Newsroom

Senate Passes Bill to Ban Salvia Divinorum

In an effort to protect the youth of New York State,  the State Senate today passed legislation, sponsored by Senator John Flanagan (R-C-I, East Northport), to ban the sale of the legal hallucinogen salvia divinorum.   Senator Flanagan renewed his efforts to ban the dangerous herb following media reports that Ryan Santanna, a 21-year old Roosevelt Island resident, had allegedly been smoking salvia divinorum before apparently leaping to his death in Roosevelt Island earlier this month.  This is the same legal substance that pop star Miley Cyrus was allegedly smoking in a widely distributed video clip in December of last year.  

March 21, 2011
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Senate Celebrates Sunshine Week by Introducing Sweeping Budget Reform Proposal

The New York State Senate Majority introduced comprehensive budget reform legislation this week that would create a non-partisan budget office and require the adoption of multi-year financial plans based on sound accounting practices. The bill, introduced during national Sunshine Week, would significantly enhance independence and accountability in the budget process.

March 16, 2011
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State Senate Passes Responsible Budget That Reduces Spending, Invests in New York's Priorities, and Includes No New Taxes

The New York State Senate today passed  its budget resolution - - a fiscally sound plan that reduces spending, rejects tax increases and makes responsible investments in New York’s future.

The Senate budget largely mirrors the priorities outlined in Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget and will serve as a real roadmap to the enactment of a responsible, on-time budget.

March 15, 2011
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Senate Passes Legislation to Support Veterans

The New York State Senate today passed legislation that would significantly enhance the protection of property, rights and services available to current and former military personnel. The seven bills would build upon the Senate’s ongoing commitment to increase support for veterans and their families.

March 14, 2011
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Senate Passes Independent Redistricting Plan

The New York State Senate today passed a constitutional amendment, sponsored by Senator John Bonacic (R-C-I, Mount Hope), that would significantly reform the process by which new legislative and congressional district lines are determined.  The amendment would create an independent,  non-partisan apportionment commission, as called for in the NY Uprising pledge.

March 14, 2011
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Senate Passes Legislation to Limit Protests at Military Funerals

The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.3901), sponsored by Senator Lee Zeldin (R,C,I- Shirley), that would limit protests at military funerals.  Called “The Specialist Thomas Wilwerth Military Dignity Act,” the proposed law is named for an Iraq War Veteran who lost his life in combat in 2006.

March 14, 2011
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New York State Senate Celebrates Women's History Month

The New York State Senate today celebrated Women’s History Month by announcing an exhibit honoring historic New York women whose achievements in arts, science, government, military, labor, education, and social reform have earned them recognition as “Women of Distinction.”

March 14, 2011
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Lawmakers Call on Governor to Ax OCFS Commissioner After Further Evidence of Abuse in Foster Homes

With shocking new video evidence revealing continued violence in New York’s juvenile centers, state lawmakers are calling on Governor Cuomo to fire Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner (OCFS) Gladys Carrion, according to Senator Catharine Young (R,I,C – Olean). Security video footage, unveiled by former state Commission of Correction’s employee Eileen Carpenter at a recent press conference in Albany, showed graphic images of residents violently assaulting each other and staff in the state’s four juvenile secure centers.

March 9, 2011
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Senate Passes Bill to Strengthen Voting Process for Military Voters

The New York State Senate today gave final legislative approval today to legislation (S.3500) sponsored by State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats), Chairman of the Senate Elections Committee, to ensure that special elections in New York State provide more time for military absentee ballots to be mailed and counted. “It’s the right time to make this change, and it’s a sound piece of legislation.  It ensures that New York’s servicemen and servicewomen are given every reasonable opportunity to have their voices heard and their votes counted in special elections,” said O’Mara, who noted that the new law is expected to be in effect for an upcoming special election in western New York’s 26th Congressional District.

March 3, 2011
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Senate Passes UB 2020 Legislation

The New York State Senate today passed “UB 2020”  legislation, sponsored by Senator Mark Grisanti (North Buffalo),  that supports the University at Buffalo’s strategic plan to encourage economic growth and create jobs in Western New York.  The bill benefits students, families and the economy of the entire region.

