Newsroom

Little Helpers, Senator O'Brien help School #33 with books, food

In April, the Little Helpers of Pittsford and I teamed up to supply food and books to deserving students at School 33 in my district, as pictured here.

A profile in the July 17 edition of the Brighton-Pittsford Post highlighted some of the Little Helpers' other charitable activities.  I am proud to have worked alongside them on a number of those activities, and I encourage local parents whose children are interested in volunteering to visit the Little Helpers Facebook page.

July 21, 2014
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Fighting the heroin epidemic

Dear friends,

A few weeks ago, as session came to a close, I voted for historic drug reform legislation that would combat the growing heroin crisis affecting communities throughout New York. This legislation enhances access to addiction treatment facilities, increases penalties for selling opioids that result in death, equips law enforcement with the necessary tools to crack down on drug dealers, provides first responders with treatments that can save the lives of people who overdose, and creates a teen heroin abuse public awareness campaign. These are all important and necessary steps towards healing our communities.

July 9, 2014
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The Compassionate Care Act

On the last day of the 2014 session, I was honored to have the opportunity to speak on the floor of the Senate regarding my vote in favor of the Compassionate Care Act. I am proud to have been part of a bill that will bring relief to people suffering from serious illnesses.

June 20, 2014
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Thomas Cray

Thomas Cray, of Penfield, New York, embodies the highest standard of service to others. In a four decade career of advocacy on behalf of veterans, reaching back to just after he returned from two distinguished and decorated combat tours in Vietnam with the United States Navy, Mr. Cray knows what it means to give back.

Mr. Cray was founder and longtime Executive Director of the Veterans Outreach Center of Rochester (VOC), one of the nation’s first such community-based centers. With a special focus on homeless veterans and those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the personal and familial struggles that can result from it, the Veterans Outreach Center has become a critical nonprofit helping to meet the needs of Rochester and the Finger Lakes region’s veterans.

May 17, 2014
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Mary Whittier

Mary Whittier, founding Executive Director of Bivona Child Advocacy Center, has changed the way child sexual abuse is investigated, treated and prosecuted in the Greater Rochester area.

Under Ms. Whittier’s guidance, Bivona is a non-profit organization providing streamlined, compassionate, coordinated care for the child and family at one safe, welcoming, child-friendly place. Before Bivona, children were subjected to a chaotic and traumatizing abuse investigation, forced to repeat the gruesome details of their sexual abuse to multiple professionals in mixed settings. Children were interviewed in the back of police cars or on the very couch where they were raped; families were dragged all over town and often fell through the cracks.

May 13, 2014
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Senator O'Brien, Senate Democrats continue to push for ethics reform

ALBANY, N.Y. – Senator Ted O’Brien and members of the Senate Democratic Conference today introduced a package of ethics legislation to reform state government and combat the ongoing corruption issues facing New York State. Senator O’Brien’s bill included in the package would outlaw the use of campaign money for attorney’s fees or any costs for defending against criminal or civil prosecution for alleged violations of any state or federal law (S5094).

May 6, 2014
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Earth Day 2014 Poster Contest: District 55

Dear Students,Thank you for your wonderful contribution to the New York State Senate’s Earth Day Poster Contest. This year we received many outstanding posters that exemplify the creativity of the young people in the 55th Senatorial District.Each entry from my District displayed tremendous originality and vision as well as obvious concern for the ecological future of our communities and our state. I am proud of your work and that of your classmates, and encourage you to continue to study and learn more about the serious challenges that face our environment.I am pleased to announce that the winner of the 2014 Earth Day Poster Contest from my District is:Mackenzie MulhernGrade 6Martha Brown Middle School

April 17, 2014
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Senator O'Brien, Senator Robach and advocates call for Senate action on Child Safe Products Bill

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A legislative proposal to disclose the use of toxic chemicals in children’s products is languishing in the New York State Senate, despite passing the Assembly this year, in a 111-25 vote.

State Senator Ted O’Brien, ranking member of the Senate Environmental Conservation committee, today called on the Senate leadership to bring the Child Safe Products Act to the floor for an immediate vote as soon as the Senate reconvenes on April 28. He was joined by Senator Joe Robach and representatives from Moms for a Non Toxic New York and the Child Care Council, Inc.

April 17, 2014
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Legislative Report - State funding for upstate, manufacturing tax credit, property taxes and circuit breaker proposal

In this episode of the Legislative Report, Senator Ted O'Brien discusses his grave concerns with the Senate's one-house budget and how it has neglected key upstate concerns.

