Department of Financial Services to Investigate Taxpayer ComplaintsGovernor Andrew M. Cuomo today warned New Yorkers to beware of tax collection letters that appear to be government notices, but are actually misleading solicitations from private entities. The Governor has directed the New York State Department of Financial Services to investigate complaints by taxpayers on suspected scams.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced actions to strengthen penalties for texting-while-driving to protect New Yorkers on the road. The Governor has directed the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to implement tougher penalties for texting-while-driving for all drivers and proposed new penalties for texting-while-driving for young and new drivers. In addition, the Governor has directed the New York State Police to increase enforcement of the texting-while-driving ban. This will mean more checkpoints and troopers patrolling on the roads across the state throughout the summer when more drivers are on the road.
Chemical Tests Would Be Required If Injury or Death OccursThe New York State Senate today passed legislation that would help increase prosecution of dangerous drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The bill (S1446) would require chemical testing of drivers suspected of being under the influence when an accident occurs and results in serious injury or death.
The New York State Senate today passed legislation that creates a “deadbeat parents most wanted list” of financially-delinquent parents who are substantially late or behind on child support payments. The bill (S.4114) is intended to locate parents who owe more than $10,000 in child support payments.
Statistics show that in 2009, more than $648 million that was owed to New York’s children went uncollected, including $317 million owed to New York City children.
Measures Increase Commercial Fuel Tax Exemption and Provide Low-Interest Loans to Dairy Farms for Energy-Efficient TechnologiesThe New York State Senate passed two bills that would help businesses save money by increasing commercial tax exemptions for heating fuel and helping dairy farms invest in energy-efficient technology. The measures would reduce the cost of doing business in New York State to help spur economic growth in agriculture and other key industries.
The New York State Senate passed legislation that would increase the fines for littering on highways and the lands next to them. The bill (S.2311) doubles the fines for littering. Littering not only impacts the appearance of the roadways, it also can pose driving hazards, and trash is very costly to remove. Stiffening the fines for those who are caught throwing trash on the highways should help to serve as a deterrent, and help to clean up the roadways in our state.The fine for a first offense would be $700 and $1,400 for a second offense. The bill will be sent to the Assembly.
Measure Prohibits Use of Phones or Hands-Free Devices By Those With Learner’s PermitsThe New York State Senate passed a bill to protect young and inexperienced drivers by helping to remove distractions that could lead to accidents. The legislation (S1511A) prohibits the use of cell phones – including hands-free devices – by drivers who hold learner’s permits.The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports that young drivers make up just seven percent of the driving population, but are involved in 15 percent of the fatal crashes. The NTSB recommended that all states prohibit holders of learner's permits or a class DJ or MJ license from using wireless mobile telephones while driving.
The New York State Senate passed legislation that would prosecute those who intentionally or recklessly damage the environment while committing another crime. The bill (S1016) would deter thieves or other vandals from committing crimes that could result in contamination, and hold those accountable for financial and environmental damage from their actions.
Robert Moses State Park and the Jones Beach State Park boardwalk are open for the 2013 summer park season. Among the most heavily visited parks in the state park system, Robert Moses and large sections of Jones Beach have been closed since October due to severe damage from Superstorm Sandy.Destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc at Robert Moses and Jones Beach State Park but the beaches are ready, the boardwalk is back, and the parks are open. Long Island is ready for a great start up to the summer.
The New York State Senate today passed a bill toughening the penalties for leaving the scene of a boating accident without making a report. The bill (S.339) is in response to serious boating accidents that have happened in recent years. The bill would increase the penalty to an A misdemeanor for a first offense of leaving the scene of a boating accident when a person knows or should know there has been an injury to another person. A second offense within five years of the first offense would be a felony. The bill also would stiffen the penalties for the crime of leaving the scene of a boating accident, that resulted in property damage, without reporting it. The bill has been sent to the Assembly.
