Advocates Demand Senate Action on Speed Cameras, Abortion Protections

Speaking to the press outside the Municipal Building, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick calls on the state Senate to pass her bills on abortion rights and the extention of a speed camera program in school zones. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Jul. 17, 2018

Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, along with other elected officials and advocates, are demanding that state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Republican, call senators back to Albany for a vote on two bills they say are critical to the protection of women and children.

On Tuesday, with only eight days left before school zone speed cameras are turned off on New York City streets, they called on Flanagan to bring a bill to the floor that would keep the cameras operating and allow the installation of as many as 50 more. The other measure, the Reproductive Health Act, would move abortion out of the criminal code and into health regulations as well as eliminate some current state restrictions on abortion.

Glick is the sponsor of both bills, which have passed handily in the Democrat-majority state Assembly. But Republicans, who narrowly control the Senate, have not taken up the bills for a vote. “This is unacceptable,” Glick said at a press conference outside the Municipal Building, with reproductive rights and traffic safety advocates at her side. “The lives of women and children are not pawns in a political game.”

“This is not Chicken Little saying the sky is falling,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, referring to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court and fears that Roe v. Wade will be reversed. “The sky has fallen and we have to pick up the pieces.”

State Sen. Brian Kavanagh, who like Glick represents Lower Manhattan, noted that the two bills have stalled in the Senate because some members oppose them while many others would rather “hide behind the majority” than cast a “no” vote.

“Again, again and again the Senate Republicans used undemocratic means to prevent their members from standing up and voting yes or no on these bills,” Kavanagh said.

“Respectfully, Sen. Flanagan,” demanded Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, “put the darn bill on the floor!”

Legislation passed in 2014 allowed the experimental use of speed cameras in 140 school zones until July 25, 2018. Advocates, who want to see the program extended and expanded, say the cameras have been a success, contributing to a 63 percent reduction in speeding and 28 percent fewer deaths.

Holding a photo of her daughter, Ella, who at age 23 was fatally injured by a reckless driver, Judy Kottick noted that success. “Improving the safety of our streets is too late for our family members but not for yours,” said Kottick, a co-founder of the advocacy group Families for Safe Streets. “That’s why we’re here.”

A spokesman for Flanagan did not respond to a request for comment.