I am gratified that the Court of Appeals has unanimously ruled that the Senate's reapportionment plan is fair and complies with the State Constitution.
Today's decision by the State's highest court upholds the addition of a 63rd Senate seat, consistent with the requirements of the State Constitution. It was the Senate Democrats who wrongly dragged us into court and wasted taxpayer money pursuing this matter.
This ruling comes on the heels of the Obama administration’s decision to preclear our reapportionment plan, after determining it complied with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
Finally, I am grateful that the Court of Appeals heard this important case on an expedited basis.
Measures Increase Penalties, Enhance Community Notification and Protection
The New York State Senate today passed a package of eight bills to prevent sexual predators from obtaining access to potential victims and help law enforcement and communities keep track of their whereabouts. The bills will help increase the amount of information available about convicted sex offenders and seeks to prevent them from obtaining access to vulnerable individuals.
The New York State Senate today passed legislation to criminalize the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana. The bill (S.6694), sponsored by Senator John Flanagan (R-C-I, East Northport), would also criminalize the sale and possession of hallucinogenic chemicals deceptively called “bath salts.”
Published reports show the vast majority of school districts throughout New York are presenting budgets to voters that fall within the 2 percent property tax cap adopted by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. This is good news for taxpayers.
Passage of a school property tax cap which finally slams the door on massive tax increases that middle-class families could not afford was a long-held priority of the Senate Republican conference. In fact, the Senate approved the very first property tax cap bill in 2008.
I am pleased that we have successfully worked with Governor Cuomo and the Assembly to produce two budgets that reduced state spending, and enacted a property tax cap that helps taxpayers and moves our state forward.
The New York State Senate today welcomed cadets and staff from the United States Military Academy at West Point as part of an annual day of recognition. In honor of the celebration, the Senate passed several bills focusing on helping veterans obtain jobs and protect their rights.
Senator Skelos recently met with Colin Robinson, a Boy Scout from the the Rockville Centre Boy Scouts Troop 214, who spoke with the Senator about State Government in an effort to fullfill the requirments for earning the Citizenship Merit Badge.
I was pleased to partner with Assemblyman Ed Ra and Rosalie Norton of the West Hempstead Community Support & Civic Association in working to bring a piece of steel from the World Trade Center to West Hempstead. With twelve lives lost on September 11th from the West Hempstead community, it is only fitting that a memorable and lasting tribute be built and this piece of steel will be the centerpiece of this memorial when it is built.
The New York State Senate today passed legislation that allows for the creation of a training program for volunteers interested in assisting the search and rescue operations of state forest rangers. The bill (S.553), sponsored by Senator Betty Little (R-C-I, Queensbury), will enhance the safety of volunteers and the public during search and rescue operations in the Adirondacks, Catskills and other forested communities across the state.
The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.1707A) to legalize and regulate mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions in New York State.
“I am glad to see the Governor has said that he would strongly consider taking a position that I have held for four years now – that bringing MMA events to New York State will have a tremendously positive impact through the jobs that can be created and the spending that will stimulate the economy,” said Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R-C-I, Rome), the bill’s sponsor. “Instead of just talking about this idea, we brought it to a vote and passed this legislation now, so that we can start holding events in New York this year.”
The New York State Senate today passed a bill to help prevent the theft of pets by increasing the penalties for committing the crime. The bill, (S.946), sponsored by Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R, Syosset), would make stealing a licensed dog or cat a felony and takes into account the monetary and emotional value of a pet.
The New York State Senate today passed a law which gives courts the ability to consider a greater number of issues–including victims’ safety—when setting bail. The bill (S.259), sponsored by Senator George Maziarz, also known as “Jilly’s Law”, is named for Jill Cahill who was killed in 1998.
Jill Cahill, of Onondaga County, was in the process of trying to divorce her husband, Jeff Cahill, when he attacked her with a baseball bat, striking her more than seven times and nearly killing her.
On New York State’s tax filing deadline, the state Senate today passed legislation that would expedite payment of income tax refunds and simplify STAR property tax relief filings for senior citizens.
A bill sponsored by Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R, Syosset) ensures prompt payment of a state income tax refund. Traditionally, the state Department of Taxation and Finance has held returns requesting refunds for up to two months, starting from when taxpayers file their return to when they may actually see the refund.
The New York State Senate today passed legislation that would keep the most dangerous, violent, repeat criminals behind bars and out of our communities.
The bill (S.1539), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos (R-C, Rockville Centre), requires persistent violent felony offenders be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. This bill recognizes that persistent violent offenders are most likely to commit violent crimes again and would ensure that violent, recidivist criminals are permanently prevented from posing a danger to society.
2012-13 State Budget Reduces Spending, Does Not Raise Taxes, Creates Jobs
For the second consecutive year, the New York State Senate has completed an early passage of the state budget. The 2012-13 state budget achieves the Senate Republicans’ goals of reducing state spending, not raising taxes and creating new private sector jobs. The new state fiscal year begins April 1st.
The New York State Senate today passed legislation that gives judges the ability to consider well-established risk factors in determining bail or recognizance in domestic violence cases so that a victim and their family can be further protected from an assailant.
The bill (S.1414A), sponsored by Senator Stephen Saland (R-I-C, Poughkeepsie), would allow the history of violence or threats of violence, prior orders of protection, and the accused’s access to guns to be considered by a judge, potentially affecting their release conditions and sparing many victims and their children additional harm or even death.
Senator Skelos is pictured with Christy Fox of Long Beach High School who had the opportunity to shadow the Senator during her visit to Albany for the Students Inside Albany Conference. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of New York State Education Foundation, the Students Inside Albany Conference provides a wonderful opportunity for students throughout New York State.
Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos today invited local residents to nominate veterans from their community whose service on behalf of our nation designates them worthy of induction into the New York State Veteran’s Hall of Fame.
This on-line Hall of Fame is designed to pay tribute to New Yorkers whose gallantry in the U.S. Armed Forces is complemented by their service to the community.
“The Senate takes this opportunity to honor the brave men and women who serve our nation and protect our freedom as members of the military, said Senator Skelos. “The Senate Veteran’s Hall of Fame pays tribute to all who serve, but also singles out for special recognition those whose sacrifices and service have helped make our nation and our community better places to live.”
By working together with Governor Cuomo and our colleagues in the Assembly, we have turned the corner in Albany, and for the second year in a row reached a Budget agreement that continues to protect taxpayers and help the private sector create jobs. This agreement puts us in a position to deliver another early budget that controls spending and taxes, and builds on the bipartisan successes we achieved last year. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership and continued partnership, and look forward to enacting a final budget that realizes many long-held Senate Republican priorities.
The New York State Senate today passed three bills to combat auto insurance fraud, which costs New Yorkers more than $1 billion a year, as well as legislation that would impose stronger criminal penalties for staging auto accidents. Recent cases of auto insurance fraud have uncovered massive crime rings, including doctors, lawyers and scam artists who staged accidents and used New York's no-fault insurance program as their own giant state-sponsored, ATM machine.
The New York State Senate today passed two bills, sponsored by Senator Martin Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), to combat gun crimes and enhance penalties for gun crimes that endanger children. The bills approved by the Senate would strengthen the penalty for displaying a gun in the commission of a crime and lengthen the sentence for criminal sale or possession of a weapon at a residence of a child or in the presence of a child.