Safe and Secure Communities
Congresswoman Lowey believes citizens have the basic right to live in communities free from fear and violence. That is why she is working to:
- Enhance the safety of rail grade crossings and the transport of hazardous materials via rail;
- Strengthen oversight of the Indian Point Energy Center;
- Advance commonsense gun safety initiatives;
- Keep college students safe;
- Protect children from predators;
- Combat heroin use;
- Eliminate drunk driving; and
- Ensure law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMTs are trained and equipped to keep our community safe.
Following fatal Metro-North accidents, Lowey led a moment of silence on the House floor to honor the victims, and has been working with federal officials to find solutions to what has become a recurring safety threat in New York’s 17th Congressional District and nationwide. Lowey has:
- Passed an amendment to increase to $350 million the set-aside for grade crossing improvements in the Highway Safety Improvement Program;
- Passed a provision to set aside $6.5 million for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop a high-visibility enforcement paid-media campaign that supports highway-rail grade crossing safety;
- Co-sponsored HR 705, which passed the House on March 4, 2015, as part of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act (PRRIA), to improve grade crossing safety;
- Spoken with National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials about exploring investments in new technologies to detect objects on tracks; and
- Vowed to protect and increase funding for Positive Train Control and rail crossing safety initiatives in her role as Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee.
Safe Rail Transport of Crude Oil
Dozens of tank cars carrying explosive crude oil pass through Rockland County each day, threatening homes, schools, and businesses. To improve the safe transport of hazardous materials via rail, Lowey has:
- Successfully enacted an amendment directing the Department of Energy to examine methods to reduce the volatility of crude oil prior to shipment;
- Introduced a bill to ban interstate rail shipment of high-volatility crude and require federal agencies to set a national volatility standard for crude oil when shipped via rail;
- Co-sponsored the Crude-by-Rail Safety Act that would establish new, commonsense federal safety standards for rail cars transporting crude oil across the country; and
- Included language in a Fiscal Year 2015 spending bill and urged the President and DOT to expedite a final rule on new crude oil tank car standards, which was announced in May 2015.
Congresswoman Lowey remains deeply skeptical that Indian Point Energy Center's continued operation is in the best interests of families and businesses in our densely-populated region. To help prevent a worst case scenario for the Lower Hudson Valley and New York City metro area, Lowey has:
- Introduced legislation to require NRC to award grants for emergency preparedness when the agency collects safety-related fines from nuclear facilities;
- Introduced legislation to require the NRC to evaluate aging power plants to be re-licensed with the same stringent criteria used to license new plants; and
- Called on NRC to not renew Indian Point's license.
Congresswoman Lowey believes individuals have the right to own firearms, but commonsense regulations are critical to keeping our community safe. That is why she is working to:
- Reinstate permanently the federal ban on assault weapons and restrict large-capacity magazines;
- Prevent other states’ lax concealed carry laws from endangering New York communities;
- Close the gun show loophole;
- Mandate child safety locks on firearms; and
- Keep guns out of the hands of children, criminals, and those with links to terrorism.
Preventing Sexual Assault on College Campuses
No student should have to fear sexual assault, particularly on a college campus, and parents deserve peace of mind that children away at college are in a safe learning environment free from violence. To combat sexual assault on college campuses, Lowey has:
- Cosponsored the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA) in the House; and
- Supported an increase in federal resources to prevent violence on campus and support survivors.
Protecting Children From Predators
Congresswoman Lowey believes it is critical to protect children from predators and sex offenders, and ensure students have the ability to study in safe environments. That is why she:
- Supported the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act to maintain states' sex-offender registries, mandate minimum sentences for crimes against children, and require states to check criminal history before placing children in foster homes;
- Supports federal assistance for organizations that educate children, parents, teachers, libraries, and others on the dangers of online criminal activity and cyber-bullying;
- Supports granting youth-serving organizations access to the FBI’s fingerprint database to ensure individuals spending unsupervised time with children pose no threat to their safety; and
- Cosponsors legislation prohibiting any individual convicted of a sex crime against a minor to possess a firearm or ammunition.
Combating Heroin Use
Every level of government must increase efforts to address the heroin crisis in our communities and throughout New York. Too many people in the Lower Hudson Valley, particularly teenagers and young adults, are struggling with heroin and other opioid addictions. To combat heroin use, Lowey has:
- Cosponsored of the Stop Overdose Stat (SOS) Act, which would establish a federal plan to combat drug overdose deaths;
- Fought to increase funding for the Drug Free Communities grant program; and
- Successfully added Rockland County as an eligible High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) recipient and worked to secure an increase in funding for the HIDTA program for Westchester and Rockland law enforcement agencies.
Congresswoman Lowey is a leader in enacting strong laws to keep unsafe drivers off the road. In 2000, Lowey successfully passed legislation requiring states to enact a maximum Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of .08 as a condition of receiving federal transportation assistance, which prompted all 50 states and the District of Columbia to implement this commonsense policy.
Congresswoman Lowey is working to further strengthen anti-drunk driving regulations, working with the family of Burton Greene, a local victim of a repeat drunk driver to:
- Enact minimum penalties for repeat drunk drivers; and
- Mandate ignition interlock devices to prevent repeat offenders from getting behind the wheel impaired.
Congresswoman Lowey is also working to promote technologies that could automatically detect a drunk driver, effectively eliminating drunk driving in new vehicles.
Local Law Enforcement
Congresswoman Lowey believes it is critical to ensure police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel are properly trained and equipped to prevent emergencies and respond effectively if they occur. That is why she:
- Successfully directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to make available $50 million in new grants to state and local governments to combat terrorist activity.
- Has helped secure more than $85 million in federal security funds for first responders in Westchester and Rockland Counties;
- Leads Congress in ensuring federal FEMA and Homeland Security grants are distributed on the basis of risk to ensure high-risk areas like New York are not short-changed;
- Created a grant program to improve interoperability of first responder communications systems; and
- Works to increase security of transportation networks like the airports, railways, nuclear facilities, and ports in the greater New York City area and throughout the country.