From raising Lyme disease awareness to a law eliminating the tax on feminine hygiene products, here’s a recap of what some of our local lawmakers have been up to recently.
New York State Assemblyman Ron Castorina Jr., along with advocate Robert C. Sabatino, held a press event last month to raise awareness about Lyme disease.
“It is urgent for our community to take certain precautionary measures necessary for ensuring one is not bitten by a tick carrying the disease. Using bug repellent or wearing long-sleeve shirts while outdoors are some examples of that,” Castorina (R-South Shore) said. “The common misconception is that deer only carry these types of ticks, whereas that is not the case — birds, mice and other animals are likely to carry it too.”
Lyme is difficult to detect. But if a tick bite is properly treated within the first 48 hours of contact, any side effects of the disease can be prevented.
“Education and awareness are key in fighting Lyme disease,” Sabatino, of Bulls Head, said. “During these hot months we must be aware and diligent to check ourselves and our children for ticks.”
Sabatino, 46, a retired NYPD officer and father of four children, lives with Lyme disease, which has caused a wide range of debilitating medical conditions.
“We have seen a 67 percent increase in incidences of Lyme Disease on Staten Island over the past few years,” she said. “With the increase in deer population and the many beautiful wooded parks in our borough, we want people to take the proper steps to prevent a tick bite, as well as detect and treat Lyme disease should they be affected.”
Borough President James Oddo has warned of being aware of ticks in the “Borough of Parks,” and has launched a social media campaign to get the word out on preventing tick bites.
ISSUES FACING SOUTH ASIAN COMMUNITY
Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island) met with a contingent from the Alliance of South Asian American Labor (ASAAL) to discuss issues currently facing the South Asian American community on Staten Island.
Maf Misbah Uddin, president and founder of ASAAL, brought forth several critical issues for the South Asian community on Staten Island, chief among them problems of drugs and domestic violence.
“It brings me great optimism that we have a tremendous partner in ASAAL overcoming the issues of drug abuse and domestic violence on Staten Island,” Cusick said.
In addition to these issues, Cusick and ASAAL leadership discussed legislation affecting the South Asian American workforce, as well as upcoming voter registration efforts and community festivals planned for later this year.
The goals of the alliance are to promote the interests of the South Asian American community, to fight back against discrimination, and to improve employment & business opportunities for Americans of South Asian descent.
NO SALES TAX ON FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS
On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo today signed legislation that eliminates sales tax on feminine hygiene products. The bill was passed by the New York State Legislature in May.
The bill exempts these products from local and state sales tax.
“This is a regressive tax on essential products that women have had to pay for far too long and lifting it is a matter of social and economic justice,” Cuomo said.
Feminine hygiene products have been taxable since the state sales tax was first instituted in 1965, even as a wide variety of other goods, such as dietary and family planning products, have been exempt.
State Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn) and Malliotakis applauded Cuomo for signing the legislation.
“The repeal of this tax is long overdue. Medical and pharmaceutical products, like bandages and condoms, are already tax-free and feminine hygiene products should also be. This is welcome news for the girls and women of our state,” Malliotakis said.
Savino added: “This is a terrific end to another section of our antiquated tax system. These products go beyond the premise of a luxury item, but a medical necessity. I am thrilled that Gov. Cuomo and my colleagues are leading the way to ensure this discriminatory tax ends.”