Update on Banning the Bumpstock, New NYS Tax Reform Website, & Primary Date Change
This was another busy budget and legislative week in the state legislature.
Primary Date Change. This week the Assembly passed a bill to change this year’s primary day from September 11th to Thursday, September 13th! Aside from the sensitivity to honoring the 9/11 date, the primary also fell on the Jewish Rosh Hashanah holiday, so it made good sense to change the date and I assume the Senate will do the same.
Governor Launches Tax Fairness Plan & Website. Governor Cuomo kicked off the “Tax Fairness for New York: Campaign to move forward on efforts to combat the devastating impacts the destructive GOP federal tax law will have on New York. To advance the state’s efforts to overhaul the tax code, and to generate the best ideas and solutions, NYS Budget Director Robert Mujica as well as other New York State representatives have been meeting with experts from state and local government, academia, and the private sector to obtain feedback and comment on the preliminary report released earlier this month by the Department of Taxation and Finance. The report outlines options for state tax reform designed to mitigate the adverse impact of the federal legislation on our economy and on New Yorkers. I continue to follow this closely and to advocate that we do all possible to protect taxpayers from the negative effects of the federal tax changes.
Feds to Hold Hearing on Offshore Drilling in Albany. Next Thursday at 3:00 PM, I will be joining a rally outside the Albany Hilton to protest against a federal plan to allow offshore oil drilling in New York. The U.S. Department of the Interior will be holding a hearing in Albany on the proposed plan, which would have a negative impact on the ocean and to coastal communities along the Atlantic and Pacific seaboard. Members of the Assembly representing Long Island and impacted communities have pushed for the hearing to be located where it would more accessible to affected residents and businesses.
Update on my Ban the Bumpstock Bill. My bill banning the possession of bump stocks, the device used in October’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, is closer to becoming law. The bill, which is now co-sponsored by more than 50 members of the Assembly, was unanimously passed by the Assembly Codes Committee on Tuesday. I will continue to aggressively push this bipartisan, common sense bill.
Update on Guilderland Property Tax Bills. Last fall, hundreds of taxpayers in Guilderland were hit with a surprise tax increase due to changes in the town’s equalization rate. I sponsored joint legislation to help mitigate this problem with Senator George Amedore, and those bills have passed in the Senate, and have been reported out of committee in the Assembly. I continue to push this bill to bring property taxpayers some relief and bring greater transparency to the equalization process.
DREAM Act Passes Assembly. The Assembly on Monday passed the New York State Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act to expand access to higher education for the children of immigrants. This legislation will help more hardworking students earn a college degree, improve careers and contribute economically to their communities.
Community Updates & Events
New Black History Exhibit in NYS Capitol. The Governor announced the opening of the Black History Month exhibit in the State Capitol – 2nd Floor. In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the exhibit, “Strength of Generations,” underscores how individuals can elevate the lives of others and their communities to effect change that can sow benefits for generations. The exhibit honors many of the African Americans who have played a transformational role in New York State. This exhibit will run through the end of February.
“Color our Collection” Event with NYS Library. The NYS Library is once again joining other libraries around the country and the world for “Color Our Collections”. Originated by the library of the New York Academy of Medicine, the event is “a week-long library & special collections coloring fest on social media” running February 5-9, 2018 that invites both children and adults to explore, color and connect with libraries and their collections.
School Vacation Week Programs at the Albany Pine Bush. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission will be offering a variety of programs at the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center during the upcoming school break, February 19-23. Programs include a series of bird-themed activities and a family trivia night. Program participants will have a chance to build bird nest models, bird feeders, birdhouses and more. Programs are $3 per person, $5 per family and Children under 5 are free. Pre-registration is required for all programs. The Discovery Center is located at 195 New Karner Road in Albany.
Whitney Young Flu Clinic. The recent flu epidemic has impacted many families in the Capital Region. Whitney Young Health is hosting a flu clinic every Thursday from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM at their Albany Health Center at 920 Lark Drive in Albany. Call (518) 465-4771 to make an appointment for their flu shots, walk-ins are also welcome.
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.