Regular Session - February 23, 2021

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 1                NEW YORK STATE SENATE

 2                          

 3                          

 4               THE STENOGRAPHIC RECORD

 5                          

 6                          

 7                          

 8                          

 9                  ALBANY, NEW YORK

10                  February 23, 2021

11                      3:30 p.m.

12                          

13                          

14                   REGULAR SESSION

15  

16  

17  

18  SENATOR SHELLEY B. MAYER, Acting President

19  ALEJANDRA N. PAULINO, ESQ., Secretary

20  

21  

22  

23  

24  

25  


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 1                P R O C E E D I N G S

 2                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The Senate 

 3   will come to order.  

 4                I ask everyone present to please 

 5   rise and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

 6                (Whereupon, the assemblage recited 

 7   the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.) 

 8                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   In the 

 9   absence of clergy, let us bow our heads in a 

10   moment of silent reflection or prayer.

11                (Whereupon, the assemblage respected 

12   a moment of silence.)

13                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Reading of 

14   the Journal.

15                THE SECRETARY:   In Senate, Monday, 

16   February 22, 2021, the Senate met pursuant to 

17   adjournment.  The Journal of Sunday, February 21, 

18   2021, was read and approved.  On motion, Senate 

19   adjourned.

20                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Without 

21   objection, the Journal stands approved as read.

22                Presentation of petitions.

23                Messages from the Assembly.

24                Messages from the Governor.

25                Reports of standing committees.


                                                               824

 1                Reports of select committees.

 2                Communications and reports from 

 3   state officers.

 4                Motions and resolutions.

 5                Senator Gianaris.

 6                SENATOR GIANARIS:   On behalf of 

 7   Senator Kaminsky, on page 14 I offer the 

 8   following amendments to Calendar 239, Senate 

 9   Print 1103, and ask that said bill retain its 

10   place on Third Reading Calendar.

11                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The 

12   amendments are received, and the bill shall 

13   retain its place on the Third Reading Calendar.

14                Senator Gianaris.

15                SENATOR GIANARIS:   I move to adopt 

16   the Resolution Calendar, with the exception of 

17   Resolution 400.

18                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   All in 

19   favor of adopting the Resolution Calendar, with 

20   the exception of Resolution 400, please signify 

21   by saying aye.

22                (Response of "Aye.")

23                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Opposed, 

24   nay.

25                (No response.)


                                                               825

 1                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The 

 2   Resolution Calendar is adopted.

 3                Senator Gianaris.

 4                SENATOR GIANARIS:   At this time can 

 5   we begin by taking up previously adopted 

 6   Resolution 183, by Senator Persaud, read that 

 7   resolution's title only, and recognize Senator 

 8   Persaud.

 9                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The 

10   Secretary will read.

11                THE SECRETARY:   Senate Resolution 

12   183, by Senator Persaud, commemorating the 

13   51st Anniversary of Guyana becoming a Republic, 

14   to be celebrated February 23, 2021.

15                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

16   Persaud on the resolution.

17                SENATOR PERSAUD:   Thank you, 

18   Madam President.  

19                Today I rise as a proud daughter of 

20   the country of Guyana.  Guyana is located on the 

21   northern coast of South America, and it's known 

22   as the only English-speaking country in 

23   South America.  

24                In this chamber we have a number of 

25   Guyanese.  We have Senator Benjamin, Senator 


                                                               826

 1   Brisport, Shontell Smith, Jessica Persaud.  In 

 2   the Assembly we have Assemblymember Hyndman, and 

 3   a number of members who are on the Senate Finance 

 4   team.

 5                Today Guyana celebrates its 51st 

 6   republic anniversary.  And this day is celebrated 

 7   with a festival, a festival that comes from an 

 8   Amerindian term.  That festival is called 

 9   Mashramani.  Or, as we love to say, we are going 

10   to Mash it up, and it's called "Mash."

11                On that day, all kinds of things are 

12   happening.  There are parades, lots of food, lots 

13   of fun, and everybody comes together as one.  

