Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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December 7, 2013

Lobbying for justices

Cambria's Amer Jowdy heads state magistrate association


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — “The ABC Law and the 221 (ABC-65c and PL221.05) laws marijuana law, as it stands, there are no penalties if you don’t show up in court,” the judge said. “We want that changed in Albany.”

Many violators learn of the state policy. “Eventually, the word gets out,” he said.

The magistrates association has tried to change the ABC law for seven or eight years, according to Jowdy. 

“It will pass in the senate and the assembly shoots it down,” Jowdy said, “Lawmakers do not want to see another penalty added. They feel, if there’s jail time, it could give that person a criminal record.”

The association has offered options, including an alcohol awareness program where the record is wiped clean. The judges are hopeful its legislation will pass in 2014.

Other agenda items the association is lobbying for include giving judges full credit in the retirement system and increasing state regulated fees for filing for small claims court.

Jowdy was water superintendent in the Town of Cambria as well as a member of the Western New York Water Works Association and New York State Water Works Association.

Only a third of the town justices are lawyers and the association has mandated training for its members.

“The better educated we can keep our town and village judges, the less chance they have to appear in front of commission and give black eye. We make sure they are doing things right,” Jowdy said.

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