Here are the issues Long Island's state senators are fighting for in Albany

Randi Marshall

Originally published in Newsday

The State Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Albany on June 20, 2019. Credit: AP/Hans Pennink

As state lawmakers head back to Albany, every member has a bill or two he or she hopes will make it into the mix. There are some larger issues on the table, like extending absentee voting rules into the general election, and amending the state constitution on how legislative districts will be drawn in 2022, but locally, state senators are pushing their own agendas forward.

In some instances, Long Island’s state senators — six Democrats and two Republicans since one seat was left empty after John Flanagan’s resignation — are focused on new issues related to the coronavirus pandemic and housing discrimination. In others, their attention is on items that have been on their agendas for a long time. 

Sen. Kevin Thomas is pushing three bills all with the same theme: consumer protection.

Thomas is sponsoring the Consumer Credit Fairness Act, which establishes a statute of limitations on debt-related lawsuits and key details that must be provided to consumers. Thomas also has a bill in the mix that would establish truth-in-lending provisions for small business loans, providing key disclosures for small businesses that are in place for consumer loans but not for business lending, Thomas said. Thomas is concerned, too, about the use of data related to the tracking and tracing efforts arising from trying to contain the coronavirus, and he wants state law to mandate that such data must be kept anonymous, and not used for commercial purposes.

“Companies are foaming at the mouth with how much money they’re going to be making … off of tracking people,” Thomas said.

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