14   That is the only time -- well, one of the only 

15   times in the country of Guyana that all ethnic 

16   groups will come together as one.

17                Guyana is a country that's 

18   undergoing turmoil.  It's a fabulous place, 

19   beautiful.  You name it, we have it.  But when it 

20   comes to political life, Guyana is a country 

21   that's divided by ethnic groups.  Today, as they 

22   celebrate their 51st anniversary of republic, 

23   they are continuing to go through that strife.  

24                On March 2nd of 2020 they held an 

25   election to select the president of the country.  


                                                               827

 1   Many months later, they were still going through 

 2   turmoil because there was no declared winner.  

 3   Ultimately, the United States played a role in 

 4   selecting the winner of the election of Guyana.

 5                The issues that the country was 

 6   going through in that election are the issues we 

 7   went through in our prior election last year.  

 8   And the United States asked the Guyanese people 

 9   to accept what was going on and not to fight it, 

10   not to ask for recounts, because -- those were 

11   the actual words, because they were asking for 

12   recounts.  And then we had the same thing happen 

13   here.

14                Guyana is a rich country.  But 

15   again, Guyana is a divided nation.  We are 

16   looking, as we move forward in this 51st year, 

17   that the people of Guyana can come together as 

18   one and live under that motto that we love to 

19   say:  One people, one nation, one destiny.  

20                And then they have a song that says, 

21   you know, when outside forces come in, they 

22   cannot divide us.  But that's what is happening 

23   in Guyana.  Currently there's an oil exploration.  

24   Guyana has the largest oil reserve in the world 

25   currently.  There's lots of money, and hence the 


                                                               828

 1   additional fighting.

 2                Guyana is my country, the land where 

 3   I was born.  I am proud to represent Guyana.  

 4   Wherever you go, we love to tell people, wherever 

 5   you go across this world, you will find Guyanese.  

 6   We are a proud people.  We are a hardworking 

 7   people.  We are a committed people to our causes.  

 8                Madam President, on behalf of the 

 9   people of Guyana who are living in the 

10   United States, I wish all of the people who are 

11   living in Guyana Happy Republic, Happy 

12   Mashramani, and may you change your ways so that 

13   Guyanese can live together as one:  One people, 

14   one nation, one destiny.

15                Thank you, Madam President.

16                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

17   Brisport on the resolution.

18                SENATOR BRISPORT:   Thank you, 

19   Madam President.

20                And thank you, Senator Persaud, for 

21   introducing this resolution.  

22                My colleagues, I stand before you as 

23   the child of an undocumented immigrant from 

24   Guyana.  My dad came here in 1969, lived here, 

25   worked here, paid taxes, but could not vote.  And 


                                                               829

 1   as we honor the independence of Guyana and we 

 2   talk about my Guyanese father, I think it's an 

 3   opportune moment to say no taxation without 

 4   representation, that immigrants are welcome here 

 5   and that immigration makes us stronger.  

 6                As we talk about independence, I'd 

 7   like to share what I think of that as, which is 

 8   freedom from extraction -- a nation and a people 

 9   who said they will no be longer be utilized to 

10   enrich the pockets of a wealthy few.  And we 

11   should take this opportunity, as we honor the 

12   independence, to look at other places where 

13   extraction is happening for profit.  

14                Senator Persaud mentioned oil.  I 

15   would like to remind us that the fossil fuel 

16   industry is extraction.  Prison labor is 

17   extraction.  Union busting is extraction.  

18   Deregulating housing is extraction.  Private 

19   medical insurance is extraction.  

20                I'm a proud Guyanese-American man.  

21   And as we celebrate Guyana's independence, may we 

22   all work to build a New York where all people and 

23   all New Yorkers are free from extraction.

24                Thank you.

25                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Thank you.  


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 1                The resolution was previously 

 2   adopted on January 26th.

