State pols eye NYC coun­cil

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By David Klep­per

AL­BANY, N.Y. » In New York state gov­ern­ment news, three law­mak­ers are closer to mak­ing a move to the New York City Coun­cil, open­ing up va­can­cies in the Assem­bly and Se­nate.

Mean­while, the Se­nate is plan­ning a hear­ing on iden­tity theft, a timely topic af­ter a mas­sive breach at the credit-mon­i­tor­ing firm Equifax ex­posed sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion of about 143 mil­lion Amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing 8 mil­lion New York­ers.

A look at what’s com­ing up:

SHORTER COM­MUTE, MORE MONEY

Three more state law­mak­ers ap­pear headed to the New York City Coun­cil, open­ing up va­can­cies in Al­bany.

State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. and Assem­bly­man

Mark Gjonaj, both of the Bronx, and Assem­bly­man Fran­cisco Moya, of Brook­lyn, all won Demo­cratic pri­mary elec­tions for City Coun­cil on Tues­day. Moya does not face any gen­eral elec­tion op­po­si­tion and the other two are ex­pected to win in Novem­ber in heav­ily Demo­cratic New York City. If that hap­pens, they will be re­placed in a spe­cial elec­tion.

It might seem odd to give up a state leg­isla­tive post for lo­cal gov­ern­ment, but in ad­di­tion to skip­ping out on the com­mute to Al­bany, mem­bers of the City Coun­cil make a lot more than their col­leagues in the state Capi­tol: $148,000, com­pared to the base leg­isla­tive salary of $79,500.

Two other state sen­a­tors have re­cently de­parted. Former Demo­cratic state Sen. Bill Perkins, of Man­hat­tan, was elected to the City Coun­cil ear­lier this year. State Sen. Daniel Squadron, D-Brook­lyn, an­nounced he’s mov­ing to the pri­vate sec­tor.

D’AMATO JOINS MAR­I­JUANA GROUP

Former Repub­li­can U.S. Sen. Al­fonse D’Amato has be­come a se­nior ad­viser to a lead­ing mar­i­juana pol­icy or­ga­ni­za­tion.

D’Amato is join­ing the Mar­i­juana Pol­icy Project, which just an­nounced the for­ma­tion of a New York af­fil­i­ate. The project, long ac­tive on the na­tional stage, fa­vors mar­i­juana le­gal­iza­tion but is start­ing out with an eas­ier goal in New York state: im­prov­ing the state’s fledg­ling med­i­cal cannabis pro­gram.

Un­der that pro­gram, pa­tients with cer­tain qual­i­fy­ing con­di­tions may re­ceive per­mis­sion from their doc­tors to ob­tain non-smoke­able forms of mar­i­juana at state-reg­u­lated dis­pen­saries. It be­gan as one of the na­tion’s most strict med­i­cal mar­i­juana pro­grams, but Demo­cratic Gov. An­drew Cuomo’s ad­min­is­tra­tion has al­ready made changes to in­crease pa­tient ac­cess.

D’Amato says he wants to work to make the states pro­gram “the best in the coun­try.”

IDEN­TITY THEFT

New York’s Se­nate is plan­ning a Sept. 26 hear­ing on ways to pro­tect the public from iden­tity theft, shortly af­ter a mas­sive breach at the credit mon­i­tor­ing com­pany Equifax ex­posed the sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion of about 143 mil­lion Amer­i­cans.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Sch­nei­der­man said that in­cludes 8 mil­lion New York­ers af­fected by the cy­ber­at­tack. He says his of­fice is in­ves­ti­gat­ing how cy­ber­crim­i­nals were able to ac­cess per­sonal data in­clud­ing So­cial Se­cu­rity num­bers, birth­dates and driver’s li­cense num­bers.

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