Owen H. Johnson's News items

Newsday: October 31st Deadline Approaching For Irene Aid

9:07 AM By Patricia Kitchen  Homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofits that experienced physical property damage as a result of Tropical Storm Irene have until Oct. 31 to file for low-interest disaster loans from the Small Business Administration.So far a total of 5,086 applications have been issued on Long Island; 448 have been filled in and returned; 129 approved, to the tune of $5 million.Though there’s more than a week to the deadline, “we don’t want people to wait,” said Jelani Miller, public affairs specialist with the SBA office of disaster assistance, covering New York.

October 21, 2011
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Teens Charged With Sexting Have New Option

By TED PHILLIPS ted.phillips@newsday.com

A new law gives courts an alternative to criminal prosecution of teenagers who exchange explicit cellphone photos of themselves or peers.

The measure, signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, gives courts and prosecutors pursuing "sexting" cases against teenagers the option to have them complete an eight-hour education course, and to have criminal charges dropped.

September 27, 2011
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GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCE GRANT PROGRAM FOR STORM RECOVERY

$8 Million Program Targeted to Assist Victims of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm LeeGovernor Andrew M. Cuomo today launched an $8 million appliance grant program for those who sustained property damage as a result of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The program will help New Yorkers cover the costs of replacing vital household appliances, such as refrigerators, boilers washing machines and furnaces, damaged by the recent flooding. Grants will be a fixed amount for different appliances and could cover up to 100 percent of the costs of a purchase. If the cost of the appliance exceeds the cap, the program will pay a portion of the total costs up to the cap.

September 14, 2011
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Night Time Travel Lane Closures of Montauk Highway/NY Route 27A in the Town of Babylon in Suffolk County Begin Tuesday, July 26, 2011

     For the protection of motorists, night time travel lane closures of Montauk Highway/NY Route 27A, between NY Route 231 and NY Route 109 in the Town of Babylon, Suffolk County, will begin Tuesday night, July 26, 2011 and continue weekdays for approximately five weeks.  The closures will take place between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. each night, Sunday through Thursday, weather permitting.  No street parking is permitted during this construction work.  This operation also includes a small section of NY Route 231 just north of Montauk Highway.  Utilizing lane shifts, a single travel lane in each direction will remain open, but motorists are strongly urged to use alternate routes or they will experience delays.   

July 25, 2011
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GOVERNOR CUOMO SIGNS LAW TO CREATE MISSING VULNERABLE ADULT ALERT SYSTEM Law Establishes Public Notification System to Help Locate and Protect Missing Vulnerable Adults

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed a law to create a statewide alert system for missing vulnerable adults, similar to the nationwide Amber Alert program, which will help authorities locate cognitively impaired persons who go missing. The new law is in response to a number of instances where cognitively impaired individuals have wandered away from home and gone missing for an extended period of time, often placing themselves and others at risk.

July 25, 2011
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SENATE INTRODUCES “PROTECT OUR CHILDREN ACT” New Bill Protects Kids & Punishes Predators

    In the wake of Caylee Anthony’s tragic murder case and the murder of eight-year-old Leiby Kletzky in Brooklyn, legislation has been introduced in the New York State Senate that would make sweeping, comprehensive changes to the state’s child protection laws to help protect children from cruel and repeated abuse.         The bill, called the “Protect Our Children Act” (S.5862), is sponsored by Senators Mark Grisanti (R, North Buffalo), Stephen Saland (R-I-C, Poughkeepsie), Andrew Lanza (R-I, Staten Island), Greg Ball (R-C, Pawling) and Charles Fuschillo (R, Merrick).

