Leader Stewart-Cousins joined Governor Cuomo as he signed some of the toughest gun control legislation in the nation. The NY SAFE Act was built around common sense, progressive ideas which have been pushed by Senate Democrats for years. The bill passed the Senate 43-18 and the Democratic Conference’s 26 votes were critical to the bill’s successful passage.
Among many other provisions, the NY SAFE Act expands the ban on assault weapons, creates stronger regulations on ammunition, provides for universal background checks for gun purchases, requires gun owners to recertify their permit every five years and makes sure guns are safely stored. It is a common sense approach which will keep our communities safer.
On the first day of the 2013 Session, Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins delivered a speech on the floor of the Senate. Leader Stewart-Cousins is the first woman to lead a legislative conference in New York State history.
"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."
Senator Stewart-Cousins met with members of the Edgemont Mandate Relief Advocacy Committee at the Seely Place Elementary School in Edgemont. The group handed the Senator approximately 400 letters -- all signed by residents of Edgemont -- which called for the passage of four specific mandate relief proposals that will save school districts and taxpayers money. The recently-created grassroots committee formed to advocate on behalf of the Edgemont School District for relief from unfunded state mandates. In addition to lobbying State elected officials, the EMRAC also submitted their proposals to the Mandate Relief Council. At the meeting, Senator Stewart-Cousins reiterated her commitment to passing meaningful mandate relief for school districts and local governments and promised to work with the committee on these issues moving forward.
Senator Stewart-Cousins spoke to a group of New York Youth Works trainees in New Rochelle on their last day of training at the Bracey Houses on Main Street. The men, aged 16-24, were completing a work readiness training program specifically designed to help them break into the construction industry. The training was funded by the New York Youth Works program – a state initiative created by Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to help disadvantaged youth find jobs - and organized by New Rochelle City Councilman Jared Rice and the New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority. In her comments, Senator Stewart-Cousins praised the group for taking the initiative to enroll in the training program and for taking a positive step toward their future. She asked all of the trainees if they see a future for themselves in the construction industry, and they all said yes.
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.
Senator Stewart-Cousins was honored to receive the Turkish Cultural Center’s Friendship Award at their Fifth Annual Friendship Dinner and Award Ceremony this past November. The Senator received the award for her “continued dedication, open communication, and close ties to the Turkish community.” The Peace Island Institute was a co-sponsor of the event. Senator Stewart-Cousins also presented a proclamation to the Turkish Cultural Center of Westchester honoring their positive contributions and recognizing their success at fostering greater cross-cultural understanding and learning in Westchester.
The recovery and rebuilding effort after Sandy continues, and there are many other resources available through the federal and state governments that can help homeowners, business owners and local governments rebuild better. Since the storm hit, Senator Stewart-Cousins has been working hard to make sure her constituents have everything they need to make a full and speedy recovery.
A new program, funded by New York State, will give unemployed or underemployed women from Westchester a chance to find a job in the green energy industry. At a press conference, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow and Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer presented a $40,000 check to the Yonkers YWCA to fund a free Solar Workforce Training Program in partnership with Rockland Community College. The grant came from the New York State Department of Labor and was allocated to the Yonkers YWCA as part of the 2011 Regional Economic Development Council awards.
Senator Stewart-Cousins honored the Greenburgh Police Department for their volunteer work with the John A. Coleman School for disbaled children by presenting a proclamation from the New York State Senate to Greenburgh Police Chief Joe DeCarlo and two other officers. The Senator presented the proclamation at the annual John A. Coleman School Walk-A-Thon in October.
Senator Stewart-Cousins secured a $100,000 capital grant from New York State to renovate the ArtsWestchester headquarters in White Plains. The national historic landmark in downtown White Plains was buit in 1928, and is owned by ArtsWestchester. The grant allowed the organization to upgrade the perimeter heating units and install of new roofing, sprinklers, energy efficient lighting and smoke detectors.
Senator Stewart-Cousins celebrated the expansion of the Yonkers YWCA Afterschool Program at a ribbon cutting ceremony in Yonkers. A new "after school" wing was built onto the existing building for the expanded program. Senator Stewart-Cousins was able to secure funding from New York State for this project.
Senator Stewart-Cousins, Assemblymember Shelley Mayer, Mayor Mike Spano, along with co-sponsors Empire State Development, Women’s Enterprise Development Center, New York State Department of Labor, the Yonkers Chamber of Commerce, the Yonkers City Council President’s Office, the Yonkers City Council and other co-sponsors hosted a small business resource forum for small business owners and those interested in learning more about starting a small business in Yonkers.
Senator Stewart-Cousins is co-hosting a Foreclosure Prevention Event in partnership with the Department of Financial Services and State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer. If you or someone you know is having trouble with mortgage payments, this event will offer free consultations with foreclosure prevention experts from the Department of Financial Service's Foreclosure Relief Unit. These experts have been traveling the State informing homeowners of their options to prevent foreclosure.
The event is happening on August 3rd, from 11AM - 7PM outside of 110 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd White Plains, NY.
Senator Stewart-Cousins congratulated the members of UWUA Local 1-2 and Con Edison for resolving their contract dispute and bringing 8500 workers back to work. She also acknowledged Governor Cuomo's key role in the negotiations. Members of UWUA Local 1-2 had been locked out for four weeks due to a contract dispute, but the two sides came to an agreement on July 27th, just hours before severe thunder storms threatened the region.
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."
Senator Stewart-Cousins spoke to a group of high school-aged aspiring female attorneys at the Summer Justice Academy for Young Women sponsored by Pace Law School and the New York Chapter of the National Association of Women Judges. The Senator spoke to the students about the legislative process and the importance of voting.
Celebrating his 101st birthday, Greenburgh resident Nathaniel Rose received a proclamation from Senator Stewart-Cousins this week, recognizing his extraordinary life. Known to his many friends as Ned, Mr. Rose had a long and distinguished career in a variety of professions.