Hochul Aims at Social Media, Retail Theft & Cannabis Issues, Migrant Crisis Remains Unaddressed

Key Takeaways:

• Governor Hochul’s new policies focus on empowering local governments and mitigating social media’s impact on teenagers.
• No specific strategies for managing New York City’s migrant crisis were included in the policy book.
• Measures that Adams supports, such as combating unlicensed cannabis sellers and retail theft, are part of the policies.
• Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul to collaborate on budget plans to address the migrant situation.

Governor Kathy Hochul brought forth several new measures in her State of the State address on Tuesday. The policies, which aim to empower local governments and counter the negative influence of social media on teenagers, were generally well-received by Mayor Adams. However, the governor made no specific mention of how to handle the ongoing migrant crisis in New York City, a conspicuous omission.

Crackdown on Unlicensed Cannabis Sellers

Included in Hochul’s 180-page policy book are plans to tackle issues of unlicensed cannabis sellers and retail theft. The mayor had previously expressed concern over these matters. The presence of unlicensed weed stores in the city has surged since cannabis was legalized for recreational use in 2021.

The governor plans to “strengthen enforcement authority to expedite the closure of unlicensed businesses and deter this illicit activity” according to her policy book. Legislation to enhance the ability of state and local governments to close down these unlicensed entities is also on the table. This move aligns with Mayor Adams’ recent call for better regulations against unlicensed cannabis stores, making it a significant win for him.

Addressing Retail Theft and Social Media Influence

Also highlighted in Hochul’s policy proposals is the dominantly alarming trend of increasing shoplifting incidents. Recent statistics show a sharp rise of 58% in larcenies since 2017. In her plans, a team of dedicated state police will be mandated to build cases against organized theft rings. Hochul has also proposed the formation of a joint task force to synchronize efforts with local law enforcement and district attorneys.

To deal with the potential harm of social media on teenagers, Hochul seeks to penalize social media companies that leverage “addictive” algorithms. Her proposed bill would prohibit social media firms from using such feeds with users under 18 unless they have parental consent. Violations of this rule would lead to civil penalties amounting up to $5,000 per instance, with the state Attorney General granted the power to prosecute these cases.

The Migrant Crisis Remains Unresolved

Despite these ambitious measures, the policy book conspicuously lacks any mention of New York City’s migrant crisis, a significant issue that Mayor Adams has been grappling with for close to two years. A large number of asylum seekers had sought shelter at Manhattan’s E. 7th St. facility on Jan. 6, 2024, highlighting the scale of this humanitarian issue.

Acknowledging the blip, Governor Hochul promised during her Albany address more attention would be given to the migrant crisis in the next week’s presentation of her budget plans. She said, “We both agree this is a national problem”, indicating she and Mayor Adams are aligned on this issue.

In response, Adams expressed his readiness to work alongside the Governor, stating, “We’re going to work together to come to a real number to deal with the financial cost of this.”

Adams, while not specifying the amount of state aid he wants for migrants from Hochul’s upcoming budget, said his budget manager is in discussions with the Governor’s team. Regardless, it seems both parties are intent on reaching a solid plan to address New York City’s ongoing migrant crisis soon.

Source: [NY Daily News]


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