by Brandon Missig
July 21, 2015, Legislative Gazette
A bill that would ban smoking in or on the grounds of any public housing unit in New York is being pushed by Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix Ortiz, a Brooklyn Democrat.
Ortiz said he wrote the bill hoping to eliminate smoking on the grounds of all public housing in New York.
The bill would require that 50 percent of public housing immediately prohibit smoking with additional units going smoke free, starting with vacancies. Any public housing constructed after the passage of the bill will be smoke free. By January of 2020, all public housing units in New York will be smoke-free, under the proposed law.
“I first introduced this bill in 2005 in an effort to bring greater public health conditions to our residents in public housing units,” Ortiz said, “and I will continue fighting for its passage until all public housing is smoke free.”
Efforts to ban smoking nationwide have been endorsed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Since 2011, Boston, Minneapolis, Portsmouth, Va., Annapolis, Md., and 30 municipalities in California have all enacted smoking bans in public housing.