Ball’s Blackfish bill memo borrows from high schooler’s essay

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A legislative memo attached to a bill sponsored by Sen. Greg Ball lifted two paragraphs from work that was published elsewhere.

greg-ball-apBall, R-Patterson, Putnam County, introduced legislation earlier this month to ban aquariums or sea parks from possessing killer whales. The bill was inspired by the highly touted documentary “Blackfish,” which detailed the negative consequences of keeping an orca in captivity at SeaWorld.

The “justification” section of Ball’s bill memo took a paragraph directly from a 17-year-old’s essay on The Huffington Post, which summarized the details exposed in “Blackfish” and “The Cove,” a similar documentary. Another paragraph was taken from an interview with “Blackfish” director Gabriela Cowperthwaite first published in the Los Angeles Times.

The Times Union of Albany first reported the similarities Thursday.

In a statement Thursday, Ball’s Director of Operations Colin Schmitt said the ripped-off paragraphs were an “oversight.”

“This simple yet sloppy action taken flies in the face of the high standards of our office,” Schmitt said. “We have taken immediate and appropriate steps internally to address this oversight and address the staffer responsible. All memo language is being reviewed and will be corrected if necessary.”

(Photo via NY Senate)

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  1. Ball plagiarized a campaign mailing piece in an earlier campaign. The Westchester Fair Campaign Practices committee found the piece misleading for other reasons, and called him on it.