My colleagues and I in the New York Senate recently joined with Governor Cuomo and the Assembly to pass historic reforms with the approval of five pieces of critical legislation. The major elements include the passage of:
• A sweeping pension reform plan that will save state and local governments over $80 billion over the next 30 years;
• A constitutional amendment and legal statute that reforms the redistricting process in New York State;
• An “all crimes” DNA databank bill, which reforms our criminal justice system to better protect New Yorkers and makes New York the first state in the nation to require DNA samples from anyone convicted of a felony or a Penal Law misdemeanor;
• A new teacher evaluation system that fosters better student achievement and school accountability. The teacher and principal evaluation system will ensure that millions of dollars in federal education aid continues to flow to New York schools;
• First passage to a Constitutional Amendment that will give New Yorkers a say on whether we expand casino gaming in New York State. This is a first step toward enacting a casino gaming amendment that will create tens of thousands of jobs and drive tourism throughout the state.
These five major accomplishments were possible only through the cooperation and joint efforts of the Governor, the Senate and the Assembly.
I will continue to keep you informed of the progress we are making toward a final State Budget and look forward to working with Governor Cuomo toward future successes for all New Yorkers.
Senator Owen H. Johnson
Member of the Senate