Reed, Ortt, Borrello call for repeal of Green Light law

"It's having direct impacts on our security here"

WBEN Newsroom
July 09, 2020 - 2:05 pm
George Borrello, Tom Reed, Rob Ortt

NYS Senator George Borrello, Rep. Tom Reed, NYS Senator Rob Ortt/WBEN Photo

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Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - With the Buffalo lighthouse and the shoreline of Lake Erie at their backs, a contingent of Republican lawmakers joined forces Thursday in calling for the repeal of the Green Light law in New York State.

Among the provisions of the controversial law, it prohibits the Department of Motor Vehicles from sharing information with U.S. Department of Homeland Security, preventing DHS from fully vetting New York residents. And the concerns don't stop on land, says this group of lawmakers.  There are real security concerns on NYS waterways as well.

"It's having direct impacts on our security here," says Rep. Tom Reed who represents a portion of the western southern tier.  Reed says federal authorities like the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Border Patrol are blind when approaching vessels on Lake Erie due to the provision in the law.  "It is a class e felony to share information," says Reed.

Reed and New York State Senator George Borrello spent time with officials from the Coast Guard Thursday and were briefed on security concerns the Green Light law presents.

Along with the recreational boating activities in the Great Lakes, Borrello says the Coast Guard told them there are serious crimes occurring in the water that connects the U.S. and Canada.  "Cash, human being and drugs," says Borrello, make up a large part of the criminal activity moving across the border according to the Coast Guard.  "Cocaine moving north and marijuana moving south," he added.

Borrello, Reed and New York State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt realize the political environment in Albany doesn't present a tangible opportunity to see the law repealed, but say that shouldn't stop them from pointing out the real security concerns the law presents and for asking that some sort of compromise to be negotiated.

"They are more concerned with the rights and protections of those folks who put the public safety at risk than they are with the laws of the land than with the people who are charged with protesting the public," Ortt says in referencing the Democratic controlled NYS Legislature and Executive branch. 

"We know that the Coast Guard and federal authorities were not consulted at all," says Ortt of the Green Light legislation. 

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