This is my seventh legislative update of the 2019 legislative session.

If you have any ideas, questions on specific issues, or the work we’re doing in Albany or in the district, you can always email me directly at gounardes@nysenate.gov. I’ll always try my best to follow up with any comments posted below, but the best and most direct way to contact me is via email.

*My School Zone Speed Cameras Legislation*

This week I introduced legislation to substantially expand the successful school zone speed camera program. Last year, the State Senate blocked renewal of the program, leaving it in legal limbo until the Governor used his executive authority to keep the program operational.

Under my new proposal, instead of only 140 cameras for 1800+ schools, the city could place up to 750 cameras around school zones, up to a 1/4 mile radius from the school. This significant expansion of the program will save lives, plain and simple.

The data is beyond clear: speed cameras work to dramatically reduce speed. Corridors and intersections where speed cameras were previously installed saw a 63% reduction in speeding, and 83% of people who get caught once don’t get caught again, which means they stop speeding.

State Budget Process

On Thursday, the Governor released a series of 30-day amendments to his proposed Executive Budget. These are tweaks and fixes issued 30 days after the budget’s initial release. You can read a copy of the Governor’s proposed budget here.

Back in Brooklyn, I hosted a State Budget Town Hall with the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) on March 7th where I solicited feedback and heard priorities from members of our community on what they hope to see reflected in the final Budget.

Special thanks to the United Chinese Association, Jonas Shaende, Chief Economist for the Fiscal Policy Institute, and everyone who came out!

Week 8

The week of March 4th to March 8th was the eighth week of legislative activity and we were in session four days. To see the full schedule of the legislation session, click here.

*Committee Meetings This Week*

The Codes Committee and Civil Services and Pensions Committee (which I Chair) both met this week.

CODES COMMITTEE:

This week, the Codes Committee voted on a number of bills amending our criminal and penal and laws, providing further protections for tenants, workers, youthful offenders, and criminal defendants. I voted to advance all of the following bills out of committee:

  • S33 Hoylman — amends the criminal procedure law, in relation to the right of a defendant who enters a plea of not guilty for a misdemeanor to request a jury trial (Voted to move the bill out of committee without voting yes or no)
  • S1054 Persaud — amends the penal law in relation to unlawfully installing gas meters
  • S1411 Parker — amends the penal law in relation to reporting a nonemergency incidents (Voted to move the bill out of committee without voting yes or no)
  • S2183 Bailey — amends the criminal procedure law in relation to youthful offender determinations for 16, 17, and 18 year olds
  • S2341 Kavanagh — amends the criminal procedure law, requiring the court, prior to accepting a plea to a misdemeanor or violation, to advise the defendant of the risk of deportation if he or she is not a citizen
  • S2605 Krueger — amends the penal law in relation to harassment of a rent regulated tenant and makes it a crime for a landlord to engage in harassment against a rent-stabilized tenant
  • S3298 Kaplan — amends the penal law in relation to extortion or coercion related to immigration status
  • S3314 Sanders — amends the penal law in relation to crimes involving the death or injury of a worker

CIVIL SERVICE AND PENSIONS:

This week, I chaired the third meeting of the Civil Service and Pensions committee. During this committee meeting, we considered six pieces of legislation. I was the primary sponsor of three of these bills (S3649, S3944 and S4079) and voted to move all six bills out of the committee:

  • S3151 Lanza — requires the commissioner of the department of civil service to prepare a report regarding the classification of mental health practitioners
  • S3152 Addabbo — amends the civil service law to allow employees to take more leave time to get a cancer screening
  • S3649 Gounardes — amends the retirement and social security law to allow retired public employees who participated in World Trade Center rescue, recovery or cleanup operations to seek subsequent employment with the state or a municipal corporation without reducing their retirement benefits
  • S3801 Skoufis — amends the retirement and social security law in relation to disability benefits for firefighters employed by the division of military and naval affairs
  • S3944 Gounardes — amends the retirement and social security law to provide a heart disease presumption for correction officers, correction supervisors, deputy sheriff patrol or deputy sheriff patrol supervisors
  • S4079 Gounardes — establishes a retiree parity payment for certain employees who served in a position or positions in the classified service of the state designated managerial or confidential

LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS:

This week the State Senate continued passed legislation to help small businesses save tax-free for a rainy day, protect New Yorkers from accidental gun deaths, and put an end to the “pay to play” politics in our electoral system. On March 6th, I was also given the honor of introducing a joint resolution commemorating Lymphedema Day in New York State.

Here’s a breakdown of the more notable pieces of legislation that were passed:

  • S2450A Krueger — Requires the safe storage of rifles, shotguns, and firearms, including the use of trigger locks for firearms, in a house where children under the age of 18 reside
  • S35 Hoylman — Clarifies the definition of imitation weapons that all too often are confused for the real thing
  • S3167 Myrie — Government vendors contracted by the State can not make political donations to elected officials.
  • S3163 Kaplan — Provides small businesses the ability to create a savings account which they can withdraw from tax free in times of emergency.

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

NYS Senator, District 22.