Local News for Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Ithaca and Tompkins County Looks to Diversify Police Force

The Community Justice Center announced a new effort yesterday to recruit and retain a diverse pool of police officers and sheriff’s deputies. Monalita Smiley is the director of the center which is charged with implementing Tompkins County and City of Ithaca’s joint Reimagining Public Safety Initiative. She says, “Having a more diverse local police force would have a huge impact.” Her office is asking the public for ideas about how to build a local police force with “diverse lived experiences around race, gender, and sexuality.” Tompkins Sheriff Derek Osborne says that it’s harder than ever to find talented people who want to work in law enforcement and hailed the effort as a way to expand the reach of recruitment to more diverse communities. 

Another Opioid Settlement for Schuyler County

At a meeting on Monday, the Schuyler County Legislature approved a settlement with drug distributor Teva Pharmaceuticals for claims that the company contributed to the ongoing opioid epidemic. Teva and its subsidiaries will pay up to $116,000 to Schuyler County over the next 17 years. Schuyler County DA Steve Getman says potential uses of the funds include “supporting police and first  responders” and “treating opioid  addiction.” To date, the county has brought in more than $800,000 in settlements from big pharma over the epidemic.

Constitutional Amendment to Protect Abortion Care Advances in Albany

Yesterday the Democratic majority in the State Senate approved an Equal Rights Amendment to New York’s constitution which will go before voters to ratify in November of 2024. The amendment would reinforce and expand on rights to abortion care and contraception and add several protected classes to the state constitution’s equal protection clause. These include ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, and sex, which includes sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive healthcare and autonomy. The 52nd District’s Lea Webb took an active role on the issue as the Chair of the Senate’s Women’s Issues Committee.  

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