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Legislative Memo

BILL:

A.3420 (Sweeney)/S.862 (Marcellino)

Support

SUBJECT:

“New York State Public Health Protection Act”

 

DATE:

May 24, 2010

 

This bill creates a new directive for the state to take precautionary measures to protect public health and the environment where threats of harm to human health or the environment exist, even if there is a lack of full scientific certainty about cause and effect.

Adoption of this bill would establish regulatory guidelines for public safety not based on scientific verification, but standards centered on the possibility or potential of harm to public health and the environment. This could necessitate precautionary measures for almost anything, including minor business operations that pose little or no impact to public health.

This approach would stifle innovation and investment in high-tech industry, biotechnology, and other scientific endeavors that play a crucial role in the socioeconomic growth of New York. Businesses engaged in research and development will not want to take any risks in their projects for fear of being tagged as a threat to public health. The last thing this state needs is another policy that will push research and development away. 

While this legislation is well intentioned, it directs the state to take precautionary public health measures based on uncertainty, and would inhibit business innovation and development. For theses reasons the Business Council opposes A.3420/S.862 and recommends that it not be adopted.