Updates on Childcare and Paid Family Leave

September 14, 2017

Thanks to all voters for participating in last week's elections. Our democracy requires an engaged electorate and I thank those who do their part to keep engaged and keep our community strong.

NYS Assembly Women's Caucus to Host Childcare Roundtables.

Affordable childcare is essential for the economic success of most women and families. Although we successfully expanded the child care tax credit in adopting this year's state budget, the funding for low income childcare slots was cut by $7 million. Childcare accessibility (including afterschool care) is a top priority - and these cuts are deeply troubling. There will be three Assembly roundtables scheduled for this fall sponsored by the Children and Families Committee, the Childcare Workgroup, and the Taskforce on Women’s Issues to evaluate broadly the needs of the childcare system and to identify ways in which we can support the expansion of the system to meet the aforementioned goals.

Guilderland Tax Revaluation. I was stunned by the release of new property tax rates affecting

hundreds of Guilderland property owners who do not reside in the Guilderland School District. It is unfair that some residents will see their property tax bill jump thousands of dollars practically overnight due to a newly set state equalization rate. One of the most popular laws adopted in recent years has been the 2% state property tax cap, however, tax reassessments such as this can have very alarming results. The Altamont Enterprise has a thorough analysis of this issue in this week’s edition. I have alerted the Governor's office of this issue, and am working with Senator George Amedore and the Town of Guilderland to address this increase going forward.

New NYS Laws Signed By Governor. The Times Union released a helpful list on Thursday of 58 laws newly signed by the Governor. Some of the more notable new laws include a law allowing schools to donate unused food to shelters and other programs.

New Paid Family Leave Program to go into Effect in January. Under New York’s new paid family leave program – the most robust in the nation – most workers will be eligible for paid family leave benefits. This is a drastic improvement over the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which only offers unpaid leave and covers just 60 percent of the workforce. New York is now one of only five states, as well as the District of Columbia, to require a paid family leave benefit. Workers – especially women, who bear the brunt of unfair workplace policies – will no longer be financially penalized for caring for a loved one. The law will go into effect on January 1st and be paid for by employee contributions.

Community Updates

Albany JCC Dunkin’ Run.

Yesterday,I kicked off (and ran!) the Albany Jewish Community Center Dunkin’ Run! For 38 years, the Albany JCC has hosted a highly popular neighborhood run right from their Whitehall Road facility. The Dunkin' Run helps to fund the JCC’s senior classes, fitness programs and aquatics.

State Education Building to Open for Weekend Tours. The NYS Department of Education building located at the Capitol Complex will be opening for regular weekend tours, along with the State Capitol Building. The Education Building is an architectural marvel which up until recently was closed to visitors. The building opened in 1912 and is known for its neoclassical design including 36 Corinthian columns which form the most expansive colonnade in the United States.

St. Rose Urban Launch Program. It was a pleasure to meet with incoming St. Rose freshman as a part of their “Urban Launch” program. Incoming freshman learned more about their new home, and were exposed to many of the assets of their new community. I met with the “launchers” to discuss the political climate in New York, and explore some of the accomplishments of this most recent legislative session.

Albany Rowing Center Athletes to Compete at 2017 World Rowing Championship. Albany Rowing Center announced Wednesday that two of its youth rowers have been selected to participate in the Youth Regional Challenge at the 2017 World Rowing Championships (to be held in Florida later this month. Albany Rowing Center athletes Connor Toomey of Albany and Christian Sauer of Delmar will represent the highly competitive northeast region. Only 300 rowers from the northeast were nominated and the two 16-year-olds from Albany Rowing Center were selected to be among the 18 athletes who will represent the region. Congratulations to these outstanding local athletes!

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New O’Neal Middle School Opens. The past and present intersected on Tuesday as the City School District of Albany honored the man for whom its newest school is named. About 150 people gathered at Edmund J. O'Neal Middle School of Excellence on North Lark Street to pay tribute to the late Edmund J. O’Neal, who taught, was a principal and ran the human resources office during his 36-year career in the district. O’Neal was the first African-American principal in the Albany School District, and served as a mentor and role model to generations of Albany students.

Preservation League of NYS Announces New Grant. The New York State Council on the Arts together with the Preservation League of New York State and the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation this week announced the recipients of the 25th round of grant funding through Preserve New York at a news conference in Albany. Launched in 1993, Preserve New York makes grants for historic structure reports, building condition reports, cultural landscape reports, and cultural resource surveys. Locally, grant recipients include the Historic Albany Foundation and the Rensselaerville Library.

2018 Legislative Internship Openings. The application for the 2018 Legislative Session Internship is now open. This will be the 47th year of the intern program. The session internship offers college students a chance to participate in state government and the legislative process through a well-structured practical learning experience. Assembly Session Internships give students an advantage in today's job market, providing real government experience in a comprehensive academic program. Application materials must be post marked by November 1st. More information on applying can be found here.

Job Opportunities: New York State has set up a new job portal entitled Jobs Express, where thousands of private and public sector jobs are listed. Visit jobs.ny.gov for more information on how to apply for these opportunities.

As always, for the latest news or for upcoming events, please visit my office online, on Facebook, on Twitter, or my Times Union blog. If you would like to reach my office, please feel free to send us a note.