My Public Bathroom Access Bill Was Signed Into Law

I am pleased to announce that A.1982/S.3295, legislation I authored, was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday.

The law amends the public health law by making employee-only restrooms in places of business open to those in the general public who have an eligible medical condition such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis that requires immediate access to a restroom. This legislation would not create any additional costs to businesses as they are not required to alter their toilet facility. Also, a business would not be required to provide access to their toilet facility when another facility is immediately accessible to the requesting person.

Ally Bain, a teenage girl in Illinois who suffers from Crohn’s disease, was the inspiration for this law in Illinois and 14 other states. Bain had a humiliating experience in which she was denied access to an employee-only bathroom when she was in need of one and no public bathroom was available. A resident of Paulin’s district initially brought this issue to her attention.

Stories like Ally’s are heartbreaking. No one should be forced to endure such a humiliating situation simply because they have a medical condition over which they have no control. This legislation creates a compassionate system for those suffering from gastrointestinal diseases who can be in need of a restroom at any given moment.

Crohn’s disease alone is an ongoing disorder of the gastro-intestinal tract. It causes swelling of the intestines, creating pain and diarrhea. People who suffer from such diseases often need urgent and sudden access to a toilet facility.

“Everyone with Crohn’s disease faces this problem once, twice, three times a year, some almost every day,” said Yoely Drummer, the founder and Executive Director of the Jewish Crohn’s and Colitis Support Group.   “This [law] means they can have an easier life.”

Crohn’s disease is more prevalent among Jews of Ashkenazi origin than other segments of the population because of a genetic predisposition. According to the Public Library of Science Journal (PLoS), a 2012 study showed that Ashkenazi Jews are four times more likely to suffer from Crohn’s disease than other populations.

Kemp Hannon (R-6) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

 

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I Had Three Bills Signed Into Law This Week

I am pleased to announce that three bills I authored were signed into law Monday evening by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The first bill (A.7793/S.6749) enables victims of domestic violence to vote safely by making it less burdensome to apply for a court order to keep their voter registration records confidential. The law also expands the scope of the court order to include other records with respect to an individual in addition to the registration record itself. This will ensure that any records containing the voter’s address will not be made available to the public. Diane Savino (D-23) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

Survivors of domestic violence shouldn’t be put in a position where they could be harmed simply because they exercise their right to vote. This measure will help ensure that they can safely remain engaged in civic life.

The second bill (A.288/S.3745) requires utilities to offer customers the option to purchase electricity solely for the purpose of charging an electric vehicle. This would enable the utility to offer cheaper time-of-day or off-peak rates for charging, encouraging customers to charge their vehicles at times that are most beneficial for the grid.

People purchase electric vehicles to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they may be inadvertently charging their vehicles at peak times when coal and fossil fuel plants are running to meet the demand. By offering a separate charging tariff, with lower rates for off-peak times when renewables like wind are abundant, customers can significantly decrease their carbon footprint while encouraging renewable energy production.

Finally, A.260/S.4069 makes micro-hydroelectric energy systems, fuel cell electric generating systems, micro-combined heat and power generating equipment systems, and electric energy storage equipment and systems eligible for the real property tax exemption that is currently available only to solar, wind and farm waste energy systems.

Joseph Griffo (R-47) sponsored the two latter bills in the Senate.

200 Bills Signed Into Law and Counting

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed one of my bills into law today. Combined with the two he signed last night I now have 200 pieces of legislation that have been signed into law since I was first elected to the New York State Assembly. I am very proud.

Here are the releases we sent out for the bills.

SCARSDALE – Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88) is proud to announce that A.474-A/S.1170-A, legislation she authored, was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday.

The legislation allows social services districts to offer recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) the option to complete a course in financial literacy and personal finance, with such instruction counting towards the 30-hour work activity requirement.

Additionally, the legislation authorizes social services districts to cooperate with the Department of Labor to provide workforce guidance and information regarding nontraditional careers for women to TANF recipients. This would help to encourage women to pursue and secure nontraditional careers, such as jobs in the trades, which pay above-average salaries.

The combination of promoting access to nontraditional careers and offering financial literacy courses will provide low-income women with the tools to attain greater economic security for themselves and their families.

“Encouraging women to pursue careers in higher-paying fields, that they may not have otherwise considered, can help these women to get out of poverty,” said Assemblywoman Paulin, “Similarly, the financial literacy course would provide helpful information for low-income women, particularly as they transition off TANF and into the workforce.”

SCARSDALE – Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88) is proud to announce that A.2965/S.4172, legislation she authored, was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday.

The legislation amends current social services law in relation to forwarding reports of abuse. The law requires reports of suspected child abuse or maltreatment of a child be provided to the social services district charged with the care, custody or guardianship of such child when the child has been placed in a home under the care, custody or guardianship of an authorized agency which is not in the social services district that placed the child.

The care and custody of a child may be transferred by a social services district to an authorized agency and the child placed in foster care. There is no requirement that the authorized agency charged with the care and custody of the child and the child’s foster home be located in the same social services district that transferred the care and custody of the child.

Problems arise, however, when the foster home is the subject of a report of child abuse or maltreatment and the foster home is not located in the social services district that placed the child in the foster home. Under the previous law, notice of such report was not required to be provided to the placing social services district. Absent information that the foster home was the subject of a report of child abuse or maltreatment, the placing social services district could continue to place children in the care and custody of that foster home.

“We needed to close gaps in communication between and among authorized agencies and social service districts responsible for the safety and welfare of our children,” Paulin said. “Placing agencies must be informed of reports of suspected abuse or maltreatment involving homes in which they have placed children so that they do not unwittingly place additional children in a situation that risks subjecting them to further abuse or maltreatment.”