 3                Senator Gianaris.

 4                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

 5   at this time we're going to take up two 

 6   resolutions simultaneously, both by Leader 

 7   Stewart-Cousins.  

 8                Can we take up previously adopted 

 9   Resolution 317 as well as Resolution 400, by 

10   Leader Stewart-Cousins, read those two 

11   resolutions in their entirety, and recognize the 

12   leader on the resolutions.

13                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The 

14   Secretary will read.

15                THE SECRETARY:   Senate Resolution 

16   317, by Senator Stewart-Cousins, memorializing 

17   Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to proclaim February 

18   2021 as Black History Month in the State of 

19   New York.  

20                "WHEREAS, Black History Month, 

21   previously known as Negro History Week, was 

22   founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, and was first 

23   celebrated on February 1, 1926; since 1976, it 

24   has become a nationally recognized month-long  

25   celebration, held each year during the month of 


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 1   February to acknowledge and pay tribute to 

 2   African-Americans neglected by both society and 

 3   the history books; and 

 4                "WHEREAS, The month of February 

 5   observes the rich and diverse heritage of our 

 6   great state and nation; and 

 7                "WHEREAS, Black History Month seeks 

 8   to emphasize Black history is American history; 

 9   and 

10                "WHEREAS, Black History Month is a 

11   time to reflect on the struggles and victories of 

12   African-Americans throughout our country's 

13   history and to recognize their numerous valuable 

14   contributions to the protection of our democratic 

15   society in war and in peace; and 

16                "WHEREAS, Some African-American 

17   pioneers whose many accomplishments, all of which 

18   took place during the month of February, went 

19   unnoticed, as well as numerous symbolic events in  

20   February that deserve to be memorialized  

21   include:  John Sweat Rock, a noted Boston lawyer 

22   who became the first African-American admitted to 

23   argue before the U.S. Supreme Court on 

24   February 1, 1865, and the first African-American 

25   to be received on the floor of the U.S. House of 


                                                               832

 1   Representatives; Jonathan Jasper Wright, the 

 2   first African-American to hold a major judicial  

 3   position, who was elected to the South Carolina 

 4   Supreme Court on February 1, 1870; President  

 5   Abraham Lincoln submits the proposed 

 6   13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 

 7   abolishing slavery, to the states for 

 8   ratification on February 1, 1865; civil rights 

 9   protester Jimmie Lee Jackson dies from wounds  

10   inflicted during a protest on February 26, 1965, 

11   leading to the historic Selma, Alabama, civil 

12   rights demonstrations, including Bloody Sunday, 

13   in which 600 demonstrators, including Martin 

14   Luther King, Jr., were attacked by police; 

15   Autherine J. Lucy became the first 

16   African-American student to attend the University 

17   of Alabama on February 3, 1956; she was expelled 

18   three days later 'for her own safety' in response 

19   to threats from a mob; in 1992, Autherine Lucy 

20   Foster graduated from the university with a 

21   master's degree in education, the same day her  

22   daughter, Grazia Foster, graduated with a 

23   bachelor's degree in corporate finance; the Negro 

24   Baseball League was founded on February 3, 1920;  

25   Jack Johnson, the first African-American World 


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 1   Heavyweight Boxing Champion, won his first title 

 2   on February 3, 1903; and Reginald F. Lewis, born 

 3   on December 7, 1942, in Baltimore, Maryland, 

 4   received his law degree from Harvard Law School 

 5   in 1968, and was a partner in Murphy, Thorpes & 

 6   Lewis, the first Black law firm on Wall Street; 

 7   and in 1989, he became president and CEO of 

 8   TLC Beatrice International Food Company, the 

 9   largest Black-owned business in the 

10   United States; and 

11                "WHEREAS, In recognition of the vast 

12   contributions of African-Americans, a joyful 

13   month-long celebration is held across New York 

14   State and across the United States with many  

15   commemorative events to honor and display the 

16   cultural heritage of African-Americans; and 

17                "WHEREAS, This Legislative Body 

18   commends the African-American community for 

19   preserving, for future generations, its 

20   centuries-old traditions that benefit us all and 

21   add to the color and beauty of the tapestry which 

22   is our American society; now, therefore, be it 

23                "RESOLVED, That this Legislative 

24   Body pause in its  deliberations to memorialize 

25   Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to proclaim February 


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 1   2021, as Black History Month in the State of 