July 21, 2011
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SENATE PASSES CONCUSSION MANAGEMENT AWARENESS ACT

    The New York State Senate passed the Concussion Management Awareness Act, sponsored by Senator Kemp Hannon (R, C, I, - Garden City), Chairman of the Senate Health Committee, that would direct the State Health and Education Departments to adopt rules and regulations for the treatment and monitoring of students with mild traumatic brain injuries.    “The number of children each year who suffer brain injuries, such as concussions, is alarming,” Senator Hannon said. “New York needs legislation to outline rules and regulations for the treatment and monitoring of students with mild traumatic brain injuries, and that’s exactly what my legislation provides.”

June 27, 2011
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SENATE PASSES NY-SUNY 2020 CHALLENGE GRANT LEGISLATION Legislation To Spur Investments In SUNY Expansion & Job Creation

    The New York State Senate passed legislation to establish the NY-SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program that includes capital funds for investments in economic expansion and job creation at the four SUNY University Centers, as well as a predictable and rational plan for SUNY tuition that will allow students and families to plan for tuition costs.    The bill (S.5855) represents a three-way agreement among the Governor, Senate and Assembly.

June 27, 2011
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SENATE PASSES HISTORIC PROPERTY TAX LEVY CAP LEGISLATION: BILL ALSO PROVIDES FOR MANDATE RELIEF

     The New York State Senate passed historic property tax relief legislation that enacts a cap on the growth of local property taxes. The bill (S.5856), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos, will cap school and local government taxes to less than two percent or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower. Mandate relief is also included, with $127 million in savings to local governments, in addition to the creation of a Mandate Relief Council to identify and repeal unsound, unduly burdensome laws and regulations.

June 27, 2011
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SENATE PASSES LANDMARK “POWER NY” LEGISLATION Renews and Enhances Article X, Increases Energy Efficiency Investments and Explores Solar Power Potential

    The New York State Senate gave final legislative passage to the “Power NY Act” to secure the state’s energy future by expanding the availability of affordable, clean and reliable electricity, while also creating jobs and boosting the economy. Power NY (S.5844), sponsored by Senator George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane), has three main components: it reauthorizes and modernizes the licensing process for major electric generating facilities (also known as Article X), provides incentives to consumers for energy efficiency investments, and explores the potential for additional solar power generation in the state.

June 23, 2011
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SENATE PASSES BILL TO FACILITATE EARLY DETECTION OF BREAST CANCER

    The New York State Senate today passed legislation to provide stronger preventative health care for women.  The bill (S.1883A), sponsored by Senator John Flanagan (R-C-I, East Northport), requires insurance companies to cover the cost of supplemental screening for women who have dense breast tissue or who are at greater risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

June 22, 2011
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SENATE PASSES BILL TO LOWER COUNTIES’ PUBLIC DEFENSE COSTS

    The New York State Senate gave final legislative passage to legislation, sponsored by Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick), to help counties save money in providing public defense services to individuals who cannot afford an attorney.     The legislation (S5474) would exempt legal aid societies from having to pay a fee to search DMV records in public defense cases. This exemption would provide savings to the counties who fund the services provided by legal aid societies.

June 22, 2011
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SENATE GIVES FINAL LEGISLATIVE PASSAGE TO JUVENILE “SEXTING” AND “CYBERBULLYING” PREVENTION BILL

    The New York State Senate gave final legislative passage to a bill (S.5253B) to divert youth to an education program addressing the sending of nude or obscene photographs through electronic technologies, also known as “sexting,” as well as conduct that constitutes “cyberbullying.”     The bill, entitled the “Cyber-Crime Youth Rescue Act,” sponsored by Senator Kemp Hannon (R-C-I, Garden City), requires the development of an educational program about the numerous perils of sexting and cyberbullying. The program provides an option other than a permanent criminal record for juveniles deemed eligible by a court.  

June 22, 2011
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SENATE GIVES FINAL LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL TO NYRA CALL CENTER BILL Bill Requires NYRA Call Centers to Be Located in New York State

    The New York State Senate gave final legislative approval to a measure that keeps jobs in New York by requiring racing and wagering call centers to be located in-state. The bill (S.4876), sponsored by Senator Andrew Lanza (R-I, Staten Island), arises following a recent decision by the New York Racing Association (NYRA) to locate it’s pari-mutel wagering call centers in Oregon.

