Newly elected Sens. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, and Michael Gianaris, D-Astoria, hope to mix things up in Albany
By Paul Leonard
It's been an active three months for two newly elected Queens state senators.
Whether it was term limits, ethics reform or the push for non-partisan legislative redistricting, every week seemed to bring another bill introduced by Sens. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, and Michael Gianaris, D-Astoria — both elected last November as part of an injection of new blood into a chamber known as being resistant to change....
...Both Avella and Gianaris agreed that it was the Republican majority in the state Senate that was responsible for a lack of results on the reformist agenda that helped propel both of them into office.
ALBANY, NY (WXXI) - Senate Republicans and Democrats argued over the issue of redrawing new district lines Monday, as pressure mounts on the Senate GOP to adopt a plan for an independent commission soon.
Senate Republicans approved a plan that would change the state's constitution to require that new district lines be drawn by a non -partisan commission. Senate sponsor John Bonacic says he picked up the bill from previous sponsors in earlier decades because it's the most comprehensive solution.
Queens Tribune wrote an article on my MTA Security Act that I have introduced in the Senate.
A bill introduced by State Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) would give the state more authority over security on subways, buses, bridges and tunnels.
The legislation, which Gianaris first introduced in the Assembly in 2005, would grant the New York State Director of Homeland Security oversight of the security measures utilized by the MTA at its facilities. DHS would examine the security measures being used by the MTA, and then issue findings and recommendations regarding necessary enhancements.
Seven centers in western Queens are on the chopping block, according to a list released last week.
Astoria resident Josephine Forlano, 85, is not happy with the governor’s plans. “We were the backbone of the country. Here we did our part, and we are getting the dirty end of everything,” Forlano said.
She visits Catholic Charities’ Steinway Senior Center in Astoria, which is now in jeopardy. She used to organize trips for the center, and said the revenue produced by the tours and by the center’s other activities should be recognized as useful by the government.
Last week, I was given the Public Service Award by the ANOROC Democratic Club during their 82nd Anniversary Dinner Dance in Astoria, Queens. Public service has always been a gratifying experience for me, and to be honored in this capacity only deepens my appreciation for the members of my community and for the office I hold.
Queens Chronicle wrote a brief article on the award:
Today the Times Union reported on yesterday's session debate regarding the fight to bring redistrticting reform to the floor.
ALBANY -- Senate Republicans on Tuesday rejected the Democratic minority's attempt to push for a public hearing on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's redistricting bill. But the Senate session that ensued seemed to provide at least a partial forum for Democrats' complaints that the GOP is attempting to smother the legislation.
Statement From Senator Michael Gianaris Regarding The Proposal To Close Over 100 Senior Centers In New York City
For so many seniors these centers serve as a crucial lifeline to the outside world. While we are forced to cut costs during this difficult economic time, we must make the hard decisions in a way that minimizes the impact on the most vulnerable New Yorkers. Our seniors have done so much for us, the least we can do is make sure they have the ability to enjoy their golden years with respect and dignity.
I have introduced my MTA Security Act (S1968), an important proposal that would protect subway and bus riders. The legislation would grant the State Director of Homeland Security oversight of the security measures utilized by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) at its facilities. The State Department of Homeland Security would examine the security measures being used by the MTA and issue findings and recommendations regarding necessary enhancements. The Director would then be empowered to require the implementation of the recommendations.
Voters overwhelmingly support independent redistricting to put an end to political gerrymandering
54 of 62 current State Senators signed “New York Uprising Heroes of Reform” pledge last November
(Albany, NY) Following through on the promise to reform Albany through independent redistricting, I joined with New Yorkers from across the state to film and release a video calling on all 54 senators to keep their word and put an end to partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts.
After Governor Cuomo introduced his own legislation creating an independent commission to redraw district lines, I issued a press release applauding his efforts. Governor Cuomo's redistricting reform legislation hews closely to the legislation I authored and championed first in 2005. As the legislature's leading advocate of redistricting reform, I have introduced my redistricting reform legislation in the Senate.
Gianaris Pushes for Increased Notification and Education
QUEENS, NY – The number of confirmed cases of beg bugs in New York City public schools has severely increased in the first five months of the current academic year, according to recent statistics released by the New York City Department of Education. Public schools have reported 1,700 confirmed cases from September 2010 through January 2011, with 80% of the cases reported in November, December and January. Compared to last year’s total 1,019 cases, schools are on pace to triple the number of bed bug inflictions this academic year.
Astoria, Queens—State Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) commended state utilities regulators for granting approval for the construction of a $1.4 billion power plant in Astoria along the East River. The new plant will reduce toxic emissions at the site by more than 85% by replacing an older, less-efficient and dirtier plant.
“Western Queens residents can breathe a little easier today,” stated Senator Michael Gianaris. “We bear more than our fair share of the burden for producing New York’s electricity. Anytime we replace an old, dirty generator with a newer, cleaner one is a significant step in the right direction.”
Queens, NY – Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas were sworn in to their respective legislative seats in front of hundreds of western Queens residents and citywide and statewide political and community leaders. during a special joint inauguration ceremony.
The Senate recognizes that veterans, whether from recent conflicts or great wars of the past, are responsible for safeguarding the freedoms we all enjoy today. Through the Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson and Senator Eric L. Adams, Chair of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, the Senate is developing policies and programs that assist, support, promote, and honor New York’s heroes; below are stories and announcements concerning these efforts..
Mapping New York's FutureThe New York State Senate is committed to a fair, objective and transparent 2011-2012 legislative redistricting process. Procedures are being considered to advance the goals of a legislative redistricting plan incorporating clearly stated goals and criteria.