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.

*New York Health Act*

Last week, I became a co-sponsor of S3577, the New York Health Act, a proposal to create a universal single-payer health insurance program that covers all residents of New York State.

I’ve spent the last few months talking to patients, providers, and other stakeholders to get answers to questions that I had on the bill and, more importantly, understand how the bill would affect them. I felt that it was important to share my thoughts on this process and on the bill, and to be transparent with all of you who have waited patiently for my co-sponsorship. I wrote a longer essay about my support for the bill that you can read here.

*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.

*SHSAT Forum*

Don’t forget 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 20th to May 22nd was the eighteenth 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

Corporations, Authorities and Commissions

The Senate Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee met for the eighth time this year on Monday, May 20th. We considered sixteen bills and I voted in favor of advancing all of them out of committee, including S4278, which enacts the “women on corporate boards study.” The bill requires the department of state, in collaboration with the department of taxation and finance, to conduct a study on the number of women directors who serve on each board of directors of domestic corporations and foreign corporations authorized to do business in New York state. You can read more about the bills on the agenda and the committee meeting here.

Codes

The Senate Codes Committee also met on Monday, May 20th. It was the committee’s sixth time convening thus far in 2019. I voted to advance out of committee all ten bills that were on the agenda. You can read more about the bills on the agenda and the committee meeting here.

Higher Education

The Senate Higher Education Committee gathered on Tuesday, May 21st. The committee considered ten pieces of legislation, all of which I voted in favor of advancing from committee. One of the ten bills, S878, authorizes police officer students of SUNY and CUNY seeking a bachelor’s degree to attend 2 courses a semester or quarter, tuition free. Another bill on the agenda, S3916A, provides graduate and doctoral students with the opportunity to use certain university facilities such as libraries, computers and/or student centers even when they are not enrolled in traditional full-time courses.

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 five of my bills. Below are some of the highlights from this past week’s legislative session:

<Monday>

  • A1641- Removes the $1,000 filing threshold to file campaign-financial disclosure statements with the New York State Board of Elections (NYSBOE), incentivizing all candidates to file their disclosure statements with the State.
  • S1414A- Criminalizes the manufacture, sale, transport, and possession of firearms, rifles, shotguns, and the major components of such weapons which cannot be detectable by an X-ray machine, portable pulsed X-ray generator, metal detector or magnetometer or any other machine used to screen or inspect persons and objects for such items, commonly referred to as “ghost guns”.
  • S3291- Provides for the creation of a prescription drug guide for seniors regarding the drugs commonly used by people over 62 years of age. The guide will educate seniors on the specific effects of the drugs seniors commonly use, so they understand the effects the drugs will have on them.
  • S3944A- Extends eligibility of death benefits and accidental disability benefits in relation to any health condition or impairment of health caused by diseases of the heart to correction officers, correction supervisors, deputy sheriff patrol officers or deputy sheriff patrol supervisors.

You can watch Monday’s legislative session and read more about Monday’s agenda here.

<Tuesday>

  • A1084- Requires that residents of adult care facilities be fully informed about their health care services, to consent or refuse such services, and be able to choose their own providers for services beyond the facility contract.
  • S4407- Makes reverse mortgage products safer for seniors by regulating the marketing, origination, and management of reverse mortgage products that fall under HUD’s home equity conversion mortgage program for seniors, in the hope of preventing defaults and foreclosures.
  • S4408- Protects seniors from lenders who attempt to foreclose on a home with a reverse mortgage.
  • A7206 — Establishes a program to provide education and training to individuals fifty years of age and older regarding the transition to an entrepreneur and small business developer.

You can watch Tuesday’s legislative session here.

<Wednesday>

  • S753A- Requires the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to examine, evaluate and make recommendations concerning the availability of day care for children in New York.
  • S2935A- Requires engineering plans that could pose a material risk to public safety must bear the stamp of approval of a professional engineer.
  • S4166- Mandates a brief moment of silent reflection in public schools state-wide at the start of the school day on every September 11th to encourage dialogue and education in the classroom, and ensure that future generations have an understanding of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks and their place in the history of New York and the nation.

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.

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