Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) announced today that she was asked by the Assemblys leadership to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore on Wednesday, June 17, 2009. The post has been temporarily vacant since its last occupant, former Assemblywoman Aurelia Greene, left office to become Bronx deputy borough president.
Various Assembly members have been filling in at the behest of Speaker Sheldon Silver and Majority Leader Ron Canestrari. The Speaker Pro Tem sits at the rostrum and presides over the Assembly session in the absence of the Speaker.
Among the bills considered with Assemblywoman Lupardo presiding was legislation that would crack down on distracted motorists and improving roadway safety across New York State by creating a statewide ban on driving while using portable electronic devices, such as cell phones, laptops or PDAs. The bill (A.8568-A) passed unanimously (146-0) and was delivered to the State Senate for consideration once they reconvene.
In addition to cutting down on driving distractions for all motorists, the bill also strengthens New Yorks graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws and bringing the states program closer to the model laws recommended by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA). The bill increases the number of practice driving hours that must be certified by a parent or guardian before a permit-holding junior driver can obtain a license from the current 20 hours to 50 hours (including 15 hours of driving after sundown) and reduces the number of non-family passengers under the age of 21 who will be able to ride with a junior driver who is not accompanied by a specified supervising adult from two to one.