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

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.

*Three for Community*

My Three for Community challenge has a goal of getting 10,000 neighbors to pledge to do three good deeds a week to improve our neighborhood. Don’t know how you can contribute to your neighborhood? Check out my interactive list of examples and ideas here and then take the pledge with me and help us in being a stronger, more vibrant community! For more information, please email community@senatorgounardes.nyc.

*Transit Survey*

Over the past month, I have been visiting subway stations and bus stops across my district to talk to riders about their commutes. The feedback that I have collected will play a crucial role in presenting the MTA with data about the shortcomings of Southern Brooklyn subway and bus service. Share your stories and tell me about your commute using my transit survey.

*Tenant’s Rights Workshop*

Next Thursday, May 23rd, I will be hosting a tenant’s rights workshop from 10AM-12PM at the Fort Hamilton Senior Center (9941 Fort Hamilton Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11209). I will be joined by experienced tenant advocates and we will be sharing information about tenants’ rights, available tenant programs and we will be providing advice to tenants in need of help. I hope to see you there!

*SHSAT Forum*

Make sure to RSVP for my SHSAT & Diversity Forum taking place on June 7th at IS 201 (8010 12th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11228) from 6:30–8:30PM. The forum will be an open discussion on the state of diversity in our public schools and the SHSAT exam. It will be a great opportunity to hear from you on the Mayor’s proposed changes to the exam and on the exam process itself. Each attendee can speak their mind for up to two minutes at the forum by signing up here.

Last Week in Albany

The week of May 13th to May 15th was the seventeenth week of legislative activity and we were in session on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. To see the full schedule of the legislation session, click here.

Committee Meetings This Week

Codes

The Senate Codes Committee met for the fifth time this legislative session on Monday, May 13th.

Two of my bills were on the agenda and were considered by the committee, S3660 and S3674.

S3674 makes illegal conversion and illegal alteration of a building a felony. I voted in favor of advancing these bills out of committee along with the other five bills on the committee agenda. You can read more about the bills on the agenda and the committee meeting here.

Higher Education

The Senate Higher Education Committee reconvened on Tuesday, May 14th. The committee considered eight pieces of legislation, all of which I supported. One of the eight bills, S3661, a bill that I introduced to authorize and encourage colleges in New York State to seek more affordable textbook options for students.

You can read more about the bills on the agenda and the committee meeting here.

Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee also met on Tuesday, May 14th, marking the eighth time since the beginning of the 2019 legislative session that the committee has assembled. The committee considered ten bills, all of which I voted to advance out of committee. You can read more about the bills on the agenda and the committee meeting here.

Civil Service and Pensions

Also on Tuesday, May 14th, I chaired the sixth meeting of the Senate Civil Service and Pensions Committee! The committee considered eleven bills, all of which I voted in favor of advancing out of my committee and all of which were advanced out of committee. We have now voted a total of 42 bills out of the committee since the beginning of the year! Here are some of the highlights:

  • S3675 — Authorizes uniformed court officers and peace officers employed in the unified court system to be entitled to accidental disability retirement if they sustain injuries during a physical assault against them while in service.
  • S3964 — Authorizes employers to provide an accidental disability retirement benefit for deputy sheriffs in the amount of three-quarters of the deputy sheriff’s final average salary.
  • S4647 — Enacts the New York State Teleworking Expansion Act, which requires each state agency to establish a policy and program to allow employees to perform all or a portion of their duties through teleworking to the maximum extent possible.
  • S5286 — establishes a twenty-five year retirement plan for firefighters employed by the division of military and naval affairs.
  • S5556 — establishes a twenty year retirement plan for members/officers of the regional state park police.

You can read more about the bills on the agenda and the committee meeting here.

Day to Day

We had three days of legislative session last week, and we passed three of my bills. Here are some of the highlights:

S3647, is a constitutional amendment I proposed that will allow anyone that has served in the armed forces to receive credits for civil service appointments and promotions regardless of whether they served during times of war. The amendment will provide parity between our state’s veterans.

S5228A, another one of my bills, requires new drivers to learn about pedestrian and bicyclist safety awareness and adds the two subjects as components to the pre-licensing exam.

S1092C — Bans the performance of pelvic exams on unconscious or anesthetized patients, unless; they have given prior consent, the pelvic exam is within the scope of care for the surgical procedure, or the person receiving the pelvic exam is unconscious and the exam is required for diagnostic purposes.

A5318 — Allows victims of domestic violence to break certain phone and television contracts with companies when they have sought and received a permanent order of protection, without penalty.

S1243A — Allows a victim of a domestic incident to make a complaint to any local law enforcement agency in the State regardless of where the act took place.

S1414A- Criminalizes the manufacture, sale, transport, and possession of firearms, rifles, shotguns, and the major components of the weapons which cannot be detectable by an X-ray machine, portable pulsed X-ray generator, metal detector or magnetometer when set at a standard calibration, or any other machine used to screen or inspect persons and objects for such items.

S4336 — Requires any person sixteen years of age or older to be restrained by a seatbelt when a passenger in any motor vehicle.

You can watch Wednesday’s legislative session here.

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