March 24, 2014
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Senator O'Brien, Local Leaders "Stand Up for Upstate" in Budget Negotiations

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Senator Ted O’Brien, along with local government and school district officials, came together to state their concerns about the status of current state budget negotiations. Senator O’Brien believes that the needs of upstate New York are not being appropriately addressed in the budget proposals being advanced, particularly by the State Senate.

March 24, 2014
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Ending pensions for corrupt politicians

ALBANY, N.Y. – Senator Ted O'Brien and fellow legislators have called for a change to the state constitution that would allow pensions to be stripped from public officials who commit felonies and violate the public trust.

"The taxpayers of this state deserve to know that their money is not funding the retirements of former elected officials who have been convicted of felonies in betrayal of the public's trust," said Senator O'Brien.  "I am honored to join my colleagues in support of this change. This is a necessary step if we are to continue to restore accountability, transparency and the confidence of our citizens in New York State government."

March 6, 2014
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Keeping our bridges and roadways safe, well-maintained

Last night, 13WHAM ran an excellent story on the state's Dedicated Highway and Bridge Fund. In a time when a third of Monroe County bridges are past their 50-year lifespan, only 22 cents on the dollar from this fund are being spent on capital projects.I appreciated the opportunity to share a potential solution in the segment. I am cosponsoring legislation that would realign this fund with its original, crucial purpose.

February 27, 2014
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Senator O'Brien celebrates RIT role in Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Today, Senator Ted O'Brien was proud to congratulate the Rochester Institute of Technology on its leading role in the newly announced Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, organized under the umbrella of the Department of Defense and announced in a White House press conference this afternoon.

February 25, 2014
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Senator O'Brien, staff "Wear Red for Women"

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Senator Ted O'Brien and his district staff are all wearing shades of red today, joining thousands of people nationwide in observing "Wear Red for Women" Day, promoting awareness of the danger heart disease poses to women's health.

February 7, 2014
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Commemorating Black History Month

Dear friends,

This month, we welcome Black History Month as an opportunity to highlight the many accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans to our state and region.  The observation of Black History Month has a special connection to the Rochester area: February was chosen in 1926 partially because it was the birth month of Frederick Douglass, who rose from freed slave to famed abolitionist and orator, and spent almost 30 years living in Rochester.

February 6, 2014
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Senator O'Brien applauds $281,600 grant for violence prevention programming in the City of Rochester

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Senator Ted O’Brien praised a $281,600 state grant announced today that will enable Rochester’s Action for a Better Community (A.B.C.) to work with local law enforcement and youth to encourage nonviolent conflict resolution and discourage gang violence.  A state Division of Criminal Justice Services researcher will be working with A.B.C.

February 5, 2014
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Legislative Report - property and energy tax relief, unfunded mandates, closing the skills gap and ethics reform

Senator Ted O'Brien sat down to discuss some top priorities he will be working on this session.  These include implementing additional tax relief, working to pass his Unfunded Mandate Reform Act, striving to improve availability of job and skills training programs that help match unemployed people up with positions that are open now and fighting to tighten restrictions on how campaigns are financed and more effectively deal with those who flout the rules.

January 27, 2014
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Session priorities: tax relief, economic development and ethics reform must be the Legislature's focus

This essay by Senator O'Brien ran in the Democrat & Chronicle on January 11, 2014

As a new legislative session in Albany begins, I am preparing to address serious challenges to our region’s well-being.

During his State of the State address, the governor made it clear that upstate tax relief is his top priority. Mine, too. Eliminating corporate and energy taxes for upstate manufacturers and implementing the governor’s call for additional property tax relief are on the top of my agenda, as well.

January 14, 2014
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The Unfunded Mandate Reform Act

HIGHLIGHTS:

Unfunded mandates cost New Yorkers $4 billion a year in additional costs to local governments and schools.
This is a leading contributor to the crushing burden of property taxes that New Yorkers pay.
The Unfunded Mandate Reform Act (S.4094-2013 – read the full Act here) requires the legislature to take a stand on the issue and repeal some of these mandates.

 

What are unfunded mandates?

December 9, 2013
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Thanksgiving Essays and Contributions

Dear Participant,

Thank you for your wonderful contribution to the Thanksgiving Day Creative Celebration. We received outstanding poems, essays, and artwork that exemplify the creativity of New York State’s young people.

The submissions received are remarkable in what they represent – showing gratitude and respect for family, friends, our troops fighting overseas, and many other important subjects and activities. I am humbled and honored to see such inspiring contributions in response to what is a deceptively difficult question: “What are you thankful for?”

On behalf of the New York State Senate, I would like to offer my wholehearted congratulations to all of the participants in this year’s Thanksgiving Day Creative Celebration.

Sincerely,

December 6, 2013
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