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It's Time for the NYS Senate to Start Working

New York State senators for all intents and purposes work a no-show job. This year being a leap year, they will work one extra day. They will “work” 62 days with 304 paid days off on their salaried job when their session ends this week.

Last week we learned that the State Senate was considering decriminalizing marijuana found in a suspect’s pockets if a police officer was searching for something else, such as a weapon. Many people see that as a protection of a suspects Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendment Rights. The Fourth Amendment is the right to privacy, the Fifth is the right not to testify against yourself, and the Ninth addresses the rights of the people that are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

But many others see it as promoting the neighborhood drug dealer and worry that high school students will see it as wink and a nod from corrupt politicians that it is “okay.”

That is half of the story.

On April 9 of this year the Buffalo News reported; “Cuomo says advocates of medical marijuana legalization will have to wait at least another year to get their cause heard at the State Capitol.” Governor Andrew Cuomo continued; “I understand the benefits, or potential benefits, but I also understand the risks,” The governor said the issue is complicated and needs the proper time to study. That isn’t possible, he suggested, before lawmakers end their 2012 session in June.

“I don’t believe there’s going to be time in this legislative session to look at that issue,” Cuomo said.”I think the risks outweigh the benefits at this point,” adding that the state still has a “terrible” problem with drug abuse.

Somehow, in the State Senate a suspects rights, which the suspect should have, far out weigh a Cancer Patient’s medical treatment because there isn’t time in a work year that has 304 paid days off ?

How about relieving a Cancer Patient’s pain and weight loss with a medicine that could be produced by companies like AstraZeneca and Bayer (Aspirin comes from willow bark) and distributed by Walgreens and Rite Aide. The State Senate shouldn’t always be about politics first and people last. How about going back to work next week and only having 300 paid days off this year?

> John Duke, Buffalo

Duke served as Consumer Affairs Liaison (2007-2009) and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs (2011 – 2012) for the New York State Senate 60th District.

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