Push for Jacobe's Law, Assembly Passes LEAD Bill, Rail Trail Expands

June 8, 2018

I continued to push this week for the passage of Jacobeís Law in the Assembly. The bill would require schools to notify parents when a student is experiencing bullying in school. This legislation is a priority for the end of session this year, and I am actively working to negotiate a bill that protects students with heightened safety concerns while respecting the rights of all parties involved.

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Bill Passes Assembly. We know that all too often placing individuals with underlying mental health, housing or drug issues in jail can exacerbate the issues that landed these individuals in jail in the first place at a major cost to public safety and taxpayers. The City of Albany has been implementing a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program, which enables police officers to divert low-level offenders to housing, drug treatment, or mental health services rather than placing them in the criminal justice system. The program has diverted more than 120 individuals to date, and a more established program in Seattle has seen a 58% reduction in recidivism among participants. Iím pleased the Assembly has voted to pass my bill to dedicate a funding stream to this program that has the potential to boost public health and safety for the benefit of communities and law enforcement effectiveness in New York.

New Law Prohibits Domestic Violence Offenders from Possessing Firearms. A new law prohibiting those convicted of domestic violence offenses from owning firearms will go into effect on Monday the 11th. I was proud to support this important measure to protect women and families in the Assembly and am proud of New York for continuing to lead on guns in the absence of very necessary action from Washington!

Smart Schools Funding for Guilderland. Governor Cuomo today announced earlier this week 49 Smart Schools Investment Plans totaling $34 million have been approved as part of the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act - an initiative aimed at reimagining teaching and learning for the 21st century. The Act, first proposed by the Governor and approved by voters in 2014, but has been slow in being approved by SED. It supports investments in education technology that will equip students with the skills they need to thrive and succeed in the global economy. The program also supports the installation of high-tech security features in school buildings and on school campuses.

Rail Trail Expansion in Guilderland. Iím excited to share the announced expansion of bike lanes from the Helderberg-Hudson trail into Guilderland! Iím proud to have helped secure a capital grant for the Town of Guilderland to help connect these lanes and will continue to do all I can to support good health, tourism, and related quality of life initiatives in the 109th District. The explosive growth of rail trails in our region is also a major boost for our economic development!

Assembly Passes Bill Allowing Partial Prescription Refills. The opioid crisis continues to wreak havoc in communities across our state, claiming countless lives each and every year. To ensure New Yorkers arenít left with extra painkillers that could be misused or could fall into the wrong hands, I voted for legislation, sponsored by my colleague Assemblymember John McDonald, enabling patients to partially fill controlled substance prescriptions. Under current law, patients who partly fill this type of medication initially are not allowed to fill the remainder of the prescription later on. This measure would allow 30 days to fill the remainder of the prescription. It gives patients the final say when it comes to their treatment and may help stop prescription drug abuse before it happens.

3 Bills Addressing Guilderland Property Taxes Pass Assembly. Iím very pleased (& relieved!) to share that the Assembly and Senate have now passed all three of the bills I introduced with Senator George Amedore to help bring relief to residents impacted by a dramatic drop last of the equalization rate last year in Guilderland. These bills, in addition to providing for segmented equalization rates for some financial relief this year, will increase the transparency and timeliness of this process for communities statewide facing this issue in the future.

Community Updates

Join me Wednesday- NYS Legislators Celebrate Bloomsday! Join me and the American Irish Legislators Society of NYS in celebrating our First Annual Bloomsday in Albany on Wednesday, June 13 with a fundraiser beginning at 6PM at the Irish American Heritage Museum, 370 Broadway in Albany. The celebration of Bloomsday is a commemoration of the life of Irish writer James Joyce and his novel Ulysses, which follows the life and thoughts of Leopold Bloom and a host of other characters in Dublin - real and fictional - on one single day, June 16, 1904.

The events of the novel will be relived through Irish readings, music and a literary pub crawl and begins at 6pm at the Irish American Heritage Museum at 370 Broadway in downtown Albany. From there we will proceed to Loch Quay at 414 Broadway with a final stop at the Parish Public House at 388 Broadway. The cost of the event is $30.00 per ticket and includes 3 drinks (one at each venue).

The American Irish Legislators Society is a charitable organization that raises awareness of Irish culture in NYS. Bloomsday proceeds will help allow the Society to contribute to many worthwhile programs state-wide. Cost is $30.00. Please make checks payable to the American Irish Legislators Society. To RSVP, please contact Senator Brian Kavanaghís office at 518-455-2625.

District Attorney Holds Listening Tour on Marijuana. Albany County District Attorney David Soares is hosting a series of public meetings to discuss potential changes to marijuana laws with Albany County residents. While there has been discussion in the Legislature and in the State regarding changes to marijuana laws, the dialogue is still ongoing and not expected to move at this time. I encourage you to attend to better acquaint yourself with the issue, validate your opinions, dispel myths, and add to the dialogue. See below for the dates, times, and locations for the public meetings along with additional information.

Wednesday, June 6th, at 6 PM, at Albany Public Library Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch, located at 148 Henry Johnson Blvd, Albany, NY 12210

Monday, June 11th, at 6 PM, at Berne Public Library, located at 1763 Helderberg Trail, Berne, NY 12023

Wednesday, June 13th, at 6 PM, at Guilderland Public Library, located at 2228 Western Avenue, Guilderland, NY 12084

Monday, June 18th, at 6 PM, at Cohoes Public Library, located at 169 Mohawk St # 2, Cohoes, NY 12047

Wednesday, June 20th, at 6 PM, at Bethlehem Public Library, located at 451 Delaware Avenue, Delmar, NY 12054

New Zoning Laws in New Scotland. Kudos to New Scotland Town Supervisor Doug LaGrange for successfully pushing through a new zoning law for the historic Bender Melon Farm. This new law will allow sustainable development and smart growth in New Scotland while preserving its rural character as a gem of the hilltowns.

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.