As part of my community engagement platform, I promised to provide a regular weekly update on what’s happening up in Albany.

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

*Session Week 5*

Committee Meetings

I had four committee meetings this week: Judiciary, Insurance, Higher Education, and Cities 1.

Judiciary

  • We passed a package of bills through the Judiciary Committee this week aimed at reducing racial bias in the real estate market by promoting protections such as requiring implicit bias training to real estate brokers and salespeople (S538A), establishing an anti-discrimination in housing fund (S945A), requiring real estate brokers and salespeople to compile and disclose client demographic data (S2525), and more (S76, S2131, S2132A, S2133)

Insurance

  • I voted to pass bills to protect individuals from insurance fraud by retroactively canceling a policy used for a staged accident (S502) and ensure disability insurance rates do not differ based on gender (S1187).

Higher Education

  • I voted to pass S2764, S2765, and S2767 (which I am a cosponsor on) which all relate to helping students receive and pay financial aid and loans;
  • I also voted to pass S2778, which forbids any employee of SUNY or CUNY from requesting details of a student’s immigration status.

Cities 1

  • I voted to pass bills that will help protect NYC residents from chronic flooding (S1547) and predatory towing (S1610).
  • I also voted to pass S1426, which requires NYC to establish a recycling program in every park.

Session

This was our first 3-day session week, during which we passed 26 bills on a number of different issues, summarized below.

Most notably, we finally passed Walking While Trans (S1351). I was a cosponsor on this bill, which aims to reduce the arbitrary and discriminatory arrests of marginalized individuals, often transgender women, who are at high risk for sex trafficking and other exploitation and abuse.

We also passed bills on:

Education:

  • S1100, S1520, S1984, and S2555 all aim to increase access to education and higher education institutions for diverse students and educators;

Combating Health Disparities

Workplace Fairness

  • S2074 clarifies the requirements for employer notification prior to mass layoffs, relocations, or employment loss for emergency services such as police and firefighters;
  • S1312 establishes a registry of workplace fatalities in the construction industry.

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

*Budget Hearings*

Budget hearings for this year have begun! Next week we will have public hearings on Human Services (which you can watch here), Public Protection (watch here), and Local Government Officials/General Government (watch here).

You can watch the Workforce Development public hearing — which I chaired due to my role as the Chair of the Civil Service and Pensions Committee — and the Higher Education public hearing — which I spoke on due to my membership in the Higher Education Committee — from this past week. You can watch all of the previous budget hearings on the NY Senate Events page here.

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

NYS Senator, District 22.