 2   New York; and be it further 

 3                "RESOLVED, That copies of this 

 4   resolution, suitably engrossed, be transmitted to 

 5   the Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the  

 6   State of New York, and to the events 

 7   commemorating Black History Month throughout 

 8   New York State."

 9                Senate Resolution 400, by 

10   Senator Stewart-Cousins, commending former 

11   Senator Velmanette Montgomery upon the occasion 

12   of her designation as the first-ever recipient of 

13   the Senate Majority Leader's Legislative Legacy 

14   Award.  

15                "WHEREAS, It is the custom of this 

16   Legislative Body to recognize and commend those 

17   individuals of outstanding purpose whose lives 

18   have been committed to public service and the 

19   pursuit of excellence in the conduct of the 

20   legislative process in this noble Empire State; 

21   and 

22                "WHEREAS, Attendant to such concern, 

23   and in full accord with its long-standing  

24   tradition, this Legislative Body is justly proud 

25   to reflect upon those extraordinary individuals 


                                                               835

 1   who have made everlasting contributions on behalf 

 2   of their fellow men and women and have left their 

 3   mark on this great Empire State; Senator 

 4   Velmanette Montgomery is one such individual; she 

 5   truly devoted her life to serving her government 

 6   with integrity and commitment for the sole 

 7   purpose of serving the needs of others; and 

 8                "WHEREAS, Senator Velmanette 

 9   Montgomery was first elected to the New York 

10   State Senate in 1984; after that, she was 

11   re-elected 17 consecutive times; and 

12                "WHEREAS, Senator Velmanette 

13   Montgomery was the second Black woman to be 

14   elected to this  Legislative  Body, first elected 

15   more than twenty years after the first Black 

16   woman to be elected to this Legislative Body, 

17   paving the way for a new generation of diverse 

18   Senators; and 

19                "WHEREAS, Senator Velmanette 

20   Montgomery represented District 25, which 

21   includes  Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Red Hook, 

22   Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset Park, Gowanus, and 

23   Park Slope, among other neighborhoods located  

24   within the Borough of Brooklyn; and 

25                "WHEREAS, Senator Velmanette 


                                                               836

 1   Montgomery was the longest-serving Democratic 

 2   Senator in New York State history, and was the 

 3   first Senator to give birth to a child while 

 4   serving in office; through her work, she made 

 5   New York a better place to live, to work and to 

 6   raise a family; and 

 7                "WHEREAS, She served as the 

 8   long-time secretary of the New York State Senate 

 9   Democratic Conference and served on the 

10   Conference Leadership team for over a decade; in 

11   2019, she was appointed Majority Conference 

12   Secretary; and 

13                "WHEREAS, As a trailblazing  

14   legislator and state leader, Senator Velmanette  

15   Montgomery was well-known for her effective 

16   leadership and steadfast commitment to her 

17   constituents; during her career, she worked 

18   tirelessly as an advocate for youth, public 

19   education, criminal justice reform, environmental 

20   preservation and civil rights; and 

21                "WHEREAS, During her distinguished 

22   tenure in this Legislative Body, Senator 

23   Velmanette Montgomery sponsored numerous bills 

24   that were enacted into law and have made deep and 

25   lasting changes to better the lives of the 


                                                               837

 1   residents of New York State; among these  

 2   important accomplishments are laws prohibiting 

 3   the use of shackles on pregnant women (Chapter 

 4   411 of 2009 and Chapter 570 of 2015), allowing 

 5   youth in foster care to remain in care past their 

 6   eighteenth birthday (Chapter 342 of 2009), and 

 7   ensuring fair and equal pay for public employees 

 8   (Chapter 741 of 2019); and 

 9                "WHEREAS, As the chair of the 

10   New York State Senate Standing Committee on 

11   Children and Families, Senator Velmanette 

12   Montgomery was dedicated to helping young people 

13   achieve positive outcomes through reform of the 

