New York

New York's New Budget: No Legal Weed, No Fracking, No Flavored Vapes, No Police Transparency. But You Get E-scooters!

If only everybody weren’t stuck in their homes.

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The coronavirus isn't just an excuse to implement bad policies with little or no debate. Officials can also use the situation to abandon good reforms.

They do both in New York's new $117 billion budget, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed in the middle of the state's continued COVID-19 disaster. (599 New Yorkers died Sunday, bringing the state's death toll of 4,159.) The budget implements a number of bad regulations while abandoning or scaling back some good ones. And the whole budget was hammered out behind closed doors and passed with very little discussion or debate.

The budget rolls back some of the state's bail reforms, by increasing the list of crimes a judge can demand bail for and by giving judges the option to demand cash bail if somebody is arrested for another crime (even a minor crime) while free from pretrial detention. (It could have been worse: A draft proposal would have given judges more power to detain defendants pretrial on the basis of "dangerousness.")

For the second year in a row, the budget abandons marijuana legalization. According to Cuomo, it was just "too much" to manage the coronavirus and squeeze in a legalization plan, even though they've been trying to hammer out these regulations for two years now.

Also abandoned was any effort to repeal Section 50-a of the New York Civil Rights Law. Despite this name, the section of the law does not protect civil rights at all. Instead, Section 50-a severely restricts disclosure of police personnel records; it has been used to shield officers who have engaged in misconduct and to keep the public from holding police departments accountable. California finally eliminated their overly restrictive police records laws just last year. New York State will not be following suit this year.

One bit of good news: You'll be able to able to ride e-scooters! The budget puts into place policies that allow cities across New York (except in Manhattan) to permit electric bikes and scooters on their streets. Mind you, don't try to use them now, and definitely don't get too close to each other:

If you want to take that e-scooter to the local vape shop, prepare for disappointment. The state is banning flavored vaping products. The state's Public Health and Health Panning Council attempted to ban them by executive order last fall, but a judge reversed the rule for overstepping the state legislature's authority.

Also banned: fracking (which was banned administratively, but the regulation will now be enshrined in state law) and polystyrene foam containers.

So: more rules telling New Yorkers what they can and cannot do (with a heavy emphasis on "cannot"), an unwillingness to trim even the lowest hanging fruit off the drug-war tree, and an unwillingness to introduce some transparency in police conduct, even as the state pushes another product—flavored vapes—into the black market, which will almost certainly lead to more arrests. They packed quite a lot into that budget.

NEXT: A Progressive Media Group Demanded Censorship of Trump's Coronavirus Press Briefings. The FCC Said No.

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  1. Fascists gotta do fascism.
    Had, oh by the way, how much did they lower the expected sales tax revenue due to nobody buying anything but (maybe) food at grocery stores?

    1. Well, the test for today is to figure out what I tried to type where the squirrels put “Had”.

      1. I would go to the mall and buy a new set of fingers, but you know – – – – – –

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  2. Can we just go ahead and nuke NY from orbit now? It’s the only way to be sure.

    1. Just block the roads and starve them out. We can always reuse the infrastructure.

  3. According to Cuomo, it was just “too much” to manage the coronavirus and squeeze in a legalization plan…

    Making things legal is hard work.

  4. This is New York State, where whether you can legally do anything at all is only by the generosity of the State. Except for the sacred Act of Abortion, of course.

    1. Abortion too is by the generosity of the State.

  5. Just for some perspective …

    599 New Yorkers died Sunday

    Given a population of 11 million in New York City and life expectancy of 75 years, 401 people die every day. Given a population of 20 million for the entire state, 730 people die every day. So this 599 is presumably just coronavirus deaths, otherwise it would appear to be saving lives.

    It is also worth knowing how many of these people would have died anyway within a few days or weeks. I don’t know where that data would come from. Eventually it will show up in lower than normal deaths after the pandemic is over.

    1. So this 599 is presumably just coronavirus deaths, otherwise it would appear to be saving lives.

      “If this virus infestation saves just one life, ….”

    2. That’s the kind of information it would be nice to get, wouldn’t it? Who is dying and what else is wrong with them?

      1. Go here and scroll down to 2020-04-05. The first graph is “excess deaths”. Other sources would be interesting.

    3. Well Neil Ferguson, he of the Imperial College study, estimated that perhaps 1/2 to 2/3 of all covid-19 deaths are deaths that would have occurred in the next year because of the other health issues.

      1. That’s what I figured: that Covid-19 won’t increase total deaths from pneumonia, but only constitute a portion of those who’d die from pneumonia anyway.

  6. And the whole budget was hammered out behind closed doors and passed with very little discussion or debate.

    “There’s a *pandemic* going on! No time to waste!”

  7. Also banned: fracking…

    Pennsylvania drinks your milkshake. Drinks it up.

  8. New York’s New Budget: No Legal Weed, No Fracking, No Flavored Vapes, No Police Transparency. But You Get E-scooters!

    Millennials rejoice!

  9. Does anybody have a link to the mayor closing morgues or not emptying them or whatever it was that happened recently? Was it just funeral homes being closed so the bodies had nowhere to go? Help a brother out!

  10. I can’t for the life of me imagine how much of the, industrial solvent laced Kool-aid you would have to drink to be looking at “no fracking” as a bad thing. If you are one of the “jobs, jobs, jobs,” people or the “cheaper gas” people, I guess you don’t get your water from a well on your property. In which case, you’re drinking treated sewage, which is maybe why your brain doesn’t work anymore.
    Take a look at the absolute destruction fracking has done to other states like the Dakota’s and surrounding places. You can see it from satellite images.

    1. We’re all ‘cheaper gas’ people. Or did you think that E-Scooter was made and powered with sustainable unicorn farts and biodegradable ukulele music?

    2. By what magical process do you think the US has been able to drop its CO2 output over the recent past?

      1. We banned co2.

  11. It’s no mystery, the shittiest more repressive places to live are run by democrats and their progressive left wing failures.

    You want freedom, get out of those blue states. Well if you can because other states may send you back to your diseased rat infested cities. We don’t want your politics and your snotty attitudes.

  12. Re fracking.

    Shithead Ruffalo happily masturbates at the thought of keeping New Yorkers impoverished.

  13. The folks in the local LP would appreciate a mention that Cuomo resurrected in the new budget his impossible ballot thresholds to kill third parties.

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