Senator Andrew Gounardes
3 min readApr 26, 2021


As part of my community engagement platform, I promised to provide a regular weekly update on what’s happening up in Albany. This is an update from weeks fifteen and sixteen.

You can always email me directly at if you have any other questions, ideas, or want more information about what’s happening in Albany or the district.

*Session Week 15*

Last week the Senate did not have any committee meetings or legislative sessions.

*Session Week 16*

Did you know that New York’s first constitution was ratified on April 20, 1777? There’s a rich, fascinating history behind our state’s constitution — all four of them, in fact! On Monday, April 20th, I introduced a resolution commemorating this moment in our state’s history. You can watch my remarks on the resolution here.

Committee Meetings

Civil Service and Pensions

This week, I convened our fifth Civil Service and Pensions Committee meeting of this session. We passed several bills, including two of my own:

  • My bill, S4233A, creates a Parkinson’s Disease presumption for disability benefits for all firefighters in the state.
  • We also passed my bill, S6065, which allows the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) to issue injunctive relief against either a public employer or union to resolve improper practice charges where there is deemed to be immediate and irreparable harm.
  • Additionally, S3101 provides Nassau County Fire Marshals a 50% Final Average Earnings retirement benefit if they are found to be disabled on the job.


In the Judiciary committee we passed 9 bills including the following:

  • In an effort to protect employee rights, my bill S766 was passed which bans “no-rehire” clauses in settlement contracts between employees and employers. S562 also regulates terms of employment by prohibiting companies from entering or renewing a restrictive employment (or “no poaching”) agreement. Additionally, S2762 aims to strengthen current laws to help victims of wage theft receive payment for previously unpaid wages.
  • S536 replaces all instances or variations of the word salesman with salesperson and removes gendered language from Real Property Tax Article 12-a.

Higher Education

In the Higher Education committee 6 bills were passed, including:

  • S2981 establishes a center for research into firearm-related violence.
  • S552 allows students who earn college credits in high school programs to receive TAP benefits.
  • S4971 excludes graduate students who work full-time or part-time as a teaching assistant or associate, graduate assistant, research assistant or associate, and/or adjunct at SUNY and CUNY from the requirement to pay most fees.


Remember that you can watch sessions live on the NYS Senate website and follow along with session proceedings on the official NY Senate Twitter.

Last week we passed 20 bills, including one of my own, some of which are highlighted below:

  • My bill, S4897, allows the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Superior Officers Benevolent Association to use binding arbitration to resolve disputes.

Consumer Protection

  • S134 protects banking customers from surprise fees and to streamline the process of closing a bank account.
  • S166B requires a transmitter of money to provide a warning about potential fraud to consumers.

Studies & Reports

  • S199A requires an annual report highway pavement and bridge report be submitted to the Legislature.
  • S1829 directs the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to study and make recommendations regarding siting renewable energy resources at decommissioned or dormant electric generating sites, and to issue a request for proposal in support of a renewable energy project at a dormant electric generating site.
  • S5487 makes updates to the physician profile to include provider plan network information and to help ensure greater compliance.

Miscellaneous Bills

  • S1034, The Hero Act, creates enforceable health and safety standards to reduce workplace airborne infectious disease transmission and community spread. It also permits workplace health and safety committees. I’m a co-sponsor of this important piece of legislation that now awaits the Governor’s signature.
  • S813 raises the maximum age that a homeless youth can stay at a homeless shelter from 21 to 24.
  • S1682 expands eligibility for individuals to be diverted for substance use treatment programs and to update the term substance abuse to substance use.
  • S3666 ensures that landlords do not charge unreasonable prices for copying keys for tenants.

You can see all the bills the Senate has passed so far this year here.

Thanks for reading! As always, you can email me directly at or call my office as 718–238–6044.