LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

Engel pushes age discrimination bill

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Although it’s not likely to get very far on Capitol Hill, U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel voted last month to pass H.R. 1230, better known as the Protecting Older Americans Against Age Discrimination Act.

Engel described the bill as bipartisan, which he says will level the playing field for older workers and restore their rights to fight back against age discrimination in the work place.

Yet, the House vote wasn’t necessarily bipartisan. While all 227 Democrats casting a vote said yes, only 34 Republicans joined them. The other 154 rejected the measure.

“The Supreme Court erred 11 years ago when it unnecessarily raised the burden of proof for American workers who claim age discrimination. Our bill fixes that,” Engel said, in a release. “Age discrimination is real, and often gets overlooked when discussing workplace malpractice.

“This legislation, which passed with bipartisan support, brings back equity and fairness for older workers who’ve been wrongfully terminated due to their age, and I hope the Senate will adopt it quickly.”

Engel also used the current session to reinforce his stand on legalizing cannabis. During an Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee meeting last month, Engel talked about the need for federal regulations to catch up with what various states, like New York, are poised to do when it comes to marijuana.

“Many of the proposals under consideration today would help us move closer to the complete legalization of cannabis,” Engel told the subcommittee, citing the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, introduced by New York Democrat Hakeem Jeffries, designed to decriminalize marijuana and THC, and removing it from the list of Schedule 1 substances.

“It would also provide states with the necessary resources to expunge marijuana convictions, which have had a disproportionate impact on minority communities,” Engel said.

 

Biaggi targets repeat domestic violence offenders

State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi has introduced two bills in Albany that she says will protect victims of domestic abuse against the threat of gun violence, while holding repeat offenders accountable for domestic violence.

S.7125 creates a new crime of “domestic violence” in the penal code. It is expected to help bring the state in-line with federal laws that would prevent those convicted of such crimes the ability to access deadly firearms, by then including them in the FBI’s national database.

S.7127 is designed to allow prosecutors to access relevant sealed records of prior domestic violence cases if the offender commits a new domestic violence offense. That way, Biaggi said, appropriate contempt charges can be prosecuted for violations of past orders.

“Domestic violence and gun violence are intrinsically linked,” Biaggi said, in a release. “Every year, 600 women in the United States are tragically killed by an intimate partner using a firearm. The purpose of this bill is to ensure that convicted domestic abusers in New York are barred from purchasing a deadly firearm in any state. By creating an additional domestic violence misdemeanor that matches the criteria for an individual to be entered into the FBI’s (background check) system, we can better protect survivors of domestic violence against the threat of gun violence.”

There were nearly 30,000 reported incidents of domestic violence in the Bronx in 2018, Biaggi added.

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