Protecting New Yorkers Online, Concerns about Charters, Clean Power

October 13, 2017

Cyber security disasters like the recent Equifax breach are becoming all too common. The Equifax breach affected some 143 million American- more than half of all U.S. adults. These types of disasters are only anticipated to grow in scope; in less than two year their global cost is anticipated to reach over $2.1 trillion, or more than 13 times the 2017 NYS Budget. With costs on par with environmental disasters, the time for action is now. That’s why this week I introduced legislation along with Senator David Carlucci to broaden the conditions under which NYS data breach protections can be triggered. This legislation will mean that the release of data like birthdays, home addresses or phone number will be enough to trigger these protections.

New Water Infrastructure Grants in Capital Region. Governor Cuomo announced last week nearly $44 million in grants to support 24 essential drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects in the Capital Region. These grants are part of a $255 million statewide investment, funded through New York's Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, as well as the new Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grants Program. In the Capital Region, $44 million in grant funds will leverage $175 million in total project costs and provide over $97 million in taxpayer savings. I’m proud to have pushed the new Intermunicpal Water Infrastructure Grants Program with my colleague Assemblymember John McDonald- a project of particular importance in our region where much of our water infrastructure is shared between different municipalities.

Governor Concerned about Federal Clean Power Plan. Governor Cuomo released a statement on Thursday with concerns about the Trump Administration's move to dismantle the Clean Power Plan. He says it is a reckless decision that gives power plant operators free reign to do what they will without any concern for our climate, and that it rolls back the progress made to reduce carbon emissions and puts industry interests ahead of our ability to reduce damaging emissions. I agree that climate change is one of the most profound threats to our society, and I am committed to ensuring New York does it part to combat climate change.

Charter Schools will be able to License Teachers in NYS. The SUNY Charter School Commission ruled this week that charter schools in New York will be able to apply to certify their teachers in NYS. I’m seriously concerned about this ruling and what it means for the quality of charter educators in our state. The new plan requires just 40 hours of teaching practice. I’m committed to protecting the quality of education in NYS and will monitor the ongoing implementation of this new policy.

Community Updates

New York Writers Institute Hosting Ongoing “Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World” Series. The New York State Writers Institute will be presenting a two-day conference featuring acclaimed journalists, authors, historians, and First Amendment scholars, who will share their views on issues including “fake news;” Constitutional protections for a free press; information overload; the shifting roles of social media; and hacking and cybersecurity. The event will take place October 13 and 14, at Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, on UAlbany’s Downtown Campus. A complete schedule of events is available here.

Panel Discussion on Constitutional Convention. The Women’s Press Club of New York State and the League of Women Voters of Albany County will present a panel discussion on the November ballot question of whether New York should hold a constitutional convention. The panle will include Gerald Benjamin, Ronald Deutsch, and The Capitol Press Room’s Susan Arbetter. The discussion, open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 24, at the Guilderland Public Library on 2228 Western Ave.

Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy Hike. The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy will be hosting a guided hike on Tuesday, October 17 at 10 AM Normans Kill Preserves in Bethlehem, Meet at 9:45 at the Normans Kill West parking lot. This hike will be led by Alan Casline, a local poet, editor, and small press publisher. He is the editor of Normanskill, a watershed anthology from the Normanskill watershed. They will start out in Normans Kill West, one of the most popular Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy Preserves, and learn about the natural and human history of the area. Next, they’ll head down Delaware Avenue to Normans Kill East, a lesser-known but beautiful Preserve featuring a lovely trail along the Normans Kill. This is a free event.

Albany Schools Seek Volunteer Tutors. There are still spots available in a free Oct. 28 training for people who want to volunteer as elementary school reading tutors in the City School District of Albany. The training will be held from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm on Saturday, Oct. 28 at Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 75 Watervliet Avenue. Lunch and a beverage will be provided. To register or learn more about the program and other volunteer opportunities in the district, contact Volunteer Coordinator Fiona Thompson at 475-6360 or fthompson@albany.k12.ny.us

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.