Statement from Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan - 06/21/2017

Majority Press

June 22, 2017

This evening, the state Legislature will adjourn its 2017 legislative session.  Since we convened in January, our Senate Majority has always endeavored to do the people’s business.  I know we have succeeded.
 
Working with Senator Felder, we prevented an onerous new bag tax from being imposed on the people of New York City, especially low- and middle-income families who would be hurt the most.
 
Led by Senator Hannon, Senator O’Mara and Senator Phillips, our budget provided $2.5 billion for clean water infrastructure projects across the state.
 
Due to the advocacy of our Upstate members like Senator DeFrancisco, Senator Ranzenhofer and Senator Funke, we enacted the most comprehensive workers’ comp reform since 2007 and brought ride-sharing to areas outside of New York City.
 
Once again, Senate Republicans were instrumental in delivering record funding for our schools and ensured that every region of the state was treated fairly and equitably, including Long Island.
 
Buoyed by Senate heroin task force co-chairs Senator Amedore, Senator Akshar and Senator Jacobs, we won an unprecedented $214 million commitment to help in the fight against heroin and opioid addiction, and we continue to target the big-time drug dealers preying on our kids.
 
Senator LaValle, Senator Seward, and other members of our conference made certain we helped more middle-class families dealing with the rising cost of higher education.
 
Senator Ritchie, Senator Helming, Senator Ortt and others worked to deliver tens of millions of dollars in assistance for homeowners and businesses affected by the recent flooding of Lake Ontario.
 
As Chair of our Task Force on Lyme and Tick Borne Diseases, Senator Serino has helped us take the next steps in raising awareness and stopping the spread of these illnesses.
 
And, thanks to Senator Young, Senator Lanza and Senator Robach, respectively, we reached post-budget agreements to extend Kendra’s Law, end child marriage and protect our workers through a new “Buy American” law. 
 
We would have preferred to have tied everything up with a nice neat bow and returned to our districts with nothing at all left on our plate, but under the circumstances, that just wasn’t possible.
 
I support the renewal of mayoral control, as do my Senate Republican colleagues.  
 
Under our leadership, the Senate has approved three different bills to extend mayoral control.  Unlike the Assembly, our bills dealt wholly with education in the City of New York, and would give Mayor de Blasio new tools to ensure every child has a shot at a first-class education.
 
The Assembly needlessly tied renewal of mayoral control to dozens of unrelated local tax extenders requested by counties to fund important services for their residents.
 
I will continue to work to extend mayoral control because I believe very strongly in the accountability it provides, but I also believe that the 50,000 boys and girls in Harlem, Brooklyn and the Bronx who are now on waiting lists for a seat inside a charter school deserve the best possible education we can provide.  I will never stop fighting for those kids, and will not leave them without a voice.
 

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