Capital Region Awarded $85 Million for Project Development, New Investments in Water, Opposing Federal Roll Back on Net Neutrality

December 15, 2017

Legislative work is intensifying as we get closer to the start of the legislative session in the New Year A number of Assembly budget and oversight hearings were underway this past week. Also, news at the federal level continues to get worse – on the “tax reform” proposal and the FCC announced a rollback of net neutrality regulations.

Net Neutrality Rollback. The FCC announced earlier today that they would be rolling back Obama-era net neutrality regulations. This is an absolute travesty benefitting multi-national corporations at the expenses of individuals, innovators and small businesses. I'll be aggressively perusing legislation limiting NYS contracts with ISPs that don't observe net neutrality rules and limiting state resources given to non-net neutral ISPs.

Water Infrastructure Oversight Hearing. I co-chaired a hearing in NYC last week to examine progress on the historic $2.5 billion in funds to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for Water and Sewer infrastructure. I am pleased to report that this historic $2.5 billion investment in our water quality is producing encouraging results.

Capital Region Named ‘Top Performer’ at REDC Awards. More than $755 million in economic and community development funding has been awarded through Round VII of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, $85 million of which will be directed to the Capital Region, which was named a ‘top performer’ at the REDC awards. A huge congrats to all involved in the Capital Region Economic Development Committee (CREDC) for their months of work on the comprehensive proposal! A full list of awardees is available here.

My Letter to the Editor on Federal “Tax Reform” as Stocking full of Coal. Few places in the nation will feel more financial pain of the proposed GOP “Tax Reform” bill making its way through Congress than the Capital Region. The Spotlight News published my statement highlighting the damage this bill can cause to our region, combined with our location in a state that is directly targeted by this legislation leaves us especially economically vulnerable to the impacts of this incredibly unfair legislation.

Governor Proposes Taking Firearms from Domestic Abusers. I strongly commend Governor Cuomo for announcing new measures to remove firearms from domestic abusers. Data shows the women who are victims of domestic abuse are among the most likely to die in a gun-related incident, and that domestic abusers are some of the most likely perpetrators of mass shootings. Given the inextricable link between domestic violence and lethal gun violence, this legislation will require all domestic violence crime convictions, including misdemeanors, to result in the immediate removal of all firearms with the goal of preventing additional tragedies.

Dangerous Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill Passes U.S. House. I’m deeply concerned about a move in the U.S. House to undermine sensible gun protections enacted at the state level around the country. Governor Cuomo this week noted that this federal legislation would let individuals from out-of-state carry hidden, loaded weapons in New York, in violation of New York's much stronger, safer law. I could not agree more, and states should be empowered to take steps to protect their citizens.

HIV Transmission Rates Down in NYS, New Albany Damien Center Opens. Last Monday marked the unveiling of the New Albany Damien Center on World AIDS Day – a residential treatment facility for people living with HIV/AIDS. I am encouraged to see that HIV transmissions are down in New York as a whole, and I remain committed to seeing transmission rates decrease in Upstate, where we have not seen as much progress as the New York City metro, Projects like the Damien Center that provide housing for homeless people living with HIV have proven to be one of the most effective ways to decrease transmissions.

Mayor Morse Accused of Pattern of Violence.On Sunday, I called for Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse to step aside following revelations of a pattern of violence going back decades. Frankly, I find it uncomfortable to pass judgment on other elected officials; however, the pattern and credibility of these allegations led to me to speak out, particularly since public officials ought to be held to a higher standard. Women and victims of abuse need to be protected and listened to when speaking out and not risk retribution.

Governor Announces 50% Growth of NY Craft Beverage Industry. The number of craft beverage manufacturers has grown by 50 percent since the enactment of the Craft New York Act three years ago A direct result of the Governor's Beer, Wine, Spirits and Cider Summits, the Craft Act went into effect on December 13, 2014, continuing the state's support of the growing craft beverage industry. Since then, 340 new craft beverage businesses have opened their doors across the state. I’m proud to be “3 for 3” in passing bills promoting this booming industry over the past 3 years!

NYS Historic Preservation Awards – Including to the Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission. Last Thursday, I was proud to help recognize five outstanding projects from around state received 2017 New York State Historic Preservation Awards to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York's historic landmarks. This year's awards also give special recognition to the New York State Women's Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission. Established in 1980, the state preservation awards are given by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation each year to honor excellence. If you have not seen the free exhibit at the NYS Museum – please stop in!

Community Updates & Events

Public Service Leadership Award Nominations Open. The Center for Women in Government is accepting nominations for the Public Service Leadership Award. The awards recognize outstanding service and achievement of acknowledged and diverse women leaders and/or organizations. Please offer some background and history on the nominee and how the individual/and or organization complements the work and mission of the Center for Women in Government and Society.

Capitalize Albany Seeks Proposals for Highline Park. An exciting new project seeks to convert an underused 787 ramp into a “highline park” is seeking proposals for the concept. The park would connect the Corning Preserve with downtown Albany and would be the first of its kind in the region. This transformative project was awarded $375,000 last year through the Regional Economic Development Council.

UAlbany President Rodriguez Named Capital Region Economic Development Commission Co-Chair. The Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC) on Monday announced that Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, President of the University at Albany, has been appointed Co-Chair of the Council. Dr. Rodríguez will serve as academic Co-Chair, joining James J. Barba, President and CEO of Albany Medical Center, as the CREDC continues its efforts to support and promote economic growth across the eight-county Capital Region. Congratulations to Dr. Rodriguez, and I look forward to working with him in the new role!

Equinox Mentors Needed. Equinox Youth Outreach Mentoring Program is accepting new applicants for our youth mentoring program! The Equinox mentoring program titled “Journey,” for youth 13-18 encompasses a positive youth development mentoring approach to empower youth to make positive life choices. Journey’s group mentoring programs use mentors to commit to supporting inner city at-risk youth and providing them with positive trusted adult role models. Those interested in becoming a mentor can email Colleen Chera at

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, or give us a call at (518) 455-4178.