Wrapping Up Another Productive Legislative Session

The 2017 legislative session concluded last week, and I am pleased to announce several victories for the people of New York State.  I authored 16 bills which passed both the Assembly and the Senate, including my bill to end child marriage which has already been signed into law. Here is a closer look at the legislation:

Signed Into Law

Chapter 35 Ending Child Marriage

Prohibits the marriage of minors under the age of 17 and strengthens the process to obtain court approval for marriage of minors at least 17 but under 18 years of age.

Awaiting the Governor’s Signature

A.2093-B/S.5273-A Falsification of School Records

Prohibits unauthorized and false alterations and tampering of any official student records, files, or data maintained by the school or college.

A.1982/S.3295 Crohn’s and Colitis Fairness Act

Amends the public health law to make 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, which requires immediate access to a restroom.

A.2965/S.4172 Notice of Child Abuse in Foster Care

Requires reports of suspected abuse of a child be sent to the social services district charged with the care of such child when the child has been placed in a foster home in a different social services district.

A.7198-A/S.5512-A Hate Crime Threats Against Community Centers

Amends the penal law to include community centers in the definition of a “public place” as it relates to bomb threats and other offenses against public order. I was spurred into action after bomb threats in February forced evacuations of two community centers in Westchester, including the JCC of Mid-Westchester, where my family and I are members. About 200 people were evacuated from the JCC of Mid-Westchester, including 100 children who attend the center’s early childhood program.

A.1112-B/S.2139-B Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans’ License Plates

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.”

A.288/S.3745 Electric Car Charging

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.

A.464-B/S.2098-B Elephant Protection Act

Prohibits the use of elephants in any type of entertainment act. This will protect elephants from the physical and psychological harm caused by the living conditions, treatment and cruel methods necessary to train them to perform in entertainment acts such as circuses.

A.2750-A/S.2392-A Attorney’s Fees in FOIL Cases

Awards 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), when the court finds that the agency had no reasonable basis for denying the records.

A.474-A/S.1170-A Financial Literacy Course for Public Assistance Participants

Allows social services districts to offer participants in public assistance employment programs the option to complete a course in financial literacy and personal finance.

A.7394-A/S.5990-A Municipal Sustainable Energy Loan Program

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.

A.473/S.2516 Disability Coverage for Probation Officers

Authorizes counties to provide disability coverage for probation officers injured in the line of duty.

A.6571/S.5190 Energy Storage Deployment Program

Directs the Public Service Commission to set a target number of energy storage installations and create programs to encourage more energy storage systems to be installed. Energy storage enables renewable energy to be used continuously which reduces the need for energy produced using fossil fuels.

A.7793-A/S.6749 Domestic Violence Voter Confidentiality

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 bill 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.

A.3198-A/S.2911-A Combat Veterans’ Paid Leave for Healthcare Services

Grants additional paid leave to combat veterans who are state employees for healthcare related services.

A.260/S.4069 Property Tax Exemption for Fuel Cells

Provides that micro-hydroelectric energy systems, fuel cell electric generating systems, micro-combined heat and power generating equipment systems, and electric energy storage equipment and systems are eligible for the real property tax exemption which is currently available only to solar, wind and farm waste energy systems.

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Summing Up A Productive Legislative Session

The New York State Assembly ended its session last Thursday and I am pleased to announce that 21 of the bills that I authored passed both the Assembly and the Senate and are awaiting the governor’s signature. Some highlights include:

A421/S4751 Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse

Requires athletic coaches to report cases of child abuse. Coaches are in a unique position when it comes to gaining a child’s trust. He or she would often be in a position to spot abuse and therefore should be required to report it rather than remain silent and uninvolved.

A8812/S6803 Sex Trafficking Victims Fee Waiver

Requires the court to waive any mandatory surcharge and crime-victim fees for sex trafficking victims. Imposing the surcharge and fee likely means the victim’s trafficker will pay the amounts required, pushing the victims right back into the hands of the trafficker.

A2053/S1982 Unlawful Surveillance

Makes it a crime to record and share images of sexual acts without the knowledge of the participant.

A8785/S6718 Port Authority Transparency Bill

Mandates that the Freedom of Information Law and New Jersey Open Public Records Act apply to the Port Authority. This bill must pass through both state legislatures and is awaiting passage in New Jersey.

A6974/S7839 Veteran’s Pension Buyback Bill

Recognizes the service of all of our veterans by allowing them to purchase up to three years of service credit in the state public retirement systems.

A8800/S6485 and A6367/S2383 Fuel Cells

Assure parity between fuel cells and other clean energy technologies.

A7896/S5500 Municipal Energy Aggregation Program

Authorizes a municipal energy aggregation pilot program in Westchester County, which allows a municipality or group of municipalities to pool together a large number of residents and solicit bids from energy services companies to supply their electricity and gas. This will save customers money, and also provide flexibility for the municipality to buy energy produced from alternative sources.

A8661/S6595 Online Public Bidding

Saves local governments and school districts money by allowing them to post bids on a statewide website. Costs will be reduced by attracting an increased number of bidders which will lead to increased competition and lower bids.

A9651/S7253 Adult Registry

Allows all healthcare practitioners who administer immunizations to access the statewide immunization information system and requires that they report immunizations of adults upon consent. This will avoid duplicate immunizations and provide information on which immunizations are due.

A2327/S7322 Scarsdale School District Health Insurance

Allows the Scarsdale School District to maintain a separate reserve fund for its self-insured health insurance plan, positioning them to manage yearly variations and claims.

I am very proud of my record of accomplishments this session. As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you might have regarding any of these or other issues.