Efforts to repeal the SAFE Act topped Sen. Kathy Marchione’s legislative priorities this year, in addition to initiatives to reform government and support the agricultural industry.
Of the roughly 100 policy-related bills the Halfmoon Republican sponsored, a little more than half stalled in the committee. About 20 passed the Senate but not the Assembly, and another 15 were passed by both chambers.
In addition to an unsuccessful bill to repeal the SAFE Act outright, Marchione also sponsored a series of initiatives to attempt to chip away at portions of the 2013 law that limited magazines to seven rounds, banned the sale of military-style assault weapons and required people who owned them to either register them with State Police or modify them.
Marchione’s 43rd Senate District includes parts of Rensselaer, Saratoga and Washington counties and all of Columbia County.
Marchione’s office did not return three requests for comments about the highlights of the session. Information was obtained through her Facebook page and the state Senate website.
In a video message posted June 8 on her Facebook page, Marchione touted the Senate’s passage of legislation she sponsored to allow residents to inherit a semiautomatic rifle that is owned by a family member.
In addition, the legislation would repeal the requirement for a database of ammunition, prevent public disclosure of personal identifying information on firearm licenses and implement stronger due process provisions requiring notification if someone is placed on any list alleging mental health concerns that could affect their right to own firearms.
The bill would also shift the responsibility to oversee gun licensing back to local county clerks and shift control of the state’s pistol permit database away from State Police to an administrative agency.
“Without question, these reforms represent real progress in our right for freedom,” she said in the video. “Together, we took aim at the unconstitutional SAFE Act and took important steps towards restoring the important Second Amendment rights of law-abiding New Yorkers.”
Marchione’s legislation was not taken up in the Democrat-controlled Assembly.
Other firearms-related legislation Marchione sponsored during this session included bills to allow shooting preserves and clubs to sell ammunition for their exclusive use on the premises, to remove rifles and shotguns with thumbhole stocks from the definition of assault weapons and to provide a tax credits toward the purchase of gun safety equipment and gun safes.
While efforts to modify the gun laws were not successful, Marchione was more successful on some agricultural initiatives. Versions she introduced passed the Assembly and Senate, including a bill extending the STAR exemption to farms that are owned by an LLC, as long as they are the primary residence of their owners, and establishing a tax credit of 75 percent for farm vehicles using Thruway tolls.
Marchione also sponsored successful legislation to use money in the open space account to support the Historic Hudson-Hoosic Rivers Partnership, which is promoting tourism on local rivers.
Other bills that passed the Assembly and Senate include a bill to allow mutual aid agreements between counties for services by coroners and medical examiners and to require accurate reporting of crimes on college and university campuses. A bill to prohibit charging veterans additional fees if they want to put a designation that they are a veteran on their non-driver identification card or driver’s license also passed.
Marchione also sponsored a number of initiatives related to government operations and transparency, including a bill that would prohibit passage of legislation between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m. unless two-thirds of the Legislature is present and prohibits “messages of necessity” that waive the three-day waiting period for bills unless two-thirds of the body agrees.
The matter was referred to the Attorney General’s Office in January for an opinion, and no action has been taken since then.
Other legislation she introduced would call for a constitutional amendment to allow recall elections, require that documentation of statutory authority accompany any proposed rules prior to the public comment period and allow the state comptroller to audit other organizations that are directly or indirectly controlled by municipal entities. These bills also did not advance.
Marchione also introduced a number of bills related to crime and punishment, including requiring a 25-year minimum prison sentence in cases of predatory sexual assault against a child, allowing victims of a misdemeanor level crime to make a statement at the sentencing of the defendant in the case and enhancing penalties for people who have hindered prosecution.
In a move related to the shutting of the Mount McGregor Correctional Facility, Marchione once again introduced legislation to require the Legislature to sign off on any prison closures. She also introduced a bill to provide tax credits for travel expenses incurred by certain employees for the department of corrections and community supervision.
These bills also did not advance beyond the Senate or committee stage.
Marchione has been out and about in the district. Late last month, Marchione visited the groundbreaking of a health care facility in Copake, in southern Columbia County.
Also on Facebook, Marchione posted pictures of her and some of her colleagues in the Legislature wearing colorful socks in support of Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
Marchione also waded into the Skelos controversy.
On May 7, she posted to Facebook that she called on Sen. Dean Skelos to step down from his post as Senate majority leader. This was after Marchione initially said the chamber should not remove Skelos “for political reasons,” according to published reports.
Marchione said in her Facebook message that she supported Sen. John DeFrancisco of Syracuse as majority leader because he is from upstate and co-sponsored her bills to repeal the SAFE Act.
John Flanagan of Long Island was elected majority leader.