Patrick Gallivan (R-59) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

SCARSDALE – Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88) is proud to announce that A.7394-A/S.5990-A, legislation she authored, was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday.

The legislation updates the municipal sustainable energy loan program, also known as property assessed clean energy or “PACE,” to enable municipalities to finance more renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects. Currently, PACE financing is only available for commercial properties.

The legislation addresses three barriers that have prevented the PACE program from growing and expanding into more areas of New York State. First, the current law requires that renewable energy must be “used primarily at such property,” which has prevented the use of PACE for remote net-metered and community solar projects. This legislation would update the law to remove this requirement and enable commercially owned property to use PACE for remote net-metered and community solar projects.

Second, under current law, the municipality is required to use federal grants or federal credit support to fund the loan program. However, federal assistance is not always available, or often has restrictions attached to it, which has prevented additional municipalities from participating in the program. This legislation will allow money from New York State or a state authority to be used.

Third, the law currently requires that the amount of the loan shall not exceed ten percent of the appraised value of the real property. While this is not a problem in areas of the state with high property values, in many upstate communities, this ten percent cap prevents valuable projects from moving forward. The bill would create a more flexible standard to apply only for commercially-owned property, which would allow more projects to qualify. This would enable more upstate communities to participate in the program.

“Addressing these three barriers will enable the PACE program to expand, financing more renewable energy and energy efficiency projects,” Paulin said. “It is a valuable tool for helping the State reach its renewable energy goals, and with these modifications, more commercial properties will be able to use it.”

Joe Griffo (R-47) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

My Veteran’s License Plate Bill Signed Into Law

I am proud to announce that A.1112-B/S.2139-B, legislation I authored, was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on July 25. The law authorizes the issuance of distinctive license plates to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars or their spouses, bearing the words “Veteran of the Iraq War” or “Veteran of the Afghanistan War.” The veterans of these two wars deserve the same type of recognition as those who fought in World War II, Korea or Vietnam. They have taken the same risks and made the same great sacrifices to help keep us safe and provide us with the freedoms we enjoy, and we should acknowledge their service. Sue Serino (R-41) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

 

My Bill Prohibiting The Falsification Of School Records Heading To The Governor

I am pleased to announce that A.2093-B/S.5273-A, legislation she authored, has passed the New York State Senate and Assembly and will be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo to be signed into law.

The bill would prohibit unauthorized and false alterations and tampering of any official student records, files, or data maintained by the school or college. Official records maintained by the school or college include identifying data, grades, records of attendance, records of student achievement, assessment results, disciplinary records, and individual education programs.

We must preserve the integrity of a student’s records. Information in these records is provided to colleges and considered as part of the admissions process. Falsifying such records creates a fraudulent representation of the student, and can either hurt their chances of acceptance or give the student with an unfair advantage over other applicants.

Tuckahoe middle-schooler Jack Doherty provided the genesis for this bill. He tied for second place in Paulin’s 2016 “There Ought To Be A Law” contest for proposing legislation that would protect a student’s records from tampering and alteration.

Patrick Gallivan (S-59) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

My Bill Regarding Forwarding Reports Of Child Abuse Between Authorized Agencies Is Passed By The New York State Senate

I am proud to announce that A.2965/S.4172, legislation I authored, was passed by the New York State Senate on Thursday and will be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo to be signed into law. The New York State Assembly passed the bill on May 24.

The legislation amends current social services law in relation to forwarding reports of abuse. The bill requires reports of suspected child abuse or maltreatment of a child be provided to the social services district charged with the care, custody or guardianship of such child when the child has been placed in a home under the care, custody or guardianship of an authorized agency which is not in the social services district that placed the child.

The care and custody of a child may be transferred by a social services district to an authorized agency and the child placed in foster care.  There is no requirement that the authorized agency charged with the care and custody of the child and the child’s foster home be located in the same social services district that transferred the care and custody of the child.

Problems arise, however, when the foster home is the subject of a report of child abuse or maltreatment and the foster home is not located in the social services district that placed the child in the foster home. There is no mechanism under current law that requires notice of such report to be provided to the placing social services district. Absent information that the foster home may be the subject of a report of child abuse or maltreatment, the placing social services district may continue to place children in the care and custody of that foster home.

We must close gaps in communication between and among authorized agencies and social service districts responsible for the safety and welfare of our children. Placing agencies must be informed of reports of suspected abuse or maltreatment involving homes in which they have placed children so that they do not unwittingly place additional children in a situation that risks subjecting them to further abuse or maltreatment.

Patrick Gallivan (R-59) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

 

 

My FOIL Bill Passed By Senate, Sent To Governor

I am pleased to announce that A.2750-A/S.2392-A, legislation I authored, was passed by the New York State Senate this week and will now be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo to be signed into law.

The bill would award attorney’s fees to a prevailing party who has gone to court to challenge an agency’s refusal to provide records requested under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). The time and cost involved in these court proceedings can be staggering for individuals, and may deter them from pursing legal action to compel agencies to provide the records. This bill would encourage agencies to comply with FOIL in order to avoid potentially paying the attorney’s fees for prevailing individuals who challenge the agency in court.

Very often, the time and effort involved in getting a FOIL request fulfilled is trying enough. A person petitioning an agency through FOIL shouldn’t have the added expense of a lengthy court proceeding as well.

This bill establishes a two-tiered approach. In court cases where an agency failed to respond to a person’s request for records or appeal within the allowable time, the court may require the agency to pay for a person’s attorney’s fees if the person prevails in court. In cases where an agency denied an individual’s request for records and the court finds that there was no reasonable basis for the denial, the court must order the agency to pay the individual’s attorney’s fees if that individual prevails in court.

The Committee on Open Government recommended this two-tiered approach in its 2016 annual report.

The bill is sponsored by Patrick Gallivan in the Senate.