Issues: Families

Opinions on Immigration Issues

As reported by NY1:

Kathy Hochul is not backing down from her position that immigrants who are here illegally should be prevented from obtaining driver's licenses. She opposed the plan in 2007, citing national security concerns, and reiterated the point in an interview on Inside City Hall Thursday.

"I'm not sure what's changed in that dynamic," Hochul said.

That's a tall order for some Latino officials, who were told Hochul's views would evolve much like they have on gun control. Once a strong Second Amendment supporter, Hochul now says she favors tougher gun laws.

For full article, click here.

July 22, 2014
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Little Helpers, Senator O'Brien help School #33 with books, food

In April, the Little Helpers of Pittsford and I teamed up to supply food and books to deserving students at School 33 in my district, as pictured here.

A profile in the July 17 edition of the Brighton-Pittsford Post highlighted some of the Little Helpers' other charitable activities.  I am proud to have worked alongside them on a number of those activities, and I encourage local parents whose children are interested in volunteering to visit the Little Helpers Facebook page.

July 21, 2014
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$10.9 Million Awarded for After-School Programs

New grants, totaling $10.9 million have been awarded to 68 Advantage After School Programs (AASPs) across New York State, providing thousands of school-age children with quality youth development opportunities for three hours at the end of each school of school-age children with quality youth development opportunities for three hours at the end of each school day.

July 21, 2014
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Kennedy, Peoples-Stokes, Wisniewski Family Call for GPS Stalking Bill, Known as Jackie’s Law, to be Signed into Law

Legislation Prompted by Jackie Wisniewski’s Story Now Awaits Governor’s Signature to Become Law.

Prior to her death, Jackie found a GPS device installed on her car, tracking her whereabouts. Legislation passed by Kennedy and Peoples-Stokes updates NY’s stalking laws to crackdown on GPS stalking.

This legislation aims to combat domestic violence – in 2012 over 6,300 Erie County residents became victims of domestic violence, and over 4,000 of those victims were women.

July 17, 2014
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Third Annual Jay-J Day Picnic Celebrates Boy Who Inspired Law to Toughen Penalties Against Child Abusers

After Hearing Jay-J’s Story, Senator Kennedy Authored Jay-J’s Law and Ushered It Through Legislature.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Senator Tim Kennedy joined the Retzer family and Jay-J Bolvin today for the third annual Jay-J Day Picnic. This annual event serves as an opportunity to celebrate Jay-J, a four-year-old boy whose story inspired a new law – Jay-J’s Law – to strengthen penalties against child abusers.

July 12, 2014
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Legislative Notebook: State Initiatives of Interest to Veterans

Here is a partial listing of bills I have supported this session to aid New York’s former servicemen and servicewomen. These initiatives will now go to Governor Cuomo for final action.

-- Legislation I co-sponsored was passed by both houses (S.7839, first introduced as S.4714)) to extend the Military Service Credit Law of 2000 to all veterans who have served in the military. Right now, public employees who served in the armed forces may purchase up to three years of pension credit only if their military service occurred during specified conflicts. This measure will expand this opportunity to public employee veterans who also served their country in peacetime.

June 26, 2014
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Senator Kennedy Secures Approval of Bill to Help NY Families Find the Right Afterschool and Summer Programs for their Children

Senate and Assembly Passed Legislation Sponsored by Senator Kennedy and Assemblywoman Mayer that Establishes New Online Tool to Help Parents across New York State Track Down the Best Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs in their Neighborhoods.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Senator Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, and Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, D-Yonkers, have secured Senate and Assembly approval of their legislation to establish a new online tool that will help parents across New York State find the right afterschool and summer learning programs for their children.

June 26, 2014
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Senator Kennedy's Bill to Improve Statewide Child Abuse Hotline Passed Through State Legislature

Senator Kennedy’s Legislation Will Improve State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment by Enacting Strong Requirements for Tracking of Repeat Reports.

Senate, Assembly Approved Key CPS Reform Pushed by Kennedy.

State review of Erie County CPS found 72 percent of existing reports involved families with previous history of CPS investigations within the past four years.

June 23, 2014
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Senate Passes Seward Bill To Combat Heroin & Opioid Crisis

ALBANY, 06/19/14 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) today spoke on the senate floor in support of legislation to fight the growing heroin and opioid abuse epidemic.  The senate passed a package of eleven bills that were part of a three-way agreement between the senate, assembly and governor.  The package includes senate bill 7912, sponsored by Senator Seward, to improve access to insurance coverage for substance abuse treatment and dependency services.

