Owen H. Johnson's News items

SENATE PASSES LEGISLATION TO ESTABLISH FIXED SCHOOL TAX RATE FOR SENIORS

    The New York State Senate today passed legislation, sponsored by Senator Kenneth P. LaValle (R-C-I, Port Jefferson), that would establish a fixed real property school tax rate for seniors who are eligible for the enhanced STAR exemption, providing much needed tax relief to hundreds of thousands of seniors throughout New York State.

June 20, 2011
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SENATE PASSES “COMPLETE STREETS” LEGISLATION

The New York State Senate today passed the “Complete Streets” legislation which would help make roadways safer for all who use them. The bill (S.5411A), by Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) requires state, county, and local transportation agencies to consider roadway design features that increase the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.“This legislation will help make our roads safer for everyone. Complete Streets design principles have been proven to reduce fatalities and injuries,” said Senator Fuschillo, Chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee. “Taking them into consideration on future projects will greatly improve the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.  The Assembly should join the Senate in passing this legislation.”

June 20, 2011
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SENATE PASSES SCHOOL BUS MANDATE RELIEF ACT

The New York State Senate today passed the “School Bus Mandate Relief Act” (S.4434A) to provide schools with budget savings by allowing boards of education to reduce the number of seats provided for student transportation if the seats aren’t being used by students. The measure, sponsored by Senator Jack Martins (R-C-I, Mineola) is expected to save school districts millions of dollars.

June 17, 2011
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SENATE GIVES FINAL LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL FOR LANDMARK AUTISM INSURANCE REFORM

The New York State Senate today approved legislation to enable individuals with autism spectrum disorders to receive insurance coverage for screening, diagnosis and treatment. The bill (S.4005A), sponsored by Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R, Merrick), would save tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses spent by families caring for individuals with autism and address insurance companies’ refusal to cover costs for autism treatments and therapies.Autism Spectrum Disorders affect individuals of all ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 in 110 children, including 1 in 70 boys, are currently affected with autism.

June 17, 2011
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SENATE PASSES LEGISLATION PROHIBITING HARMFUL LEVELS OF TOXICS IN CHILDREN’S JEWELRY

    The New York State Senate today passed a measure that would prohibit the sale of children’s jewelry which may contain harmful levels of cadmium and other hazardous substances. The bill (S.4055A), sponsored by Senator James Alesi (R-C-I, Perinton) protects children from accidentally ingesting cadmium, often used in inexpensive charm bracelets, pendants and other jewelry. Cadmium is a known carcinogen, which can hinder brain development in children and cause kidney, lung and intestinal damage. A 2009 report by the Associated Press found that Chinese manufacturers have been substituting cadmium for lead to make inexpensive jewelry which is then being sold by retailers in New York and other states.

June 17, 2011
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SENATE GIVES FINAL LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL TO BILLS LIMITING MILITARY FUNERAL PROTESTS

The New York State Senate today gave final legislative approval to two measures that offer additional buffers and restrictions for protests or demonstrations seeking to disrupt military funerals, burials or memorial services. The bills, sponsored by Senators Lee Zeldin (R-C-I, Shirley) and Joseph Griffo (R-C, Rome), balance the constitutional right of free speech with the ability of families to respectfully mourn the individuals who gave their lives in service to our country.

June 17, 2011
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SENATE PASSES BILL TO PROTECT RAILROAD PASSENGERS FROM SECOND-HAND SMOKE Legislation Would Ban Smoking on MTA Train Platforms and in Boarding Areas

    The New York State Senate today gave final legislative passage to a bill, sponsored by  Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick), to help protect MTA passengers from harmful second-hand smoke exposure.    The legislation (S3461C) would ban smoking in outdoor spaces for ticketing, boarding or platforms of train stations operated by the MTA or its subsidiaries, such as Long Island Rail Road or Metro-North. Both the City of New York and the State of New Jersey have already enacted similar laws banning smoking on outdoor train platforms.