June 22, 2011
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SENATE PASSES BILL ENABLING COVERAGE FOR ORAL CHEMOTHERAPY

    The New York State Senate passed a bill to potentially save chemotherapy patients thousands of dollars in pharmaceutical costs by ensuring  that chemotherapy treatment, no matter how administered, is covered equally by insurance companies. The bill (S.3988), sponsored by Senator Andrew Lanza (R-C, Staten Island), would help patients by enabling oral chemotherapy – a treatment in pill form - to be covered by insurance as a chemotherapy treatment. “There is absolutely no reason why life-saving medicines should be covered differently simply because of the way they are administered,” said Senator Lanza. “This bill is about keeping up with the times and the changing face of medicine.”

June 21, 2011
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Senator Owen H. Johnson Cosponsored Legislation Imposing Jail Time On Multiple DWI Offenders: Measure Makes Incarceration Mandatory for Persons who Commit Second DWI Offense

Senator Owen H. Johnson cosponsored legislation that imposes mandatory jail time for individuals who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol after having been previously convicted of such a crime. The bill (S.2597) passed the New York State Senate unanimously and is intended to increase the penalties for multiple DWI offenders.“Repeat DWI offenders are going to jail,” Senator Johnson said.  “ I have zero tolerance for those who repeatedly choose to put innocent lives at risk on our highways.  Our current DWI laws are weak, sometimes imposing a fine or allowing for community service.  Mandatory jail time would make DWI offenders think twice before driving drunk again.” Under the measure:

June 21, 2011
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Bill would bring NY into compliance with federal gun law

The Assembly and Senate have passed legislation that would require New York to report data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on firearm ownership so New York would be in compliance with the Gun Control Act. The federal law prohibits people convicted of misdemeanor domestic-violence crimes from buying or owning firearms. The bill now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to sign it.

June 21, 2011
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SENATE PASSES BILL TO ALLOW PRIVATE AIR AMBULANCE SERVICES TO OFFER MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTIONS

    The New York State Senate today passed legislation, sponsored by Senator Patricia Ritchie (R-C, Heuvelton),  that would allow private air ambulance services to offer membership subscriptions to private air ambulance services.  This proposal would help ensure the continuation of air ambulance services in rural areas of New York State.

June 21, 2011
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SENATE GIVES FINAL LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL TO “GOOD SAMARITAN” LAW Bill Would Help Reduce the Potential for Fatalities From Drug Overdoses

    The New York State Senate today gave final legislative passage to a bill that would help reduce the potential for fatalities caused by drug overdoses. The bill (S.4454B), sponsored by Senator John DeFrancisco (R-C-I, Syracuse), is known as a “good Samaritan” measure because it limits the use of evidence of illicit activity when an individual seeks treatment for someone experiencing an accidental drug overdose. “The primary reason people do not call 911 or go to the hospital for an overdose is fear of prosecution,” Senator DeFrancisco said. “This bill doesn’t condone drug use, but rather, acknowledges the importance of helping a victim and spurring a response from witnesses that may help protect the well-being of another person.” 

June 20, 2011
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SENATE-APPROVED BILL WOULD ALLOW LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO ‘PIGGY-BACK’ ON PROCUREMENT CONTRACTS

    The New York State Senate today approved legislation (S.5525B), sponsored by Senator Betty Little (R-C-I, Queensbury), that would allow local governments to cooperatively purchase, or piggy-back, on contracts already approved for other government agencies, including those of other states or the federal government.     The same terms and conditions of a contract already awarded would apply and there is a provision in the legislation to ensure that competitive bidding standards consistent with state law must have been used.      “This is a cost savings measure,” said Senator Betty Little.  “It gives our local governments a lot more options when they have a need to contract for goods or services.” 

June 20, 2011
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