Capitol Watch: Hygiene products in jails; vacant Senate seat
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — In New York state government news, the first official candidate for a vacant Senate seat is promising to work to clean up Albany, and there’s a renewed push to provide free feminine hygiene products in schools and emergency shelters.
A look at stories making news:
Brooklyn Democrat Daniel Squadron’s departure from the state Senate will deprive that body of one of its leading voices for ethics and campaign finance reform, but a candidate to replace him is promising to pick up the mantle.
Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, a Manhattan Democrat, announced his candidacy the same day Squadron announced his resignation. Kavanagh, now serving his fifth term in the Assembly, cited his work to reform “New York’s broken election and campaign finance system, and standing up to special interests.”
He’s the first contender to announce his campaign for the seat, which represents portions of Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. It’s considered safe territory for the Democrats. The winner will be decided in November.
Squadron announced Wednesday that he was taking a job working on political reform at the national level. He’ll be working with Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs and Hyatt hotels heir Adam Pritzker to address what he called “a growing divide — based on geography, background, opportunity and even truth — that threatens our democracy and our future.”
New York’s local police lock-ups will now be required to provide free feminine hygiene products, but one state lawmaker wants even broader changes.
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, said she will work to pass legislation next year requiring free tampons at emergency shelters and schools as well.
Feminine hygiene products are already provided at state and county correctional facilities. Local police detention facilities will follow suit following a decision by the state’s Commission on Correction. Rosenthal said she wants to codify the new regulation in law.
“Ensuring prisoners’ access to menstrual hygiene products is not only meeting a basic health need, it is ensuring that prisoners are treated with dignity and humanity,” said Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal was the driving force behind legislation in 2016 that eliminated the sales tax on feminine hygiene products.
SUPPORT FOR SENATE LEADER
Senate Leader John Flanagan is earning more praise for his frank admission about his struggles with alcohol.
The Long Island Republican announced earlier this month that he sought treatment after realizing his drinking was “becoming a crutch.”
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo quickly praised the leader for seeking help and serving as an example for others.
Flanagan’s frequent political rival, Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, tweeted that “John is a good man and I admire his courage. It is my hope that his bravery encourages others who need help to seek it out.”
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb of Canandaigua also expressed admiration for his fellow Republican’s courage in discussing “a deeply personal issue.”
“His actions should inspire others to seek help and support with their own unique challenges,” Kolb said. “I wish him my heartfelt support and best wishes.”