14   state's juvenile justice, foster care and 

15   adoptive care system; and 

16                "WHEREAS, Senator Velmanette 

17   Montgomery's dedication to improving the lives of 

18   young people led her to be a statewide champion 

19   of YouthBuild, an organization that provides 

20   opportunities for young people to realize their 

21   full potential, her support helping to achieve 

22   millions of dollars in state assistance and 

23   bicameral support for the program; and 

24                "WHEREAS, Her passion for supporting 

25   children's health and well-being led Senator 


                                                               838

 1   Velmanette Montgomery to lead the fight for 

 2   school-based health clinics, helping to secure 

 3   significant state fiscal support for health 

 4   services for schools in an innovative 

 5   community-based model; and 

 6                "WHEREAS, Senator Velmanette 

 7   Montgomery was known for her championing of 

 8   incarcerated persons and understood the critical  

 9   need to create a pathway for second chances; her 

10   commitment to restorative justice included her 

11   often lonely but ultimately successful crusade to 

12   'Raise the Age' of criminal liability; and 

13                "WHEREAS, In acknowledgment of her 

14   longtime advocacy on the issue of kinship care, 

15   Senator Velmanette Montgomery was the recipient 

16   of numerous awards, including the auspicious 

17   Barbara M. Clark Kinship Champion Award; and 

18                "WHEREAS, Senator Velmanette 

19   Montgomery was not only known for her success as 

20   a legislator, but for her passion for mentoring 

21   new legislators, staff, and others, leaving a 

22   lasting impression on the next generation of 

23   leaders and lawmakers; and 

24                "WHEREAS, Prior to her service in 

25   public office, Senator Velmanette Montgomery 


                                                               839

 1   worked as a teacher, adjunct professor, and 

 2   day care director; furthermore, she was the 

 3   cofounder of the Day Care Forum of New York City, 

 4   and served as president of Community School Board 

 5   13; and 

 6                "WHEREAS, Velmanette Montgomery 

 7   obtained a master's degree in education from 

 8   New York University before becoming a 

 9   Revson Fellow at Columbia University; in 1991, 

10   she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law from 

11   St. Joseph's College in Brooklyn; and 

12                "WHEREAS, In light of her many 

13   accomplishments and historic impact on the State 

14   Legislature and the Empire State itself, the 

15   Senate Majority Leader has established a new 

16   award to honor her legacy on this state and her 

17   beloved community on the occasion of her 

18   retirement, and this award shall make 

19   Senator Velmanette Montgomery the first recipient 

20   of this newly established Senate Majority  

21   Leader's Legislative Legacy Award; now, 

22   therefore, be it 

23                "RESOLVED, That this Legislative 

24   Body pause in its deliberations to commend former 

25   Senator Velmanette Montgomery upon the occasion 


                                                               840

 1   of her designation as the first-ever recipient of 

 2   the Senate Majority Leader's Legislative Legacy 

 3   Award; and be it further 

 4                "RESOLVED, That a copy of this 

 5   resolution, suitably engrossed, be transmitted to 

 6   the Honorable Velmanette Montgomery."

 7                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Majority 

 8   Leader Stewart-Cousins on the resolution.

 9                SENATOR STEWART-COUSINS:   Thank 

10   you, Madam President.  

11                I rise because this is an incredible 

12   honor for me.  It is an opportunity to celebrate 

13   Black history and to celebrate someone who was 

14   iconic in creating Black excellence and 

15   excellence in general in this chamber, and that 

16   is Senator Velmanette Montgomery.  

17                I think when Carter Woodson thought 

18   about Black history, he thought about all that's 

19   untold and all that we have to be grateful for in 

20   terms of the contributions of Black people in 

21   this country.  He understood that unless we 

22   spoke of our history, people would find it easy 

23   to ignore, to marginalize, to rewrite and to 

24   decide what was important about our contributions 

25   and what were not.


