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Long Island Lawmakers Talk Legislative Priorities

Hans Pennink
The New York State Capitol in Albany

The legislative session in New York begins this week. Republicans hold a minority in both the State Senate and Assembly, but they have made it clear they want to address what they say are mistakes in the recently enacted criminal justice reform bill.

State Senator Phil Boyle of Bay Shore says some reforms make sense for nonviolent crimes.

“All of us agree, almost universally agree, there have to be some changes, some modifications. [For] a low-level drug [offense], a person shouldn’t have to sit in jail for weeks and months waiting for their trial to start.”

But Boyle says the reform bill also allows violent offenders to take advantage of no cash bail, and that needs to be fixed.

Meanwhile, State Senator Monica Martinez says water quality on Long Island is getting worse, and the state will have to do more to help.

“We have allocated a lot of money to start working on our sewer systems and that we do have the quality of water that we do deserve.”

She says groundwater on Long Island will require a regular source of funding to protect against pollution from nitrogen or carcinogenic chemicals like 1,4-dioxane.

Boyle and Martinez spoke on WSHU’s The Full Story.

Jay Shah is a former Long Island bureau chief at WSHU.