A Matter Of Personal Priorities

It was not without a small measure of fanfare that the State Assembly passed a bill this week designating yogurt as the official state snack. This was the same legislation that recently drew the attention of late-night comedians, who ridiculed the prolonged debate on the floor of the State Senate. However, for me, Wednesday’s activity was no laughing matter.


I was the only Assembly member who voted “No” on the yogurt bill. Yogurt production and the performance of the industry have been greatly successful and worthy of recognition. But, this is crunch time in Albany. We have four days remaining on the legislative calendar and this is our last opportunity to address measures that actually matter to the people we represent. Instead of ceremonial legislation, we need to address real priorities. There is no greater personal or professional priority for me than passing Brittany’s Law.

Brittany’s Law is named after Brittany Passalacqua, who was 12 years old when she and her mother, Helen Buchel, were senselessly murdered in Geneva in 2009. The killer, John Edward Brown, was out on parole after serving a prison term for a prior violent assault on his infant daughter in 2003. Ms. Buchel was unaware of Brown’s violent past.

The legislation (A.8916, Gunther, Kolb) would create a registry of violent felony offenders similar to the registry of sexual offenders established under “Megan’s Law.” It’s a proposal that can save lives, prevent crime and make communities across New York safer. Unfortunately, it is a proposal that continues to be irresponsibly stalled by Assembly Democrats.


Thanks to the hard work of Sen. Mike Nozzolio, Brittany’s Law has overwhelmingly passed the Senate five times. It has been introduced in the Assembly with bipartisan support every year since 2011, but has been blocked from moving to the floor. Friday, June 13 would have been Helen Buchel’s 39th birthday. The memories of Brittany and Helen should be honored by passage of law to prevent similar tragedies from taking place.

Brittany’s Law is one of several issues that need to be addressed before the 2014 Legislative Session ends. With the clock winding down, we have yet to enact effective measures on mandate relief, anti-corruption reform, women’s equality legislation or mixed martial arts – just to name a few.

While New Yorkers continue to wait for some sort of action on those issues, Albany placed a priority on yogurt.

What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

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