Less than Important Legislation of 2015 – No More Selfies With Tigers

A Legislative Column by Assemblyman Will Barclay
Here are some bills introduced by lawmakers that make some of us scratch our heads.

Even by Albany’s standards, these are a bit unbelievable.

I want to share a few with you this week.

A6145 – If some New York lawmakers have their way, Happy Meal toys will be banned.  A6145 proposes to “set nutrition standards for restaurants distributing incentive items aimed at children.”  In other words, if the meal does not meet certain nutritional guidelines, there cannot be a toy that accompanies the meal for kids.  This bill was voted out of the Assembly health committee and referred to the Assembly codes committee on April 28.  It could potentially come to the Assembly floor for a vote.

S0473 – Proposes that all dogs and their owners successfully complete obedience training. While obedience training can be beneficial for those who choose to take part, it isn’t the state’s business to mandate training. Further, some owners may not have access to dog obedience classes and would be required to travel long distances to find a class. Also, who determines if the dog has been successfully trained?

A6450 – Proposes the “bird friendly building council act.” This would establish a council to promote the use of bird-friendly building materials and design features. This legislation was drafted due to the amount of birds that apparently collide with buildings. While no one likes to see this happen, I’m not sure a “bird friendly building council” would actually accomplish their aim.

A2320B – Proposes that sugar-sweetened beverages be labeled with a safety warning. Nutritionists and health care workers have long known that too much sugar coupled with not enough exercise contributes to obesity. Indeed, just about everyone knows this. It is hard to see how a safety warning is going to educate anyone on this issue.

A0111A – Proposes to prohibit the use of a portable electronic device (cell phone or other device) while operating a bicycle. This bill is an example of government creating laws where we do not need them. It’s common sense that you need two hands to safely operate a bicycle.

Last year, New York legislature passed a ban on selfies taken with tigers. Apparently, some men were trying to look appealing on dating sites by taking their picture up close with a jungle cat. Sadly, this bill took up important time during our part-time six-month session in 2014 and the Governor signed it into law. We made international news with this one. I hope we can readjust our priorities and my colleagues in Albany can see that more important legislation is passed before the end of session.

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