Newsroom

Senate Passes Bill to Protect Remains of Crime Victims

The New York State Senate today passed legislation, sponsored by Senator Michael Ranzenhofer (R-C-I, Amherst), that would close a loophole in the state health law that gave a Western New York man who killed his wife the sole rights to her remains. In 2009, Constance Shepherd of Tonawanda was brutally murdered by her husband, Stephen Shepherd. Her family fought to gain control of her remains to ensure a proper funeral and burial.  However, under the state Public Health Law Stephen Shepherd had the sole rights to control the disposal of her remains.  

May 14, 2012
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Senate to Act Next Week on 'Protection of People With Special Needs Act'

Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos today announced that the Senate will act next week on legislation to reform and strengthen protections for more than one million state residents with special needs who are served by facilities and programs operated, licensed and certified by State agencies.

May 9, 2012
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Senate Gives Final Passage to Iran Divestment Act Expansion

The New York State Senate today gave final legislative passage to an expansion of the Iran Divestment Act.  The bill (S.6462), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, includes state and local public authorities, the State University of New York, and the City University of New York among the governmental entities prohibited from entering into new or renewed contracts with companies that provide goods, services or credit worth $20 million or more to Iran's energy. The Assembly has already approved the legislation (A.9224), which is sponsored by Speaker Sheldon Silver.

May 9, 2012
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Senate Passes Bill to Require Immediate Investigation by Law Enforcement of Abuse in State Facilities

The New York State Senate today passed legislation, sponsored by Senator Steve Saland (R, I, C – Poughkeepsie), that would modify current reporting procedures involving the abuse of children in residential care.   The measure (S.6563) guarantees that reports of certain abuse will be immediately forwarded to law enforcement.  The passage of this legislation comes amidst the latest announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo of his proposal to establish the Justice Center for the Protection of Persons with Special Needs.

May 8, 2012
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Senate Renews Call for Assembly to Pass Measures to Fight Auto Insurance Fraud

New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos, Senate Insurance Committee Chairman Senator James L. Seward and Senator Martin Golden today joined law enforcement, insurance advocates, business groups, and victims to press for the Assembly’s passage of three auto insurance fraud prevention bills before the end of this year’s legislative session. Auto insurance fraud costs New Yorkers more than $1 billion a year and has led to injuries - even death - for innocent victims. 

May 8, 2012
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Senate Passes Bill Protecting Homeowners Who Make Changes to Accommodate Older Relatives or Disabled People

The New York State Senate today passed a bill (S.638), sponsored by Senator Martin Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn), which allows local governments to authorize property tax exemptions for people who make improvements or changes to their homes to accommodate senior relatives or disabled people. The legislation means that homeowners are able to add on to their homes for this purpose without having to pay higher taxes resulting from increased property assessments.

May 7, 2012
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Statement by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on COA Ruling

I am gratified that the Court of Appeals has unanimously ruled that the Senate's reapportionment plan is fair and complies with the State Constitution.  Today's decision by the State's highest court upholds the addition of a 63rd Senate seat, consistent with the requirements of the State Constitution.  It was the Senate Democrats who wrongly dragged us into court and wasted taxpayer money pursuing this matter.  This ruling comes on the heels of the Obama administration’s decision to preclear our reapportionment plan, after determining it complied with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Finally, I am grateful that the Court of Appeals heard this important case on an expedited basis.

May 3, 2012
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Senate Passes Bill to Crackdown on Drunk Drivers

The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.4740C), sponsored by Senator Owen H.

May 2, 2012
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Senate Passes Sex Abuse Prevention Bills

The New York State Senate today passed a package of eight bills to prevent sexual predators from obtaining access to potential victims and help law enforcement and communities keep track of their whereabouts. The bills will help increase the amount of information available about convicted sex offenders and seeks to prevent them from obtaining access to vulnerable individuals. “When sexual predators are released from prison, we need to make sure laws are in place to keep our children and communities safe,” Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos said. “This package of bills would address recidivism by increasing penalties for crimes and improves public awareness by enhancing the information collected and disseminated about sex offenders.” 

May 1, 2012
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Senate Passes Bill to Criminalize Synthetic Marijuana

The New York State Senate today passed legislation to criminalize the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana. The bill (S.6694), sponsored by Senator John Flanagan (R-C-I, East Northport),  would also criminalize the sale and possession of hallucinogenic chemicals deceptively called “bath salts.” 

