Senator Andrew Gounardes
4 min readMay 24, 2022


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 if you have any other questions, ideas, or want more information about what’s happening in Albany or the district.

*Session Week Seventeen*


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 week was a three-day session week, and 108 bills were passed including one that I sponsored and eleven that I cosponsored.

  • My bill, S1078B, will mandate new drivers learn about pedestrian and bicyclist safety awareness as a component of the pre-licensing exam and as a prerequisite for obtaining a license to operate a motor vehicle. The goal is to educate drivers about the dangers faced by bicyclists and pedestrians, which will help drivers exercise greater care.
  • S6202 is a bill I am proud to cosponsor. This bill provides for the implementation of a reckless driving and vehicular violence awareness component of the pre-licensing course and eliminates a judicially created loophole that makes reckless driving almost impossible to prosecute in the courts.
  • S4529 is another bill I have cosponsored. This bill relates to operators of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle from behind outside the city of New York by requiring that vehicle operators maintain a safe passing distance of three feet.

Other bills include:

  • S5419B increases from $300 to $725 the monthly rent subsidy payable for housing for a foster child living independently in specific circumstances.
  • S7672 allows for any variation of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders to be included within the definition of developmental disabilities so people with this disorder can receive state funded services and aid.
  • S8603A ​​expands the definition of “welfare” to allow victims of crime to be compensated for what is necessary to restore stability in victims’ lives and allows victims to achieve a basic standard of living.
  • S8976 expands eligibility to non physically injured crime victims who were victims of the crimes of reckless endangerment. Under current law, one must be a physically injured victim of a crime unless accepted by other provision(s) of the enacting statute to be eligible for reimbursement of crime-related expenses from OVS. This should extend to victims of other crimes as well.
  • S7899 enacts the “New York state YouthBuild act”. This bill authorizes grants to eligible YouthBuild participants and establishes application requirements. YouthBuild engages low-income, out-of-school youth for a two-year, all inclusive process to earn high school equivalency (HSE) and acquire job skills, certifications, and leadership competencies.

Committee Meetings

This week, I sat on the committee for Finance. In this meeting, I voted on a number of important bills, including two of my own that I hope to see on the Senate floor soon.


In the Finance committee, we passed forty-one bills including the following:

  • S6980B is a bill I have sponsored. This bill authorizes police/fire members of the New York city fire department pension fund to obtain credit for service as an EMT member. Tier III members of the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund with prior creditable service as an Emergency Medical Technician with the Fire Department of the City of New York will have the ability to receive Fire Department Pension service credit for such service.
  • S6988B is another bill I have sponsored. This bill establishes the twenty-five year retirement programs for members of the New York city employees’ retirement system employed as fire protection inspectors and associate fire protection inspectors. This bill would award these fire service personnel the opportunity to retire with a full pension after 25 years of service. Additionally, it would grant them parity with other uniformed service personnel who perform essential life tasks for New Yorkers like police officers, firefighters, EMTs and other uniformed service employees.
  • S8861 establishes a specialized health home program for Medicaid-eligible adults with a diagnosis of a neurological, muscular, or neuromuscular condition and a mobility impairment. This bill would provide distinct legislative authority for a program for adults with physical disabilities within the health home framework that can focus on maximizing their function with wheeled mobility, supporting independent living, and reducing the most common risk factors for poor health.
  • S8806 provides that transportation management brokers contracted with the Department of Health are not responsible for providing services to enrollees of Medicaid managed long term care plans or a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).
  • S115C establishes the “hunger-free campus act” to address food insecurity among students at public and private higher education institutions. This legislation aims to address food insecurity by making SNAP more readily accessible on campus, creating campus food pantries, and cultivating a student meal credit sharing program.

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