Today the Parks, Tourism, and Sports Development Committee of the New York State Assembly voted in favor of the bill (A04146) to decriminalize and sanction mixed martial arts by an overwhelming vote of 16-3.
Like the Senate before it, which passed companion legislation last May by a staggering 42-18 vote (as compared to the 32-26 vote in 2010), and its committees that passed the legislation 13-1 and 10-1, the Assembly Parks, Tourism, and Sports Development Committee has created a clear mandate for its fellow Assemblypersons: New Yorkers want MMA and they want it now!
But, before we get too excited, the Assembly legislation still has several hurdles to jump. Next up is Codes, under the chairmanship of Assemblyman Joeseph R. Lentol. Assemblyman Lentol is a supporter of legalized mixed martial arts in New York and has stated as much to our Coalition. Reportedly, the bill will be on the calendar for Codes next week.
After Codes, the bill moves to Ways & Means under the chairmanship of Herman D. Farrell, Jr. Assemblyman Farrell has not been a supporter of legalized mixed martial arts in New York. This is where our next significant hurdle will be. Assemblyman Farrell must follow the mandate being set by the people of New York, the Senate, and his peers in the Assembly Tourism Committee by putting the legislation on the Ways & Means agenda.
Assuming Assemblyman Farrell does put the legislation on the calendar, and it passes, the bill will move on to Rules under the chairmanship of Speaker Sheldon Silver. This is where the legislation stalled in 2010. Speaker Silver never brought the legislation up for vote, noting that he was following the will of the Assembly. This year however, is another story. The people of New York and their legislators have clearly spoken. This year, if Speaker Silver is to follow the will of the people and his Assembly, he will have no choice but to put the legislation up for a vote.
If you are a fan, gym owner, fighter, coach, business owner and want mixed martial arts in New York, YOU MUST ACT NOW!
Contact Assemblyman Lentol and urge him to put the legislation on the Codes agenda.
Contact Assemblyman Farrell and urge him to put the legislation on the Ways & Means agenda.
Contact Speaker Silver and urge him to follow the will of the people and put the legislation up for a vote.
We can do this, it is not too late!