Senate Judiciary Committee votes no to LaSalle
The New York State Senate Judiciary Committee voted against putting Judge Hector LaSalle to a full Senate vote. The newly expanded 19-member committee voted very narrowly, 10-9, with six Republicans and Democrat Jamaal Bailey voting to move forward without recommendation, Sens. Luis Sepúlveda and Kevin Thomas voting to move forward with recommendation, and ten Democrats among them Justice Chairman Brad Hoylman-Sigal votes against LaSalle after five hours of questioning. This is the first time in New York State history that a justice nominee has not advanced to a full Senate vote. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins indicated that “the nomination was lost” and that she did not intend to hold a Senate-wide vote on the nomination. Gov. Hochul has not announced whether she will take legal action against the Senate to force a vote.
NYC Council passes and introduces legislation
Last Thursday, the NYC Council called a professed session during which several laws were passed and introduced. The City Council passed a “Skip the Stuff” law that prohibits restaurants from providing customers with takeout dinnerware, napkins and additional containers unless specifically requested to do so. The council also passed a bill that would establish a transition service program for students with disabilities entering higher education. Legislation has also been introduced that prohibits the Department of Social Services from requiring an individual or family to live in emergency housing before they are eligible for a CityFHEPS Rental Assistance Voucher. Another proposed bill would create a task force to study mental health resources in NYC. All passed and introduced bills can be found here.
Opening of the first cannabis dispensary in New York owned by a person affected by justice
Governor Hochul announced that the state’s second cannabis dispensary for adult use will open tomorrow. This newly opened dispensary will be the first to be owned by a Justice Affected Person, Roland Conner, who was previously criminalized for cannabis-related offenses. The dispensary, dubbed Smacked, will temporarily open in the Union Square area as a “pop-up” through Feb. 20 before permanently opening all day. Several other pharmacies will open in the coming months, owned by both those with a legal impact and non-profit organizations.