Posted by Seamus Campbell
Senator David Storobin has been in office for less than a month now. He has already introduced 6 pieces of legislation. 1 is a Joint Resolution to “Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Munich 11 tragedy and honoring the memory of the 11 Israeli athletes during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games” (which I support and find to be non-controversial; 1 is a bill to build a bike lane in Southern Brooklyn (cosponsored with Sen. Diane Savino -also non controversial); 1 is a bill to “Provide for the reimbursement to school districts for ninety percent of expenses incurred in providing transportation for children with special needs” (for which I could not agree more); 1 controversial bill (that I will save for last); and 1 change to the New York State Constitution.
Before I get into the 1 constitutional amendment, let me remind you how the State Constitution is amended. There are two methods:
- 2 consecutive legislatures pass a concurrent/joint resolution regarding a change in the Constitution. If passed by both chambers twice (as to say that it has to be passed before a full state legislative election and after a full state legislative election), it will come to a public referendum for the voters of the State of New York. If the voters approve it, the amendment is adopted.
- A Constitutional Convention (don’t ask me how those things go because I just don’t know).
So here are Senator Storobin’s three bills that I want to highlight:
S7730-2011: Repeals provisions of the constitution prohibiting the use of public money in aid of any school under the control or direction of any religious denomination
Storobin did try to run on the “School Choice Party” line because he believes in school vouchers. I get that and I agree with that (I believe that school vouchers is the quick and easy way to deal with the issue of prayer in schools).
However, the law is not necessary. I will not go into the history of this, but much of the rule that Storobin is trying to repeal doesn’t require legislative involvement. My alma mater, Fordham University, is dubbed the “Jesuit University of New York [City].” It used to say “Catholic” instead of Jesuit. Then, the powers-that-be (I know the names but will not list them here since they are all family friends and I do not want their names dragged into this) realized that by changing “Catholic” to “Jesuit,” offering Theology courses in non-Christian religions, and removing crucifixes from the walls (and leaving a dust outline on the walls, as my mother reminds me), they were entitled to state funding. Fordham University says in their Mission Statement that they uphold Catholic virtues and that is fine under the law because of the values the institution is trying to instill.
As the saying goes, “it is not what you say, but how you say it.”
One bill is to make second-degree murder punishable by death. There is just one problem: in 2004, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled capital punishment to be in violation of the New York State Constitution. Storobin made it clear during his campaign that he is a lawyer. Talk about irony. (Even funnier: the bill is listed as having no fiscal impact; I guess that the appeals process does not cost the state any money.)
So, what is the last bill? Repealing the Marriage Equality Act. Speaks for itself.
Here is the kicker: none of the three pieces of legislation that I have mentioned have ANY co-sponsors nor an Assembly version.
Senator Storobin has a lot to learn.