As the final days of this legislative session tick down, two very important bills are at risk of failing to pass the New York State Senate: the “Green Light” bill, which would allow all state residents to apply for driver’s licenses, regardless of immigration status, and a bill to legalize adult-use cannabis.
Unfortunately, Long Island’s Democratic senators are so terrified of providing their next Republican challengers with damaging talking points, they’ve decided to oppose these bills.
My own senator, Anna Kaplan, told Newsday in an article posted to its website on June 7 that it’s difficult for her to support the Green Light bill because of unresolved concerns raised by the law-enforcement community.
As for cannabis legalization, a spokesman for Sen. Kaplan told the Democrat & Chronicle in an article posted to its website on June 5 that “there are still too many public health and safety concerns at this time.”
Unresolved concerns seem to be a running theme with Sen. Kaplan. I would remind her that she didn’t crush her well-funded Republican opponent, Elaine Phillips, with the support of center-right constituents. Voting in favor of these bills is not as politically risky as Jay Jacobs and Andrew Cuomo paint it.
Additionally, even if it were that politically risky, wouldn’t ending the racially biased war on cannabis in New York state once and for all be worth the risk? Wouldn’t bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and making our roads safer be worth the risk?
To Sen. Kaplan and her nearby Democratic colleagues, I’ll leave it at this. Please do the right thing and stop taking advice from the other side (or from hacks within your own party) about who your constituents are and what they want.
When you look back at your career decades from now, wouldn’t you rather have substantively improved the lives of generations of New Yorkers rather than merely done what was politically expedient?
New Hyde Park