EDITORIAL: Gun study bills raise questions

EDITORIAL: Gun study bills raise questions

PHOTOGRAPHER: Shutterstock Image You know when you take a piece of meat out of the fridge that’s been in there a couple of days, and it has a kind of funky smell, but you decide it’s probably good and you go ahead and cook it anyway? That’s the feeling we get from two bills that passed the state Assembly this week, one setting up a fund to study gun violence (A2111/S5952 ) and another ( A7302/S2981 ) establishing a research institute at SUNY into gun violence. Like that funky pork chop, this seems like it should be OK, but is it really? The problem isn’t the concept of studying gun violence, but the bills themselves. The bill setting up the fund says the money will come from, at least in part, voluntary donations made by taxpayers through their income tax forms, a notoriously unreliable source of funding. The money then will be distributed to the state Department of Health and the state university system. At the new research institute, the money will be used to award grants for research — not through competitive bidding or request for proposals, but at the discretion of the state health commissioner and the SUNY chancellor. No formal budget and a non-competitive bidding process for state grants? That smells like an opportunity for wasteful spending and political favoritism. For a government office without a dedicated funding source or budget, the new institute at SUNY has a very expansive mission — covering everything from educating […]

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