                                                               841

 1                And those of us who have had the 

 2   opportunity to stand on the shoulders of unnamed 

 3   giants appreciate these moments, these months, 

 4   these hours, these days where we set aside time 

 5   to celebrate those who have made a difference in 

 6   our lives that people might never even know of or 

 7   hear about.

 8                This past year of reckoning, where 

 9   we have been experiencing the twin pandemics of 

10   the COVID-19 virus as well as we saw the pandemic 

11   of racism, I think it made people look at Black 

12   history and really understand in so many ways the 

13   struggles and how although we have come a very 

14   long way -- I am standing in this chamber as the 

15   Majority Leader -- there is so much untold, and 

16   so many of our institutions that have been part 

17   of a systemic oppression of people because of the 

18   color of their skin.

19                I have heard from so many people of 

20   all different nationalities, skin tones, saying, 

21   Oh, I never knew this, I never knew that.  And 

22   sadly, because of the situation around COVID, I 

23   think people for the first time were able to see 

24   things in a way that they hadn't seen them 

25   before.  It's not that what happened -- that the 


                                                               842

 1   murder of George Floyd had never happened before, 

 2   but I think it was seen in a different way.

 3                That brings me to Senator Velmanette 

 4   Montgomery.  Because Senator Velmanette 

 5   Montgomery was the second African-American woman 

 6   to serve in this chamber.  The first was 

 7   Constance Baker Motley.  She was elected in 1964 

 8   and only spent a year here because she was tapped 

 9   to become the borough president.

10                It was 20 years between the election 

11   of Constance Baker Motley and Senator Velmanette 

12   Montgomery.  There's a whole generation that had 

13   passed before Senator Velmanette Montgomery 

14   graced the floors of this chamber, the only 

15   African-American woman here.

16                And when she came, representing her 

17   Brooklyn community with Fort Greene, so many 

18   people who believed in the power of government to 

19   change their lives and believed that this 

20   powerful woman, who was a daycare director and a 

21   community activist and doing things for the 

22   community, would be that person to come and tell 

23   their story.

24                And every day, she came and told the 

25   story.  She wasn't necessarily heard.  She was in 


                                                               843

 1   the minority while she was telling the story, and 

 2   she was a minority within the minority of the 

 3   Democrats, within the minority of the women -- 

 4   and she was the only African-American woman.

 5                And then, history-making again, she 

 6   was the only Senator that actually ever had given 

 7   birth to a child while they were a Senator.  Even 

 8   that part of her service was historic.  

 9                But it's what she fought for.  When 

10   she fought for school-based health clinics, 

11   because she knew her constituents didn't have 

12   access.  When she fought for the right for 

13   incarcerated parents whose kids were being 

14   snatched away never to be seen or heard of again.  

15   When she fought to Raise the Age so that young 

16   people weren't just incarcerated without 

17   protections. 

18                When she fought to make sure that 

19   kinship care was part of extending the family -- 

20   because when these kids were yanked out of homes, 

21   who would take care of them?  Grandparents.  

22   Velmanette recognized that kinship care was 

23   important to get that support.  

24                She was fighting to make sure that 

25   parolees had -- people had a chance to get heard 


                                                               844

 1   in parole.  She fought for women not to be 

 2   shackled when they were giving birth if they were 

 3   also incarcerated.

 4                In fact, Senator Velmanette 

 5   Montgomery's legislative legacy looks like this 

 6   (unfolding brochure).  She spent more years than 

 7   any Democrat spent in this chamber, and she got a 

 8   chance finally to see so many of the things that 

 9   she'd fought for long ago -- because she 

10   understood the injustice in the criminal justice 

11   system, she understood the inequities in 

12   education and access, she understood how 

13   marginalized people were and how it hampered 

14   their progress.  And she fought and she fought 

15   and she fought.  

16                And finally, over the past two 

17   years, most of the things she fought for have 

18   become part of what we are all proud of in this 

19   chamber.