The New York State Senate today passed legislation, sponsored by Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick), to require mandatory jail sentences for repeat DWI offenders.Current law does not require repeat DWI offenders to spend any time in jail. Right now, repeat DWI offenders face class E or D felony charges punishable by up to four or seven years in jail and/or a fine between $1,000-$5,000 or $2,000-$10,000. However, judges have the discretion to sentence these offenders to only a fine or a fine and community service under the law.The legislation (S750) would require drunk drivers with multiple DWI convictions to serve a jail sentence.
The New York State Senate today passed legislation to encourage the building of more “green” homes by creating a property tax exemption. The bill (S1710), sponsored by Senator Mark Grisanti (R-I, North Buffalo), would help increase demand for environmentally friendly housing by allowing local municipalities to offer a real property tax exemption of 35 percent for a maximum of 20 years.
$20 MILLION IN GRANTS TO SANDY-IMPACTED FISHING INDUSTRYGovernor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged coastal fishing businesses harmed by Storm Sandy to apply for available funding through the State’s recently approved Coastal Fishing Industry Grant Program. Under the program, eligible businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to $50,000 to cover uncompensated losses. “The regions most devastated by Superstorm Sandy are also vital parts of our state’s fishing industry, supporting thousands of local jobs and generating billions in economic activity,” Governor Cuomo said. “With peak fishing season arriving, I am directing new federal funds to support this critical industry on Long Island and Staten Island as it works to reach full recovery.”
More than 18,000 teens will have jobs this summer through New York State’s Summer Youth Employment Program.The State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has distributed $25 million in funding to all 57 counties and New York City to help bring youth into the workforce, acquire skills that can help them improve in school, and propel them to greater educational and career achievements.“The Summer Youth Employment Program offers a great opportunity for employment to teenagers and young adults in underserved communities across New York State,” said Governor Cuomo. “Introducing youth to their first job means they will gain valuable skills and experience that can help them achieve success in the future.”
The New York State Senate today passed legislation to crack down on auto insurance fraud which has led to injuries - even death - for innocent victims and costs hundreds of millions of dollars a year in higher premiums when New Yorkers already pay some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country.The three bills approved today would significantly cut down on auto insurance scams by increasing penalties for those who commit or assist in the fraud and by giving more flexibility to insurance companies to prevent criminals from getting policies and continuing to commit auto fraud.
National sites on LI to get federal funding for Sandy recoveryBy ZACHARY R. DOWDY email@example.comFire Island, the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site and the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex are slated to receive federal funding to help with their recovery from damages inflicted by superstorm Sandy, officials said Tuesday.Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced in a news release that officials are freeing up $475.25 million in relief funding for 234 projects that will rebuild structures and institutions damaged by the storm that ravaged the Eastern Seaboard in October.
The New York State Senate today gave final passage to a bill that provides additional resources for breast cancer research and also passed a measure to increase access to important information about changes to women’s health coverage. The bills support breast cancer mapping initiatives and facilitate public education about newly-covered preventive services and health screening for women.
The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S2149) that would create a farm-to-senior program to promote the purchase of New York State farm products by senior centers and other institutions for the aging.The program would replicate a similar effort, the farm-to-school program, which was established in 2002 to enable schools to purchase locally-grown farm produce for school children. The bill would give that same access to seniors.
Legislation Would Allow Machine Voting for NYC Elections; Also in Villages, School Districts and Special DistrictsThe New York State Senate today passed two bills that would allow for the use of lever-style voting machines in non-federal elections in New York City, and in elections held by villages, school districts and special districts.Legislation (S4088B) would allow New York City to use lever voting machines for all non-federal elections, including the upcoming primary, run-off and general elections this fall. In addition, the bill would to move the date for a potential run-off election in New York City from September 24th to October 1st to avoid a conflict with the Jewish holiday Sukkot.
The New York State Senate today passed bills that would continue to promote the construction of environmentally-friendly buildings and the cost-saving benefits of net metering for utility bills. Both bills would help reduce the consumption of limited natural resources, promote the use of renewable energy, and lower energy costs.