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.

*The 2022 Legislative Session–Week Ten*

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

This was an exciting week up in Albany. As you may remember, a couple weeks ago the Senate passed a number of my bills regarding harassment in the workplace. This week, Governor Hochul signed into law two of my bills: S3395A and S5870.

  • Bill S5870 prohibits employers from retaliating by releasing confidential employee records.

No longer will any employer, public or private, will ever again have a license to sexually harass staff. These bills also ensure employees can speak up without the threat of unlawful discriminatory practices by employers.

We also passed 13 bills in the Senate this week.

Two of these bills I had the honor to pass through my Committee earlier this month. The first, S1333, directs the Director of Office of Information Technology and the Director of the Division or the Budget to create and maintain a one-stop-shop budget database website for all of the most up-to-date state spending and revenue statistics. This is the first year the bill has passed in the Committee and by the Senate, and I am happy to have had a hand in passing such an important bill. The second, S2969a, enacts the “STAR credit bill of rights” to ensure STAR recipients are provided a better understanding of their rebate and their inquiries receive prompt responses.

Other important bills passed this week include:

  • S5238b, which increases the number of languages all executive state agencies are required to translate vital documents into from 6 to 12 statewide languages, and American Sign Language; and
  • S6616, which establishes ethical standards for certain state agency contractors.

Committee Meetings

This week I attended two committee meetings: Judiciary and Higher Education.

Higher Education

I voted to pass five bills through the committee, one of which I am proud to have sponsored and two that I co-sponsored.

  • S6517 is a bill that I cosponsored. This bill requires the Commissioner to allocate funds available for enhancing support and services for postsecondary students with disabilities within New York State degree granting colleges and universities. By funds being proportionally appropriated to each student, students with disabilities are better accommodated for postsecondary success.
  • S6694B is another bill I cosponsored. This bill allows dental hygienists to use local infiltration and nitrous oxide analgesia in the practice of registered dental hygiene.
  • S2204 relates to the supervision of the manufacturing and repacking of specific medical gasses and wholesaling of respiratory therapy agents. To qualify as a supervisor, the person must present evidence of the completion of a minimum of two years of education beyond high school and at least two years of experience in the manufacturing, repacking and/or wholesaling of drugs satisfactory to the state board of pharmacy.
  • S4972A prohibits the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) from charging graduate students current or future mandatory fees, except graduate students serving in certain capacities.

Judiciary

I voted to pass seven bills through the Judiciary committee, one of which I cosponsored.

  • S3683D requires family courts in New York City to remain open until midnight on at least one weekday each week in at least two counties effective January 1, 2023 and in at least three counties effective January 1, 2024.
  • S8440 requires gender neutral terms be used in any law, local law, rule, regulation, ordinance, or resolution in reference to a specific person. Gender neutral language clarifies that not one type of person is favored or disfavored and this bill ensures the laws in New York state are equally applicable including its language.

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

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