Albany, N.Y. – (10/16/12) – Forty-eight students representing schools throughout the Hudson Valley participated in a mock legislative session on the New York State Senate Floor.
Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) chartered a bus from his district office in Brewster to the New York State Capitol Building in Albany to host a legislative mock session with students from his Student Advisory Council. Students from Carmel, Brewster, Peekskill, Putnam Valley, Mahopac, and Lakeland all attended the mock session and had the ability to introduce, debate and vote on legislation.
“When I was a student I wanted to get involved but felt my elected officials were unapproachable. I really wanted to change that perception once elected. It’s so important that we encourage our youth to get active and involved in our communities and our government,” said Senator Greg Ball. “These kids are amazing. They’re so driven. They’re getting it done – getting good grades, working a job, and learning how to be responsible caretakers of their communities. It was so exciting to see all of the great ideas the students generated.”
The students introduced, debated and voted on five pieces of legislation:
- Passed: S6938 an act to amend the labor law, in relation to protecting the privacy of employees’ and prospective employees’ social media accounts, Aye: 42 Nay: 6
- Failed: S6335A an act to amend the labor law, in relation to raising the statutory minimum wage, Aye: 18 Nay: 30
- Passed: S6784 an act to amend the penal law, in relation to possession of a pistol or revolver, Aye: 33 Nay: 15
- Passed: S6261 an act to suspend hydraulic fracturing; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof, Aye: 42 Nay: 6
- Failed: S7792 an act to amend the education law, in relation to requiring public disclosure of the results of annual professional performance reviews of teachers and principals, Aye: 22 Nay 26
Senator Ball’s Student Advisory Council worked with Senator Greg Ball to plan the trip and determine which legislation would be debated and voted on. The chairman of Senator Ball’s Student Advisory Council and Carmel High School student, Steven Youssef served as the Senate Majority Leader during the mock session.
“This was an absolutely exhilarating experience! The fact that my peers and I could stand up and voice our opinions and see how the legislative process works was an experience to remember,” said Youssef. “I would like to thank Senator Ball for all of the hard work he does for our youth that allows us to have such invaluable events such as this mock session.”
“I thought this was a very informative trip. It gave us an inside look as to what goes on in politics. Not a lot of people know how bills get proposed, become laws and how they affect us as ordinary citizens,” said Frankie Becerra a senior at Brewster High School. “Debating on the fracking bill was my favorite part of the day. This is an issue I feel very strong about and I was happy to be a part of it.”
“I thought it was a good experience, it taught us first hand how bills become laws,” said Devon Yates a Junior at Brewster High School. “While there were some arguments, we eventually came to an agreement. I think that is what government is really about, coming to an agreement for all people.”
“My favorite bill that we voted on today was the minimum wage increase. I support this bill because if we raise this bill I believe it will help the economy by giving low-income families more money to spend,” said Sabrina Sabet of Lakeland High School. “I learned it is very important to be involved in how government works.”
“This was an interesting experience. The debates were a lot different then I thought they would be. I was surprised at how respectful Senators are required to be during debates,” said Ayo Jegede a senior at Peekskill High School. “My favorite bill was the Facebook privacy bill because social networking is a very interesting topic. I am happy we were able to pass this bill because I believe in social media privacy.”
For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Joe Bachmeier: (845) 200-9716