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Goodell Takes Issue With Composition Of Task Force

Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, is not happy that a cyberbullying task force may not have any Republican representation.

A.2206 passed the state Assembly 145-2, with Goodell voting in favor of the legislation. But the Jamestown Republican did take issue with the task force’s composition before casting his vote. The task force will include nine members — five appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and two each by the Assembly majority leader and the Senate majority leader.

That could leave Republicans out in the cold. Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-Poughkeepsie, disagreed with Goodell’s thought that Republicans were likely to be shut out from the task force.

“Since cyberbullying is not a partisan issue and these are the leaders of these two bodies, I don’t really interpret this as leaving out the minority,” Barrett said. “I think we have representation from both legislative houses and the governor.”

“So my question, again, is why do we not have an appointment from the minority leader in each house as well?” Goodell asked.

“Because elections have consequences,” Barrett responded.

Task force members are to identify the most common victims of cyberbullying, common mediums used in cyberbullying and ways to address cyberbullying. The task force would then give suggestions to the governor and state Legislature how the state can help lessen cyberbullying.

In her legislative justification Barrett noted that the National Crime Prevention Council reports that 43% of students have reported being victims of cyberbullying and many of them experience it more than once.

While Goodell voted for the task force, he used his comments on the bill before the Assembly’s vote to ask again for Republicans to be included on the task force since 30% of the state is represented by Republican legislators.

“Now I understand that elections have consequences, and in my district it was a Republican Assemblyman and a Republican Senator that were elected, not a Democratic Assemblyman — there have been many who have tried,” Goodell said.

“And in the past we have had some very fine Democrat Assemblymembers from my district. But if we really want to have an effective commission that looks at the entire state, not just Democratic districts, but the entire state, then we ought to have a Republican, at least one Republican, appointed by the minority leaders in the Senate and the Assembly? Is there any magic about a commission that has nine members? What, we can’t have one with 11? That’s too unwieldy? It would be nice to have a little bit of respect for the fact that millions of New Yorkers are represented here in the Assembly and in the Senate by a Republican legislator and that we are also concerned about cyberbullying.”

Companion legislation, S.623, has been passed by the Internet and Technology Committee but has not made it to the floor of the Senate.

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