By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
If you’re a lawmaker looking to get a bill passed in the New York State Assembly, you’re going to have to get it past William Colton.
Colton, an 18-year veteran of the assembly, has been tapped by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to serve on the influential Rules Committee, the panel that serves as the gateway to any legislation proposed in the chamber.
The Rules Committee, which is chaired by Silver, is the panel that decides which bills are to be voted on by the legislators. All bills come before the Rules Committee. As a member of the committee, Colton will have a great influence over which bills will be introduced and debated on the assembly floor.
Colton (D-Gravesend-Bensonhurst-Bath Beach), a former teacher who first won election to the assembly in 1996, said he believes his appointment to the Rules Committee puts him in a position to better advocate for his southern Brooklyn constituents.
“There are still many issues facing the families of southwest Brooklyn. Infrastructure improvements need to be made, quality public school education needs to be preserved, and the overall quality of life for my constituents needs to be protected,” Colton said in a statement. “We are going to continue calling for better public transit, increased efforts to clean up local streets and parks, and fighting against the dangerous Gravesend Bay garbage station the city has proposed to build. These are only some of the issues I plan to be working on in this New Year.”
Colton was referring to the city’s Solid Waste Management Plan, approved by the City Council in 2006, which calls for the construction of a marine transfer station on the Gravesend Bay waterfront at Bay 47th Street in Bensonhurst. The plan calls for the Department of Sanitation to transport trash to the site by truck and then for the garbage to be compacted at the plant for shipment on barges to out-of-state landfills.
Colton and other opponents of the plan said the transfer station will increase truck traffic on the streets of Bensonhurst, resulting in an increase in air pollution. In addition, Colton charged that a project to dredge Gravesend Bay to accommodate the barges necessary to transport the trash out of the city will bring toxins at the bay’s floor to the surface.
The Rules Committee assignment is the second major post held by Colton in the legislative chamber. He also serves as the Majority Whip in the Democratic-controlled assembly.
His other committee assignments include: Ways and Means, Labor, Environmental Conservation, Government Employees and Correction.
“As a member of the influential assembly rules committee, in addition to my other committee memberships and my leadership position as the majority whip, I will continue fighting for the families of Gravesend, Bensonhurst, and Bath Beach,” Colton said. “As an elected official, I believe I have a duty to empower the people I represent. In Albany, I now will have greater power to do that, as I will have a greater role in deciding which legislation is introduced and debated on the assembly floor.”