20                When I looked at all of the 

21   different awards we have -- and we have awards 

22   that acknowledge people for everything, but 

23   mostly they're people outside of our chamber.  

24   And any of these things, Velmanette, you would be 

25   qualified for.  But I thought it's time that this 


                                                               845

 1   chamber recognized people like you, whose legacy 

 2   has made not only the chamber better, but each 

 3   and every one of us better.  

 4                Before I ever knew there was a 

 5   chance that I would be a Senator, I came here on 

 6   a weekend, a Caucus weekend, and I saw you, the 

 7   very first black woman Senator I ever saw.  I, 

 8   Roxanne, the Ada Smiths and the Ruth 

 9   Hassell-Thompsons and the Samara Brouks, we thank 

10   you.

11                So because we're thanking you, you 

12   do get a chance to become the very first person 

13   to receive the Senate Majority Leader Legislative 

14   Legacy award.  It is customized for you.  

15                You all can clap.  Do not be 

16   ashamed.

17                (Laughter; applause.)

18                SENATOR STEWART-COUSINS:   I know 

19   we're so used to being alone in here we don't 

20   even know how to make noise anymore.

21                (Laughter.)

22                SENATOR STEWART-COUSINS:   But this 

23   award is custom-designed for you.  It will be 

24   custom-designed in the future for the next 

25   person.  


                                                               846

 1                But I know, because of your proud 

 2   heritage, and it's Black History Month, this 

 3   Kente cloth design represents you.  

 4                And I'll just read what your award 

 5   says.  It says it's in recognition of a lifetime 

 6   of legislative accomplishments that have made 

 7   meaningful and deep changes to the lives of women 

 8   and children of the State of New York; pioneering 

 9   efforts to Raise the Age of criminal 

10   responsibility for children; providing leadership 

11   and consequential mentorship to generations of 

12   women; building the foundation for funding 

13   YouthBuild, that supports and mentors young 

14   people; championing school-based health clinics 

15   across the state; and for your unwavering 

16   commitment to protecting the dignity of the 

17   incarcerated and their families -- notably, 

18   banning the use of shackles on women while giving 

19   birth, supporting the Close to Home program. 

20                Thank you for being a persistent 

21   beacon for truth and justice.  Congratulations.  

22                (Extended standing ovation.)

23                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

24   can we stand at ease for a couple of minutes.

25                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The Senate 


                                                               847

 1   will stand at ease.

 2                (Whereupon, the Senate stood at ease 

 3   at 3:57 p.m.)

 4                (Whereupon, the Senate reconvened at 

 5   4:00 p.m.)

 6                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   The Senate 

 7   will return to order.

 8                Senator Gianaris.

 9                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

10   at this point can we continue with -- I know 

11   there are many Senators who want to come in here 

12   individually to give their remarks about 

13   Senator Montgomery, so please let us continue on 

14   the resolution.

15                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

16   Persaud on the resolution.

17                SENATOR PERSAUD:   Thank you.

18                Senator Montgomery, I am not going 

19   to repeat everything our leader said.  There's no 

20   need; she has said it.  All I want to remind you 

21   is of what you've done for us.  Everywhere I go, 

22   there's still the question, How is 

23   Senator Montgomery?  No one sees you as the 

24   former Senator -- it's still Senator Montgomery.  

25                You have paved the way for us.  And 


                                                               848

 1   I remember what you said when you were leaving, 

 2   you said to me:  Make sure that you work with the 

 3   leader, because there's not many of us around.  

 4   And my promise to you was yes, we will continue 

 5   to do so.  

 6                And then it says behind every 

 7   successful woman is a tribe of other successful 

 8   women who have her back.  

 9                Senator Stewart-Cousins, on behalf 

10   of Senator Montgomery, we continue to pledge to 

11   you that we have your back.

12                And as Senator Montgomery will say, 

13   bless your heart.  

14                (Laughter.)