March 2, 2011
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Senate Passes Bill to Reform "Last In, First Out"

The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.3501B), sponsored by Senator John Flanagan (R-C-I, East Northport), to reform the “Last In, First Out” (LIFO) law in New York City.  Current law bases the layoffs of teachers and supervisors solely based on seniority and without regard to their effectiveness or competence.   By reforming the LIFO system, which New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pointed to as a major problem in keeping quality teachers in city schools, this bill will put qualifications ahead of seniority so that the best teachers are protected.  This issue is critical due to education funding cuts proposed in the Executive Budget.

March 1, 2011
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Statement by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos

I was pleased to meet with Mayor Koch today on the issue of independent redistricting.  I expressed to him my concerns about the Koch-endorsed bill that would weight the redistricting process in favor of Democrats by a six to two margin.   Several different redistricting reform bills have been proposed.  We are still reviewing constitutional concerns that we have with the bill submitted by the Governor.  It is our intention to pursue a redistricting reform measure that will meet the NY Uprising pledge.  

March 1, 2011
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Senate Forecasts $415 Million in Additional State Revenues

Funds Should Be Used For Tax Relief or State Reserves – Not New Spending

February 28, 2011
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Statement by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos

The issue of redistricting reform is an important one and I have said repeatedly that we will act on reform legislation.  A number of proposals have been advanced and we have to take a close look at what makes the most sense to ensure a fair, open and truly nonpartisan process. Cutting government spending, reducing taxes, providing property tax relief and creating private sector jobs are critically important issues that impact every family and business in this state.  That’s why our focus right now must be on getting a fiscally responsible budget enacted by April 1st, which is just 43 days away.  

February 17, 2011
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Senate Passes Anti-Crime Bills

The New York State Senate today passed a package of bills that would strengthen laws and toughen criminal penalties for certain sex offenses related to rape and  child pornography.  In addition, bills were passed to expand information on criminal background checks for individuals applying for employment in law enforcement and increasing penalties for the crime of criminally negligent homicide.            Legislation (S.1826), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-C, Rockville Centre), would require consecutive prison sentences for each separate act of rape when an individual is convicted of multiple counts.

February 14, 2011
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Lifesaving Legislation Receives Senate Approval

The New York State Senate today passed potentially lifesaving legislation (S.2387) that would allow emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to carry an automated external defibrillator (AED) in their personal vehicles. “Clearing the way for trained first responders to carry AEDs at all times could be the difference between life and death for a heart attack patient,” Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta), Chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee said.  “By cutting away bureaucratic red-tape and ensuring trained emergency professionals have the tools they need lives can be saved.” Current law does not permit EMTs to possess and use AEDs while they are off-duty, unless they are specifically licensed as a public access defibrillator provider.  

February 14, 2011
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Skelos and Silver announce Joint Legislative Budget Schedule

Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced an agreement on a joint legislative budget schedule that sets out deadlines the Legislature will adhere to in order to achieve an on-time budget for New York State.“I am pleased that we are returning to the joint, public budget negotiation process that is set in law,” said Skelos. “This model resulted in passage of an on-time budget in 2008 and I’m hopeful it will help us enact a budget by April 1 that meets the fiscal challenges we face and addresses the needs of the people.”  “The Legislature has already moved forward with an aggressive schedule of joint public hearings on the governor’s proposed budget.

February 10, 2011
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Senate Passes Mandate Relief Legislation

The New York State Senate today  passed three mandate relief bills that would give local governments more authority and flexibility and help save taxpayer dollars. “As the Senate works to enact a property tax cap, it’s important that we also pass mandate relief measures to give municipalities the ability to allocate resources on community priorities, rather than to address state mandates that may not be needed,” Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said.  “The bills we passed today are simple, common sense legislation to save money.”

February 7, 2011
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Statement by Senator Skelos on Governor Cuomo's Budget Presentation

I applaud Governor Cuomo for keeping his commitments to reduce spending and to not raise taxes. The state simply cannot continue to put off the spending reductions that are necessary to close the deficit.  All levels of government need to understand that they have to do more with less. By making the tough decisions now, we can reform the way government operates and make New York a place where businesses want to stay, grow and create new private sector jobs.  While there are still more budget details yet to come related to school aid, Medicaid reforms, government consolidation and changes to our corrections system, I hope everyone involved can work together in an open, public process and get a budget done on time.

February 1, 2011
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