“As community leaders, legislators and civil rights advocates gather and prepare to stand together and march against hate, I wish to express my outrage at the brutal murder of Mark Carson. No one should feel threatened or live in fear because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. The Senate Democratic Conference will continue to advance progressive legislation to ensure all New Yorkers are provided equal protection and dignity under the law.”
“The Governor’s Women’s Equality Agenda has been discussed and debated the entire session. Any distraction from passing this is unfortunate. The women of New York deserve a vote on the Governor’s full 10 point plan.”
Albany, NY - Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/I/WF – 35th District) selected Isabel Villar of White Plains as the 2013 Woman of Distinction from the 35th State Senate District. Ms. Villar is the Co- Founder and Executive Director of El Centro Hispano. She traveled to Albany today to accept the award at an official ceremony in the Legislative Office Building.
Bills Would Limit Use of Campaign Money and Strip Pensions of Any Official Who Breaches Public Trust—Also Announce Support of Governor Legislative Ethics Package
Albany, NY - The Senate Democratic Conference today unveiled a tough legislative ethics package designed to reform state government and combat the ongoing corruption issues facing New York State. The Conference also announced their support for the principles of the Governor’s legislative package the “New York Public Trust Act.”
State Fiscal Plan Will Help City Deal with Financial Woes
Yonkers, NY - Facing a budget deficit of more than $80 million, the City of Yonkers will receive millions in additional aid and grants from the New York State Budget. The State fiscal plan will also provide Yonkers with an option to realize immediate savings from future decreases in pension payments (also known as pension smoothing). This could allow the City and the Yonkers Public Schools to access millions of dollars in the short term to deal with their budget gaps.
Albany, NY - Democratic State Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins was recognized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of their Women’s History Month celebration. Additional honorees included NOW-NYC President Sonia Ossorio and former Congresswoman and Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman and attendees were joined by special guest, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
Municipalities in the 35th Senate District to Receive nearly $1 Million in Additional Aid Over Last Year from State Budget
Albany, NY – Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/I/WF – 35th District) announced that the three-way State Budget agreement includes a $939,793.13 increase in Consolidated Highway Improvements Funds (CHIPS) for 11 municipalities in the 35th Senate District.
"As details emerge it is clear that the current minimum wage proposal has some serious issues.While increasing the minimum wage to $9.00 is something that the Senate Democrats have longsupported, we are disappointed that the current proposal doesn't reach this level for three years, isnot indexed to the rate of inflation and does not raise the wages of certain service workers. The Governor and the Assembly all originally proposed acceptable proposals, unfortunately the SenateRepublicans have blocked these efforts. We propose removing this discussion from the budget andwe stand ready to provide 27 votes for raising the minimum wage quicker, with indexing and for alllow wage workers."
State and local leaders in the City of Yonkers are fighting to keep a successful gun and gang violence prevention program called SNUG fully funded. At a Friday press conference, Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator George Latimer, Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow were joined by members of the Yonkers City Council, Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner, SNUG violence interrupters, local activists and members of the clergy to call on the State to provide steady funding for the SNUG Program.
SNUG has successfully helped reduce shootings and quell violence in Yonkers and in many cities throughout New York State.
On Tuesday March 12, the New Rochelle State delegation honored the national champion cheerleading team and the state champion football team from New Rochelle High School for their accomplishments in the 2012 seasons. Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator George Latimer, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and Assemblyman Steve Otis hosted the student athletes in Albany and sponsored resolutions in their respective houses proclaiming the day in the students’ honor.
In a press event at the Capital last week, the Senate Democratic Conference announced their unanimous support for raising the New York State minimum wage and indexing future increases to the rate of inflation. Led by Senator Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic Conference called for immediate action and noted that such legislation would likely pass since their 27 votes combined with the votes of multiple other Senators who have expressed support in the media, represent a majority.
In an extensive interview with the Journal News Editorial Board, Senator Stewart-Cousins discussed the importance of passing the provisions of the Reproductive Health Act in New York State this year. Tracey Brooks, the President and CEO of Family Planning Advocates, also took part in the hour-long interview.
Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins submitted comments to Governor Cuomo’s Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response. Her comments cited the company’s lack of communication with its customers, elected officials and internally between employees and the need for Con Ed to rethink its priorities with regard to vulnerable populations (such as senior citizens and the disabled), residents of Westchester and it’s smaller villages and towns.
"I cannot imagine the overwhelming grief that families, staff and the community of Sandy Hook Elementary School are enduring as a result of this horrific tragedy. As our nation prayerfully pauses to grieve, we ask how and why an unspeakable tragedy of this magnitude occurred. While we seek the answers, we must resolve in the memory of these latest victims, to do what's necessary to stem gun violence including, as needed, the passage of tough, common sense gun laws."
In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins announced that New York has received $27.7 million from the federal government to put 5,000 unemployed New Yorkers to work cleaning up communities impacted by the storm. The funding came from a National Emergency Grant and will be administered by the New York State Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL will work with local communities to identify potential workers for this program.
A mandate relief bill sponsored by Senator Stewart-Cousins and Assemblyman George Latimer was signed into law by Governor Cuomo. Senate bill 6634-A/Assembly bill 9570-A will allow local governments more flexibility with financing and save taxpayer dollars.
"This new law gives local governments around New York State more flexibility to deal with their expenses," said Senator Stewart-Cousins, ranking member of the Senate Local Government Committee. "Many cash-strapped municipalities are struggling with budget deficits and this bill will allow them to save money and help cover the costs of government without passing the burden on to the taxpayers."
Saves Taxpayer Money and Increases Flexibility for Local Governments
(Albany) - A mandate relief bill sponsored by Senator Stewart-Cousins was approved by the State Senate Wednesday. Senate bill 6634A would extend the repayment terms of short term loans issued to local governments in 2007 and 2008 -- the beginning of the economic downturn. The repayment terms would be extended from five to seven years, which will save local governments hundreds of thousands of dollars over the two year period.
State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/I/WF – 35th District) voted in favor of Senate bill 7400, which creates a new state investigative and oversight agency known as the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs. The Center would be responsible for ensuring that individuals served by residential facilities and day programs operated, licensed, or certified by six state agencies are protected from abuse or neglect.
(Yonkers) - A successful violence prevention program in Yonkers received welcome news from the State today. At a press conference, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/WF/I – 35th District) announced that the Yonkers Family YMCA will receive $150,000 from the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services to keep Project SNUG running in Yonkers. The program was in jeopardy of shutting down this year due to lack of funding but has been credited by the Yonkers Police Department with helping to reduce shootings in the city by 39%.
Senator Stewart-Cousins, who initially brought Project SNUG to Yonkers, was joined at the press conference by Yonkers Police Commissioner Edmund Hartnett, YMCA Executive Director Shawyn Howard and the Yonkers SNUG workers.
As Election Day approaches, Senator Stewart-Cousins is reminding registered New Yorkers to vote. And with the new paper ballot system, the Senator and the Westchester Independent Living Center are raising awareness about the Ballot Marking Device (BMD), which helps voters with disabilities privately and independently cast their ballots.