Lawmakers await Cuomo to sign tobacco bill


Lawmakers are waiting for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to add his signature to a bill that will raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products in New York from 18 to 21.

The bill passed the Assembly in March, and overwhelmingly in the senate earlier this month. It was heralded by the American Lung Association, which noted the law would simply unify many existing local laws in the state that already has raised the purchase age of cigarettes and the like to 21.

Elizabeth Hamlin-Berninger, the New York advocacy director for the lung association, said in a release that 28 percent of New York high school students said they used a tobacco product in 2017.

“But with the governor’s signature on this legislation, we hope to dramatically reduce those numbers, and save the lives of thousands of New Yorkers by stopping them from beginning a dangerous and lifelong addiction to tobacco,” Hamlin-Berninger added.


Biaggi gearing up for first bill signed by governor

The legislature is back in session next week, and state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi is close to getting one of her first introduced bills signed by the governor.

Biaggi’s bill requiring charter schools to offer feminine hygiene products for free to students passed the senate unanimously, and stormed through the Assembly 132-9.

The bill would fix an oversight in the 2018-19 state budget that required all public schools provide feminine hygiene products, but failed to include charter schools in that requirement, according to a staff analysis by the Assembly.

If signed by the governor as expected, the act would go in effect July 1, ahead of the 2019-20 academic year.

Biaggi has introduced more than 60 bills in her first session, with a vast majority of them still in committee. Another bill close to a floor vote is one that would help people fighting gambling addiction issues.

Andrew Cuomo, American Lung Association, Elizabeth Hamlin-Berninger, Alessandra Biaggi, Michael Hinman,