Senate Judiciary Committee Votes No on LaSalle
The New York State Senate’s Judiciary Committee voted against advancing Justice Hector LaSalle to the full Senate for a vote. The newly-expanded 19-member Committee voted very narrowly on a 10-9 margin, with six Republicans and Democrat Jamaal Bailey voting to advance without recommendation, Sens. Luis Sepúlveda and Kevin Thomas voting to advance with recommendation, and ten Democrats, including Judiciary Chair Brad Hoylman-Sigal, voting against LaSalle after five hours of questioning. This is the first time that a judicial nominee has not advanced to the full Senate for a vote in New York State history. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins indicated that “the nomination was lost” and that she did not intend to hold a full-Senate vote on the nomination. Governor Hochul has not announced whether or not she will seek legal action against the Senate to force a floor vote.
NYC Council Passes and Introduces Legislation
Last Thursday, the NYC Council convened a Stated meeting, where they passed and introduced multiple pieces of legislation. City Council passed a “Skip the Stuff” bill, which prohibits restaurants from providing eating utensils, napkins, and extra takeout containers to customers unless specifically requested. Council also passed a bill which would establish a transitional services program for students with disabilities who are entering higher education. Legislation was also introduced to prohibit the Department of Social Services from requiring an individual or family to reside in shelter before becoming eligible for a CityFHEPS rental assistance voucher. Another introduced bill would establish a task force in order to study mental health resources in NYC. You can find all of the bills that were passed and introduced here.
First NY Cannabis Dispensary Owned by Justice-Impacted Individual Opens
Governor Hochul announced that the state’s second adult-use cannabis dispensary will open tomorrow. This newly-opening dispensary will be the first one owned by a justice-impacted individual, Roland Conner, who was previously criminalized for cannabis-related offenses. The dispensary, called Smacked, will be opening in the Union Square area as a “pop-up” temporarily through February 20 before opening full-time permanently. Several other dispensaries, owned by both justice-impacted individuals and nonprofit organizations, will be opening in the coming months.