Historic legislation has been signed into law to make New York state the first "all crimes DNA" state in the nation. On this week’s edition of Your Voice in Albany, State Senator John A. DeFrancisco shares some compelling stories from crime victims and explains how this DNA databank expansion will help close thousands of unsolved cases, bring justice to victims, prevent future crimes, and exonerate the innocently convicted.
New York state is close to finalizing a budget, so the Senator also brings you up-to-date on the budget progress.
Auto insurance coverage is intended to protect law abiding citizens like you. It is not supposed to be an ATM machine for criminals. However, auto insurance fraud costs New Yorkers more than one billion dollars a year.
Just a few weeks ago, the United States Attorney’s Office arrested dozens of alleged crooks, involved in running a $279 million dollar auto insurance scam. More recently, the New York State Attorney General's Office announced the arrest of 16 individuals, who are accused of staging car accidents to make more than $400,000 dollars in bogus insurance claims.
State Senator John A. DeFrancisco marched in the Syracuse St. Patrick's Parade on Saturday, March 17, 2012. Organizers estimate that there were more than 50,000 people in attendance for the 30th annual parade.
State Senator John A. DeFrancisco visited Solvay Elementary School on March 16, 2012, to read some entertaining books to a class of second grade students. The Senator also answered many of the students' questions about his job. His visit was part of Solvay Elementary's Parents As Reading Partners Program.
On March 14, 2012, State Senator John A. DeFrancisco honored Noela Niyonkuru in Albany with a New York Resolution. Noela was named "Student of the Year" by the New York Association for Continuing/Community Education. She attended school at a refugee camp in the United Republic of Tanzania, until she and her family moved to the United States in 2007. Noela continues to advance her education in Syracuse, and in June 2010, she earned her Teacher's Assistant Certificate. Pictured with the Senator in Albany, are Noela and her mother.
On this week's edition of Your Voice in Albany, State Senator John A. DeFrancisco addresses a disruptive group of protestors, who showed incivility in Senate Chambers during the Pledge of Allegiance. He also discusses the Senate's redistricting reform bill, which would provide an independent body for future redistricting in New York State. Plus, he seeks your feedback on state budget issues.
During the Legislative Public Budget Hearing on Higher Education, I questioned SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher about the staggering cost of remedial education, and I triggered discussion on finding a possible solution to the problem. You can watch a clip from this exchange during the Albany-based television program, Your Voice.
Also on this week's Your Voice, I address the Film Tax Credit, which could benefit Central New York. Thank you for sharing your voice with me on the issues that matter most to you.
You may be entitled to some of the over $10.5 billion in unclaimed funds in New York State.
For your protection, banks, insurance companies, utilities, investment companies and many other businesses are required by law to surrender inactive accounts to the State. These accounts are known as "lost," "abandoned," or "unclaimed" funds. A simple Internet search is all it takes to see if you are eligible, and there is no charge to search or file a claim to recover unclaimed funds.
Senator John A. DeFrancisco announced that his bill (S2860-A), which would create a link between all of a person’s driving under the influence of alcohol or drug offenses, passed the New York State Senate.
Named after the late Tiffany Heitkamp, who was killed during an alcohol related boating accident in July of 2006, the bill would link Boating While Intoxicated (BWI), with Snowmobiling While Intoxicated (SWI), Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), as well as driving an ATV while intoxicated. Under current law, there is no linkage between these offenses, making it possible to be convicted in two or more separate cases and still be treated as a first time offender.
Following the Legislative Public Health and Medicaid Hearing, State Senator John A. DeFrancisco joined the television program, Your Voice in Albany, to discusses Medicaid reform and ways to reduce cost without reducing quality of care. The Senator also addressed solutions for making home healthcare more cost effective.
The New York Senate recently passed the DNA Databank Expansion Bill. On this week's episode of the television program, Your Voice, in Albany, State Senator John A. DeFrancisco explains how the measure could improve the safety in your community, solve more crimes, and help exonerate the innocent.
State Senator John A. DeFrancisco announced that his bill (S3297) passed the New York Senate. The bill would improve access to information across the State.
Access to information is vital to creating an environment conducive to learning and innovation. Under this legislation, the New York State Library would be authorized to coordinate the purchase of electronic databases and other information resources for state agencies, library systems, and other governmental entities.
“More Central New Yorkers are using their local libraries to research employment opportunities and learn new skills. This bill would allow libraries to lower their overheard, stretch their resources, and offer patrons more for less,” said Senator DeFrancisco.
Senator John A. DeFrancisco announced that his boating safety certificate bill (S2903B) passed the NY State Senate.
The bill would require individuals 21 years of age or younger, who have been subject to a suspension of operating privileges related to alcohol-related boating offenses, to obtain a boating safety certificate before operating a vessel.
“Boating tragedies on Skaneateles and Oneida lakes, as well as the BWI death of Syracuse-resident, Tiffany Heitkamp, have brought the problem of boating while intoxicated to the forefront,” said Senator DeFrancisco.
“It is important to educate those who have already been convicted of BWI, on how to drive a boat safely, in the hopes of preventing future tragedies,” concluded Senator DeFrancisco.
Senator John A. DeFrancisco is pictured with Christine Buff and John Thompson at his district office on February 2, 2012. Ms. Buff trained the Search and Rescue K-9 that is featured on the United States postage stamp, Dogs at Work. Mr. Thompson painted the stamp's orginal artwork. Senator DeFrancisco presented both individuals with a New York Citation, honoring them for their outstanding efforts and achievements.
Senator John A. DeFrancisco was among a group of panelists, who participated in the Campbell Public Affairs Institute Debate on Tax Policy at the Everson Museum on February 2, 2012. Senator DeFrancisco joined the team against raising taxes on the wealthy. Former Governor Elliot Spitzer, who joined the opposite team, argued for higher taxes on the rich. Nearly 300 people attended the event. To watch a video from the debate, visit http://www.maxwell.syr.edu/campbell/products/The_Campbell_Debates/
This week's edition of Your Voice in Albany includes highlights from the Legislative Public Budget Hearings on education, transportation, and workforce issues. Pension reform has been a major topic in these hearings.
Senator John A. DeFrancisco attended Onondaga Community College's 50th Anniversary celebration on January 27, 2012. He is pictured with Professor Emeriti Norma Foody of OCC's Department of English and Communications.
Members of Reality Check CO2 (Cayuga, Onondaga, and Oswego counties) met with State Senator John A. DeFrancisco on January 24, 2012, during Legislative Day at the Capital. Reality Check is a New York youth-led anti-tobacco group.