June 19, 2014
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Bill Pushed By Kennedy to Improve CPS Transparency, Caseload Oversight Passes State Legislature

Following Conflicting Reports Related to Caseload Levels for CPS Workers, Kennedy Secures Approval of Bill to Improve Transparency by Requiring Disclosure of CPS Caseloads.

Kennedy-backed bill requires local CPS agencies to outline steps they’ll take to reduce caseloads.

Kennedy: As Erie County Adds More Workers, This Bill Will Shed Light on Future Needs to Reduce Caseloads.

June 19, 2014
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Griffo-Rozic Foster Care Bill Heading To Governor

Passed Legislation to Protect Children in Foster Homes

June 19, 2014
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Senator Griffo's Weekly Column #25: Ensuring Equality for Women

In Governor Cuomo’s 2013 State of the State address, he challenged legislators to reject institutional and cultural norms and make New York a leader in creating equality for women.

I’m proud that my Senate colleagues and I have twice met his challenge.

We’ve passed nine bills that would stop human trafficking, ensure equal pay for equal work, combat sexual harassment in the workplace, end gender-based discrimination in employment, housing and credit, require reasonable accommodations for pregnant women in the workplace and provide stronger protections for victims of domestic violence.

June 19, 2014
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Seward Bill Key Component Of Legislative Agreement To Combat Heroin

ALBANY, 06/18/14 -- State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) today announced an agreement between legislative leaders and the governor on several bills aimed at fighting the growing heroin and opioid abuse epidemic.  The package includes a bill, sponsored by Senator Seward, to improve access to insurance coverage for substance abuse treatment and dependency services.

June 18, 2014
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Children and Families in Chautauqua County to Receive Additional Family Court Judge

For Release: Immediate, June 18, 2014

Senate and Assembly Reach Agreement on Allocation of New Family Court Judges

ALBANY - To address a record number of cases, Chautauqua County will have an additional Family Court judge to alleviate a huge backlog.

After sponsoring legislation to elect an additional judge to relieve the overwhelming caseload in Chautauqua County Family Court, Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I-Olean) announced today that an agreement has been reached between the state Senate and Assembly to double the county’s number of Family Court judges from one to two.

June 17, 2014
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Senator Valesky Celebrates Juneteenth

Senator David Valesky joined Congressman Dan Maffei, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, Syracuse City Common Councilors, and area residents for a Juneteenth Flag Raising at City Hall on Friday, June 13.

June 13, 2014
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Senate Passes Valesky-Sponsored Elder Financial Abuse Legislation

Legislation sponsored by Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) protecting seniors from financial abuse passed the Senate today.

Sen. Valesky, chair of the Senate Aging Committee, released a report on May 6 that shows financial abuse amongst New York's seniors to be more prevalent than initially thought, with much higher rates of undocumented incidents that actually exist. Data obtained by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services project a surge in the number of cases of financial abuse by the year 2030, with nearly 200,000 incidents predicted to occur.

June 12, 2014
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Senate Passes Bill to Make Residential Youth Facilities Safer

The New York State Senate today passed a measure to protect the staff and youth in group homes and other youth residential facilities.

June 11, 2014
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ELDER ABUSE COALITION PARTNERS, SENATOR VALESKY JOIN TO FIGHT ELDER FINANCIAL ABUSE

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Today, a coalition of advocates from the Syracuse Area Domestic & Sexual Violence Coalition's Elder Abuse & Justice Committees joined State Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) to draw attention to the serious issue of elder financial abuse and to invite the community to a special presentation, “Physical & Financial Fitness,” in recognition of the 9th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

June 6, 2014
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State Senator and Assemblywoman Debate DREAM Act

As reported by NY1:

Inside City Hall hosted a debate on the merits of the state Dream Act, a bill that would give college financial aid to undocumented immigrants with State Senator Jose Peralta, a Democrat from Queens and a leading opponent, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican whose Assembly district covers parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn.

To view full video, click here. 

June 6, 2014
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Senator Kennedy Announces Legislation to Improve CPS Transparency Passes Out of Committee, Ready for Consideration of Full Senate

Kennedy-sponsored Legislation that Would Add Increased Transparency to CPS has Gained Momentum in Albany and Passed Through Key Committee.

Proposed bills will require local CPS agencies to disclose caseloads – overburdened workers have been a major concern – and allow CPS department heads to, in good faith, share critical information about individual cases to shed light on gaps in the system.

Caseloads in Erie County may be as high as 40 or 50 cases per worker, according to recent reports.

May 30, 2014
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