Nassau Democrats accuse GOP of obstructing legislation

Nassau County Democrats accused Republicans Thursday of blocking legislation that could affect the health and safety of residents.

The bills include a proposal to regulate liquid nicotine for e-cigarettes, another banning the sale of personal care products containing environmentally unfriendly microbeads and a plan to raise the smoking age to 21. 

Those bills and others were proposed by Nassau Democrats this year, but they never reached the floor. Critics blamed Republicans who control the Legislature for preventing discussion on all of them.

"We're not asking for these bills to pass," says Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams. "We understand they need debate and discussion. That's what is healthy for this county. What we're asking for is that they get the debate and the discussion -- that they actually get to the floor." 

In Suffolk County, all bills are brought to the Legislature for consideration. But in Nassau the presiding officer chooses what's brought to the floor.

Nassau's presiding officer, Republican Norma Gonsalves, denies that she's trying to stymie the Democrats.

"The Nassau Democrats are unable to advance their proposed legislation because their proposals fail on legal, financial or policy grounds, are sloppily drafted, and show no regard for the financial impact on taxpayers and businesses," she says.

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