April 30, 2012
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Statement by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on Property Tax Cap

Published reports show the vast majority of school districts throughout New York are presenting budgets to voters that fall within the 2 percent property tax cap adopted by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.  This is good news for taxpayers. Passage of a school property tax cap which finally slams the door on massive tax increases that middle-class families could not afford was a long-held priority of the Senate Republican conference.  In fact, the Senate approved the very first property tax cap bill in 2008. I am pleased that we have successfully worked with Governor Cuomo and the Assembly to produce two budgets that reduced state spending, and enacted a property tax cap that helps taxpayers and moves our state forward.

April 26, 2012
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Senate Celebrates West Point Day at the Capitol

The New York State Senate today welcomed cadets and staff from the United States Military Academy at West Point as part of an annual day of recognition. In honor of the celebration, the Senate passed several bills focusing on helping veterans obtain jobs and protect their rights. 

April 26, 2012
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Senate Passes Bill to Provide Search and Rescue Training for Volunteers Helping Forest Rangers

The New York State Senate today passed legislation that allows for the creation of a training program for volunteers interested in assisting the search and rescue operations of state forest rangers. The bill (S.553), sponsored by Senator Betty Little (R-C-I, Queensbury), will enhance the safety of volunteers and the public during search and rescue operations in the Adirondacks, Catskills and other forested communities across the state. 

April 19, 2012
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Senate Approves Legislation on Mixed Martial Arts Bouts

The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.1707A) to legalize and regulate mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions in New York State.

April 18, 2012
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Senate Passes Legislation Giving Courts Greater Criteria For Granting Bail

The New York State Senate today passed a law which gives courts the ability to consider a greater number of issues–including victims’ safety—when setting bail. The bill (S.259), sponsored by Senator George Maziarz, also known as “Jilly’s Law”, is named for Jill Cahill who was killed in 1998. Jill Cahill, of Onondaga County, was in the process of trying to divorce her husband, Jeff Cahill, when he attacked her with a baseball bat, striking her more than seven times and nearly killing her.

April 18, 2012
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Senate Passes Pet Protection Bill

The New York State Senate today passed a bill to help prevent the theft of pets by increasing the penalties for committing the crime. The bill, (S.946), sponsored by Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R, Syosset), would make stealing a dog or cat a felony and takes into account the monetary and emotional value of a pet. 

April 18, 2012
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Senate Passes Bills to Help Taxpayers

On New York State’s tax filing deadline, the state Senate today passed legislation that would expedite payment of income tax refunds and simplify STAR property tax relief filings for senior citizens.

A bill sponsored by Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R, Syosset) ensures prompt payment of a state income tax refund. Traditionally, the state Department of Taxation and Finance has held returns requesting refunds for up to two months, starting from when taxpayers file their return to when they may actually see the refund.

April 17, 2012
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Senate Passes Bill to Increase Prison Sentences For Persistent Violent Offenders

The New York State Senate today passed legislation that would keep the most dangerous, violent, repeat criminals behind bars and out of our communities. The bill (S.1539), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos (R-C, Rockville Centre),  requires persistent violent felony offenders be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.  This bill recognizes that persistent violent offenders are most likely to commit violent crimes again and would ensure that violent, recidivist criminals are permanently prevented from posing a danger to society.

April 17, 2012
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Senate Completes Second Consecutive Early Passage of State Budget

 For the second consecutive year, the New York State Senate has completed an early passage of the state budget. The 2012-13 state budget achieves the Senate Republicans’ goals of reducing state spending, not raising taxes and creating new private sector jobs.  The new state fiscal year begins April 1st.

March 30, 2012
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Senate Passes Bill to Protect Domestic Violence Victims

The New York State Senate today passed legislation that gives judges the ability to consider well-established risk factors in determining bail or recognizance in domestic violence cases so that a victim and their family can be further protected from an assailant.  The bill (S.1414A), sponsored by Senator Stephen Saland (R-I-C, Poughkeepsie), would allow the history of violence or threats of violence, prior orders of protection, and the accused’s access to guns to be considered by a judge, potentially affecting their release conditions and sparing many victims and their children additional harm or even death.

March 29, 2012
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