like fully automatic ones), expand the waiting period for firearm purchasers who have been “flagged by the national background check database” from three days to 10 days, and pass a Red Flag Bill to let “family members or school officials [petition] a judge to block someone from owning a gun if the person is deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.”
- End cash bail.
- Make Election Day a state holiday.
Christians, the Governor’s proposals for abortion expansion, marijuana, the Bathroom Bill and others mean that we have our work cut out for us in Albany this year.