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Stefanik votes to classify PFOA as hazardous

Politics Week in Review

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, voted in favor of bipartisan legislation to designate PFOA and PFOA as hazardous substances.

The bill, which passed the House of Representatives 249-57, would require the Environmental Protection Agency to classify perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances under the Superfund act. It would also require the Environmental Protection Agency to make a determination on all remaining PFAS chemicals within five years and develop a drinking water standard.

Algal bloom resources sought

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is urging the Army Corps of Engineers to provide funding for a statewide effort to stop the spread of harmful algal blooms.

Schumer helped obtain $24 million in federal funding for the corps’ Aquatic Plant Control Program and the $16 million for Aquatic Nuisance Research Program. Both of these initiatives work to combat and understand the spread of harmful algal blooms, which occur when there is a build-up of excessive nutrients in a lake. A photosynthesizing bacteria called cyanobacteria reacts with the nutrients, sunlight and warm water to turn the water green.

These blooms can product fatal toxins ingested by people, aquatic life and even pets, according to a news release. There were over 1,130 reports of harmful algal blooms in New York state in 2019.

So far, there have not been any algal blooms in Lake George, but the state has listed the lake has high risk for a bloom. A study by the Jefferson Project showed algae growth in part of Lake George and scientists worry that high nutrient levels could spark a bloom.

5G and beyond

Legislation to protect the next generation of wireless telecommunications technology overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives last week.

The Secure 5G and Beyond Act would require the administration to develop a national strategy to protect U.S. consumers by securing these telecommunications systems and assisting its international allies to do the same.

Cobb under fire

The North Country Anti-War Working Group has criticized NY-21 Democratic candidate Tedra Cobb for not opposing the military strike against Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

Corey McGrath of the North Country Anti-War Working Group wrote a letter dated Jan. 10 to North Country Now, a news website in St. Lawrence County, stating that the assassination of Soleimani was an opportunity to present herself as a clear alternative to the incumbent, Stefanik.

“It boggles the mind why Cobb would not take a clear and explicit stand against one of the most senseless of all senseless wars,” he said in the letter. “If Cobb wishes to represent the progressives of NY-21 in Congress, she needs to be the progressive we would like.”

The Cobb campaign did not return a message seeking comment. In a statement issued last week, Cobb said that Soleimani is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people and the United States’ actions in the region have escalated tensions in the region. However, she did not condemn the strike.

Prison to Proprietorship

Stefanik voted in favor of the Prison to Proprietorship Act.

The legislation, which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 370-41, would require women’s small business centers and small business development centers to provide entrepreneurship counseling and training services in people incarcerated in a minimum- low- or medium-security prison, according to Congress.gov.

Controlling costs

The Empire Center for Public Policy criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo for implying, in last week’s State of the State Address, that he might shift more costs for Medicaid to local governments.

New York state is facing a $6 billion budget gap — about half of which is due to Medicaid costs.

Bill Hammond, director of policy for the fiscally conservative think tank, pointed out that New York already shifts more of its Medicaid costs to local governments than any other state. The state has frozen the local share since 2015. The total cost is $7.6 billion, which includes $5.3 billion from New York City and $2.3 billion from the rest of the state.

In a 2018 report, Hammond said he believes the most plausible approach is to slowly phase out the local share of the costs over a period of 10 years and try to make up the difference through more efficiencies. He cited an audit by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli that found the Health Department spent $1.3 billion over six years on Medicaid managed care premiums for recipients who already had health insurance.

Braymer kickoff

Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Claudia Braymer will kick off her run for Assembly on Tuesday.

The event will take place at 3:30 p.m. at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls.

Braymer, a Democrat, is seeking the seat currently held by Republican Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury. He is not seeking re-election because he is running for the 45th Senate seat to replace retiring Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury.

Two Republican candidates have also announced that they are running for the Assembly seat: Supervisor-at-Large Doug Beaty and town of Horicon Supervisor Matt Simpson. Former Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood is also weighing a run but has not formally announced.

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