June 17, 2011
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SENATE ANNOUNCES ACTION ON MTA PAYROLL TAX REPEAL Removing Payroll Tax Burden Will Help Businesses Create Jobs

    The New York State Senate will act today on legislation (S.5596A/ A.8193A) to repeal the MTA Payroll Tax, easing an enormous financial burden that has caused job losses and hurt businesses across the downstate  region.  The bill, which has strong support from business organizations including the Business Council of New York State and the National Federation of Independent Businesses,  is sponsored by Senator Lee M. Zeldin (R, C, I- Shirley), Senator Jack Martins (R-C-I, Mineola) and other Senators representing the 12-county MTA region.   

June 15, 2011
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SENATE PASSES BILL TO PROTECT COMMUNITIES FROM SEX OFFENDERS

    The New York State Senate today passed additional restrictions for sex offenders to help protect children and families. The four bills strengthen the penalties for not registering as a sex offender or following other post-release conditions, expand the current registry to include certain criminals serving sentences after committing a sex offense as a result of mental disease or defect, and prevent sex offenders from preying upon mental health workers and patrons in library settings.

June 14, 2011
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SENATE PASSES LEGISLATION TO STRENGTHEN LAW ON TEXT MESSAGING WHILE DRIVING

New Law Would Elevate Text Messaging While Driving Violation to a Primary OffenseAssembly Also Expected To Act Today    The New York State Senate today passed a bill (S.5643) that will make it easier for law enforcement to crack down on texting-while-driving offenses and prevent tragic accidents caused by drivers distracted by texting.  The bill represents an agreement with the State Assembly which is also expected to act on the legislation today.    The bill is sponsored by Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R-Syosset), Senator Jim Alesi (R-C-I, Perinton), and Senator Joseph Robach (R-C-I, Rochester).

June 14, 2011
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SENATE PASSES LEGISLATION TO ESTABLISH RESULTSNY.GOV WEBSITE Website Would Increase Accountability of State Government Agencies

    The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.3657), sponsored by Senator  Joseph Griffo (R-C, Rome) to create a new website, ResultsNY.gov, that would enable the public to review the performance of government programs to see how effectively agencies are spending tax dollars.   People visiting the site could also submit their own suggestions and recommendations on how to stop government waste and reduce State spending.

June 7, 2011
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SENATE PASSES MEASURE TO REDUCE MEDICAID FRAUD Expands District Attorneys’ Ability to Prosecute Medicaid Provider Waste and Abuse

    The New York State Senate passed a bill that implements a recommendation of the Senate Republican Task Force on Medicaid Fraud and increases the prosecution of Medicaid waste and abuse while also bringing significant savings to the state and counties. Medicaid fraud is a significant cost to the state and this legislation (S.594), sponsored by Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R, Merrick), helps increase cost recoveries by allowing the state’s Office of Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) to assist local district attorneys in prosecutions of Medicaid provider fraud.

June 7, 2011
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GOVERNOR CUOMO LAUNCHES SUMMER JOBS EXPRESS TO ENCOURAGE BUSINESSES TO HIRE 16,500 YOUTHS

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Summer Jobs Express program to encourage business leaders to hire 16,500 youths between the ages of 14 and 21 for summer employment in high-need areas of the state.Summer Jobs Express will provide $21 million in funding to qualifying local organizations and businesses that hire youth for five weeks or more from June 13 through September 30, 2011. Funds will also be used to provide work readiness training, supportive services and wages.

June 3, 2011
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Senate Passes Anti-Bullying Legislation (S.4921)

The New York State Senate yesterday passed comprehensive anti-bullying legislation to help put an end to this destructive activity that often interferes with a student’s education and emotional well-being. The bill (S.4921), sponsored by Senator Stephen Saland (R-I-C, Poughkeepsie), would help prevent cyber-bullying as well as conventional bullying on school grounds to create safer learning environments for children.

June 2, 2011
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Senate Passes Bill Requiring Criminal Background Checks for Bus Drivers (S.5171B)

The New York State Senate today passed legislation, sponsored by Senator Charles Fuschillo (R, Merrick), that would help ensure bus safety and crack down on so-called “terror” bus drivers. The bill requires bus drivers to submit to a criminal history check. The legislation aims to improve safety for bus passengers following a string of bus crashes caused by dangerous bus drivers with a history of criminal driving convictions.

June 2, 2011
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