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New York's Environmnetal Bill of Rights and more

April 30, 2019 05:40 PM

The historic legislation passed by the Senate Democratic Majority includes:

·       Constitutional Right to Clean Air and Water: This bill, S.2072, sponsored by Senator Carlucci, will amend the State Constitution’s bill of rights to include a right to clean air and water and a healthful environment.

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·       Protecting Children From Toxic Toys: This bill, S.501B, introduced by Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, Senator Todd Kaminsky, will establish strict regulations on toxic chemicals in children’s products.

·       Banning Harmful Pesticides: This bill, S.5343, introduced by Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, Senator Todd Kaminsky, will prohibit the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos that has significant known adverse human health impacts, especially for children.

·       Identifying High Local Environmental Impact Zones: This bill, S.181, introduced by Senator Jose Serrano, will require the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to publish a list of areas in the State that are most adversely affected by existing environmental hazards, known as high local environmental impact zones.

·       Saving Water: This bill. S.354A, introduced by Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, Senator Todd Kaminsky, will align water saving performance standards with the WaterSense Program guidelines developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

·       Regulating Lead Contaminated Jewelry: This bill, S.4046, introduced by Senator Kevin Parker, will require jewelry containing 40 parts per million of lead to carry a warning that the jewelry “may be harmful if eaten or chewed” to notify consumers or parents of children wearing such jewelry that a potential hazard exists.

·       Promoting Solar Within Homeowners’ Associations: This bill, S.4742A, introduced by Senator Kevin Parker, will prohibit homeowners’ associations from restricting the installation or use of solar power systems while still while still granting them a role in the decision-making process.

·       Clearly Defining ‘Local’ For New York Agriculture Products: This bill, S.3829, introduced by Senator Jen Metzger, will direct the Department of Agriculture and Markets to establish guidelines for foods to be labelled as “local.” Currently, there is no statewide definition of “local” or “locally grown.” According to Packaged Facts, a market research firm, local foods generated $11.7 billion in sales in 2014, and will climb to $20.2 billion by 2019. Under this bill, consumers will have confidence that the products labeled as ‘local’ are truly local and from New York producers.

·        Increasing Tax Credits for Solar: This bill, S.752, introduced by Senator Velmanette Montgomery, will increase the allowable tax credit for the installation of solar energy system equipment.

·       Reducing Mercury in Mercury-added Lamps: This bill, S.2139B, introduced by Senator James Sanders, will ensure that mercury-added lamps sold in New York State do not contain excessive levels of mercury.

·       Saving Vulnerable Animal Species: This bill, S.5098, introduced by Senator Monica Martinez, will allow the state to protect species that do not currently enjoy protections on the state or federal level, but are at risk for such a listing, or even worse, extinction due to trade.

·      Bird-Friendly Building Council Act: This bill, S.25A, introduced by Senator Brad Hoylman, will create a “Bird-Friendly Building Council” in the Department of Environmental Conservation to address both existing buildings and new construction that threaten bird populations.

·       Promote Healthier Lifestyles: This bill, S.2767, introduced by Senator Leroy Comrie, will help promote a healthier lifestyle to all New Yorkers through an inter-disciplinary approach. Specifically, this legislation will encourage the expansion of community gardens and the availability of more fresh fruits and vegetables. This legislation will also direct the state and municipalities to develop more and safer bike lanes and multiple-use trails so as to encourage physical activity and reduce carbon emissions.

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