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.
(Tarrytown) - Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/WF/ I – 35th District) is calling on Federal and State officials to include mass transit options in plans to rebuild the Tappan Zee Bridge. This comes in the wake of President Obama’s selection of the 3 mile Hudson River crossing as one of fourteen nationwide infrastructure projects to receive expedited federal review and approval. Her statement is below.
(Tarrytown) - Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/WF/ I – 35th District) praised President Obama for selecting the Tappan Zee Bridge as one of fourteen infrastructure projects nationwide for expedited federal review and approval. She also thanked Governor Cuomo for advocating the need for this project to the Federal Government. Her statement is below.
The New York State Legislature approved an historic marriage equality bill that will allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in the State of New York. Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/I/WF- 35th District), who voted in favor of the bill, released this statement:
"This is an historic day for New Yorkers. As the world watched, the legislature took a stand and declared that discrimination is not acceptable in any form to any person or group. Tomorrow, same sex couples will wake up knowing that this government recognizes them as equal citizens of New York and they can take comfort in the fact that their right to a civil marriage in New York State will be granted.
"Civil marriage is a relationship sanctioned and licensed by the State and it provides protections, rights, responsibilities, obligations and benefits that gay couples have the same right to enjoy as different sex couples. It is important to note that this bill includes strong religious exemptions to respect the beliefs of clergy and religious organizations.
"I was proud to support marriage equality because loving and willing gay couples deserve the freedom to get married. Once again, New York has shown itself to be a leader in advancing the cause of freedom and equality to all people"
Allows Financing of Teacher Pension Costs; Yonkers will Save $4.9 million
The New York State Senate passed legislation (S. 4067-A) today that would allow school districts throughout New York to finance their teacher pension costs, a process called "amortization". Under current law, school districts must pay contributions to the New York State Teacher Retirement System in one lump sum. This bill permits districts to issue bonds to cover these costs, which allows them to make payments over time and provides much-needed cash to struggling school districts.
(Albany) – The New York State Legislature passed legislation, sponsored by Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/I/WF- 35th District) and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (D- 87th District), which allows Westchester County to finance their 2010 Early Retirement Incentive payments. This will provide immediate relief to the county budget and save taxpayer dollars in the long term.
Colonel Theresa Mercado- Sconzo Sent to Abu Ghraib to Restore Honor to United States After Prisoner Abuse Scandal
(Albany)- Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/I/WF- 35th District) inducted Colonel Theresa Mercado-Sconzo (United State Army Nursing Corp) into the New York State Senate Veteran’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony today in Albany. Colonel Mercado-Sconzo, of Pleasantville, NY, was deployed to Abu Ghraib prison in March of 2005 to serve as officer in charge of the detainee camps and emergency room shortly after the prisoner abuse and torture scandal was exposed.
“This ethics bill is a victory for the people of New York who for years have been calling on Albany to reform the way it does business. When I came to the Senate in 2007, I pledged to restore integrity to the Capital, and this bill takes a meaningful step toward doing just that. By strengthening campaign finance laws, requiring greater disclosure of income, placing new restrictions on lobbyists, and requiring corrupt public officials to forfeit their pensions, we are making New York’s government more fair and accountable to the people it serves. While this legislation is not perfect, I am pleased that it moves our State forward to a more transparent and responsible system of government.”
Bill Would Level the Playing Field for Unemployed Job Seekers
(Yonkers)- Today, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (35th District- D/WF/I) announced at a press conference in her district office, the introduction of Senate bill 5316. The bill would make the unemployed a "protected class" in New York and make it illegal for employers to deny out-of-work applicants an interview or position solely because they are jobless. It would also prohibit employers from posting job advertisements that discourage the unemployed from applying to vacant positions.
The bill is co-sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblyman Keith Wright.
Legislation Cuts Wasteful Government Agencies and Increases Efficiency
(Albany)- Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (35th District- D/WF/I), ranking member of the Senate’s Local Government Committee, is urging passage of legislation (S.2845), which she sponsors, that would eliminate 118 inactive or defunct public authorities and agencies around the state.
Bills Aim to Provide Cost-Savings to Local Governments and Taxpayers
(Albany)- State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/I/WF – 35th District), Ranking Minority Member of the Local Government Committee and Member of the Governor’s Mandate Relief Redesign Team, announced the introduction of five measures and passage of one bill to provide localities with mandate relief which will result in cost savings to taxpayers.
Geraldine Ferraro was one of my earliest inspirations, and an inspiration for all women in politics. Like Shirley Chisholm, she went boldly into a male dominated national arena and weathered political storms, and even defeat, with grace and resolve. I will always remember her campaigning with me during my 2006 Senate race. The people loved her and respected all that she represented. She will be profoundly missed
Legislation Would Account for Increased Enrollment and Pre-Kindergarten Program
(Albany)- Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (35th District- D/WF/I) is urging passage of two bills that she sponsors in the State Senate, which would provide additional State funding to the Yonkers city schools. The first, S. 1011, would provide the Yonkers City Schools with $4.8 million for the district’s Pre-Kindergarten program, and the second, S. 1012 would provide $3.98 million to address the district’s growth of approximately 1500 students. Both bills passed the Senate last year, but did not become law.
Improves Government Efficiency; Saves Taxpayer Dollars
(Albany)- The New York State Senate unamimously passed legislation on March 22, sponsored by Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (35th District- D/WF/I), which would modernize County Clerk offices throughout the State by allowing real property transactions to be filed electronically. Supported by the New York State Association of County Clerks, the bill (S. 2373) would provide filers with the convenient option of submitting real property documents, such as mortgage deeds or easements, online. This would allow County Clerk to operate more efficiently, reduce paper usage; streamline storage and retrieval capabilities and enhance the accuracy and speed of the filing process, all of which will ultimately save taxpayer dollars.
Senator Stewart-Cousins Sends Letter to Majority Leader Urging Restoration of Funds
(Albany) - Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins spoke on the floor of the Senate yesterday, urging full restoration of Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) Aid to the City of Yonkers. The Republican Senate Budget Resolution, approved yesterday, cut VLT Aid to Yonkers by $15 million, which would have a devastating impact on the Yonkers School District.
(Albany)- Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (35th District- D/WF/I) rallied to restore proposed State budget cuts to education funding today, joining several of her Democratic colleagues and the Alliance for Quality Education at a press conference in the Capital. The Senator says the cuts, totaling over $1.5 billion, can be restored by continuing the income tax surcharge on individuals netting more than $200,000 per year, and couples netting more than $300,000 per year. The surcharge was signed into law in 2009 and is set to expire on December 31, and it would bring over $4 billion in revenue to the State this fiscal year.
(Albany)- Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins stood with Mayor Ed Koch and several of her legislative colleagues at the Capital today, urging passage of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s redistricting bill. The legislation would create an independent commission to draw legislative districts, which was a major aspect of Mayor Koch’s reform pledge last fall. Senator Stewart-Cousins is designated as a Hero of Reform by Mayor Koch, and promises to fight for passage of the legislation.
(Dobbs Ferry)- Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins took part in Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Jobs for Veterans Roundtable Discussion at Mercy College on February 22nd. With the unemployment rate among veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan reaching close to 20% nationwide, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand invited Senator Stewart-Cousins, other government leaders, veteran’s advocates, education officials and members of the business community to listen to veterans about the problems they face in the job market, and discuss ways to overcome those barriers.
Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins organized a business workshop for women at the annual Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus weekend. The workshop presented valuable information from a panel of successful women business owners and government partners about how to get a business off the ground.