Thursday, October 9, 2014

Group ranks state legislators' environmental records

Posted By on Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 3:47 PM

Environmental Advocates of New York has released its annual scorecard for state legislators, and Democrats in the Rochester delegation outscored their Republican counterparts.

Environmental Advocates bases the scores around legislation it has identified as priorities. Legislators get points for the "correct" vote, whether it's in favor of legislation the organization supports or against legislation it opposes. Legislators get more points for correct votes on higher-priority bills. Some of the legislation that EANY supported included a fracking moratorium, an act to boost solar power in New York, brownfield program reform, and a ban on plastic microbeads in consumer products.

Democratic Assembly members Joe Morelle and Harry Bronson received perfect scores, making them the two highest-ranked members of the local Assembly and Senate delegation. Republican Assembly member Bill Nojay received a 23, making him one of the lowest-scoring members of his chamber and putting him at the bottom of the local delegation.

In its press release announcing the scores, EANY said that legislators passed important legislation this year, including a law to help local communities plan for the effects of climate change. But it also called out Senate leaders for bottling up a bill with broad bipartisan support. The Child Safe Products Act would have banned a list of toxic chemicals from children's toys, clothing, and furniture. It was sponsored by a Republican and co-sponsored by a handful of GOP senators. Yet once it passed the Senate's environmental committee, Republican leader Dean Skelos wouldn't allow it to the floor for a vote.

“There were some bright spots in this year’s legislative session, and we have started to see the emergence of true environmental leadership in the Senate," Peter Iwanowicz, EANY's executive director, said in the press release. "But too often in 2014, advocates and our legislative partners spent too much time swatting away bad ideas from one party or another – or beating back special interest giveaways – rather than moving our state forward. New Yorkers are proud of our clean air, water, and public health traditions, and ongoing attempts to roll them back are out of touch.”

Below is an overview of the Rochester delegation's scores. EANY's scorecard, in its entirety, is available here.

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