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Opinion

Will the Long Island 6 vote to repeal 50a?

The Capitol in Albany seen from the steps

The Capitol in Albany seen from the steps of the state Education Department Building on Oct. 7, 2019. Credit: Hans Pennink

Daily Point

Where do the LI 6 stand on repealing 50a?

The State Legislature is expected to vote early next week on a series of bills that would provide more oversight of law enforcement practices, including the repeal of 50a, the state law that prohibits releasing police officers’ disciplinary records.

Where do Long Island’s six Democratic state senators – John Brooks, Jim Gaughran, Anna Kaplan, Todd Kaminsky, Monica Martinez, and Kevin Thomas – stand on the effort to repeal 50a and other measures, like making chokeholds illegal and adding reporting requirements for a statewide database, including when an officer fires a weapon? Some of their constituents are marching in the streets of suburbia to protest the killing of George Floyd and demand policing reform while police unions are lobbying against most changes.

The Point tried to find out.

First, planned phone interviews with multiple state senators were delayed.

And then… radio silence. 

Over the last two days, The Point reached out to each of the six at least twice, specifically seeking comment via email, text and phone call.

None of them responded.

Spokesmen for the State Senate and State Assembly Democratic majorities also didn’t comment.

But New York City Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell, who has been sponsoring a 50a repeal bill for years but hadn’t ever seen it get out of committee, says he thinks he’s set to pass this rendition easily in his chamber. 

In fact, he said, the swing reminds him of another long-running battle he was central to where the tide seemed to turn all at once: gay marriage.

“I sponsored and passed a gay marriage bill five times, and the fifth time, in 2011, it became law,” O’Donnell told The Point  Thursday. “It was an issue that just did not have the support to pass in the Senate until, one day, it did.”

O’Donnell, who grew up in Commack, said if this bill does run into trouble in the Senate, it will likely be with the Long Island 6, but he’s hoping that won’t be the case.

Meanwhile, advocates, such as the Long Island chapter of the NAACP, are out in force, pushing for reform, and asking supporters to call their senators. 

Whether they have better luck getting a response from the lawmakers remains to be seen.

What’s clear is that both legislative conferences are frantically trying to hammer out an agreement. What’s not clear: Where any of our local senators stand.

—Randi F. Marshall and Lane Filler @RandiMarshall and @lanefiller

Talking Point

A new beginning for Bill Johnson

When local state legislators were lobbying Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to sign a bill creating a strong monitor position for the Hempstead school district last year, they reached out to Long Island educators and other power players to write letters to Cuomo supporting the plan.

One of those letters pleading that Hempstead get this help came from Rockville Centre Schools Superintendent William Johnson.

On July 1, Johnson will fill that position, created earlier this year when Cuomo and legislators finally came together on the details.

Read the full item here

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Pencil Point

Sacrilege

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Final Point

Open congressional seat: Day 206

Pandemic or not, it has been a very active Republican primary in New York’s 2nd Congressional District where two State Assembly members are fighting for a chance to replace retiring Pete King. 

Andrew Garbarino hit TV Thursday with an introductory ad on News 12 and Fox News.

Meanwhile, Mike LiPetri, who is running to the right in this closely-watched district, has won the NRA Political Victory Fund’s endorsement. He got an A rating, over Garbarino who got a B.

Garbarino may have been hurt by voting for so-called red flag legislation in June 2018, half a year before LiPetri was first elected. Garbarino did, however, vote against the SAFE Act in 2013. 

King kept his seat for years despite even lower grades from the pro-gun organization. The NRA’s political arm doesn’t advertise historical records well, but databases from gun control groups indicate poor marks for King in 2010, 2014, 2016, and 2018. 

“I think I averaged D-,” texted King, who has endorsed Garbarino. 

This time around, the gun group went against the local GOP establishment in both CD2 and New York City’s CD11, where newcomer Joe Caldarera got the nod over Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis, who was the party’s candidate for NYC mayor in 2017. The mostly Staten Island-based district is represented by Democrat Max Rose, who made noise recently asking for the National Guard to police the city. 

LiPetri is running an outsider-vs.-establishment campaign, despite being just a few years junior to Garbarino in Albany. His literature describes himself as a “pro-Trump American” and “NOT a career politician.”

“I don’t come from a political family or wealth,” LiPetri says in an online video, nodding at Garbarino’s father, Islip Town Republican Committee chairman William Garbarino.

On Garbarino’s side, the strategy has been to highlight his opponent’s background, including with a website called thereallipetri.com. There, voters can learn more about LiPetri’s previous history as a registered Democrat and his work as “part of the liberal ‘DeBlasio Team.’” It’s a charge Garbarino levels in his new TV ad, too.

LiPetri was hardly a mayoral social justice warrior in pinko commie liberal New York City. He worked for the city law department’s tort division between 2015 and 2016. (He does, however, have a history of stretching his work experience.)

But Republicans around the country have signalled their 2020 intent to slam the big city mayor and other “socialists” like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Bronx Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. So Garbarino is getting started on the national strategy early. Including the time-honored tradition of repeatedly misspelling de Blasio’s name.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

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