15                SENATOR PERSAUD:   Thank you, 

16   Madam President.

17                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Senator 

18   Liu on the resolution.

19                SENATOR LIU:   Thank you, 

20   Madam President, for this wonderful opportunity 

21   to talk about this important resolution that our 

22   leader, Madam Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, has 

23   put forth.  

24                In this important month of Black 

25   History Month and on the cusp of Women's History 


                                                               849

 1   Month, we have this incredible individual by the 

 2   name of Velmanette Montgomery, our former 

 3   Senator.  I've often referred to her as my leader 

 4   far beyond the walls of this Senate.  A 

 5   history-maker, somebody who has inspired 

 6   generations of office holders, community 

 7   activists in so many different ways.  

 8                Senator Montgomery, I don't have 

 9   enough time on this floor to talk about all the 

10   things that you have done for the State of 

11   New York, for our community, for myself 

12   personally, and indeed in your global impact.  

13   There is much to be said, but I will say that 

14   it's been memorialized in this resolution that we 

15   have proudly passed today.  

16                And I want to thank you not only for 

17   your incredible service, the legislation that 

18   you've proposed, you've put forth, you've pushed 

19   for the passage of, as our leader has already 

20   summarized -- very briefly, because there's so 

21   much more -- but the tone in which you have 

22   upheld your responsibilities.  

23                Senator Montgomery was never one to 

24   be loud or brash.  She's always soft-spoken.  But 

25   anytime Senator Montgomery spoke, the entire 


                                                               850

 1   chamber or the entire room, however large, 

 2   however small, would quiet down so that we could 

 3   hear what this venerable person had to say so 

 4   that we could all learn from it and understand 

 5   what our responsibilities going forward would be.

 6                I also want to thank 

 7   Senator Montgomery -- she has amazing filing 

 8   skills -- because she's been sending all of us 

 9   mementos, photographs, newspaper articles from 

10   the last like 25, 30 years.  

11                (Laughter.)

12                SENATOR LIU:   It's amazing what she 

13   has done.  Thank you for passing that on to us as 

14   well.

15                I'm starting to get at a loss for 

16   words except to say that, you know, we had so 

17   many -- there were so many events that were going 

18   to be held in 2020 to celebrate 

19   Senator Montgomery's due, because she paid her 

20   dues.  And she fully deserved her right to retire 

21   and to step back and allow others to pick up her 

22   mantle.  And in fact I had a chance to attend a 

23   couple of those events.  

24                And then the world or at least 

25   in-person events got cut short, and so after 


                                                               851

 1   February we couldn't have any more events.  And 

 2   so, so many of the events that this outstanding 

 3   individual were going to be honored at were 

 4   canceled.  

 5                But I know that once life gets back 

 6   to normal, we are going to have those events.  

 7   And I'm very happy and I feel blessed that we're 

 8   able to celebrate the life, career, and legacy of 

 9   Velmanette Montgomery.  

10                Velmanette, you're not going 

11   anywhere, because we all still have your number.  

12   And in some ways you may be busier than you were 

13   before you retired, because everybody thinks you 

14   have a whole lot of free time now.  

15                But thank you for visiting us once 

16   again.  Thank you for your decades of service to 

17   New York.  And thank you for your friendship.

18                Thank you, Madam President, for this 

19   opportunity.

20                ACTING PRESIDENT MAYER:   Thank you, 

21   Senator Liu.

22                Senator Brisport on the resolution.

23                SENATOR BRISPORT:   Thank you, 

24   Madam President.  

25                I rise before you with two 


                                                               852

 1   impossible tasks -- one impossible task of 

 2   following the incredible speech and accolades of 

 3   our great leader, and the second impossible task 

 4   of following in the footsteps of 

 5   Senator Montgomery, my predecessor.  

 6                Senator Montgomery served in this 

 7   Legislature for longer than I've been alive.  And 

 8   when she entered the Legislature in 1984, you 

 9   know, some would say that Albany was an old boy's 

10   club.  I would add that it was an old white boy's 

11   club.  And for a woman in her skin, it was an 

12   incredibly hostile environment to navigate.  But 

13   she did not just navigate it, she thrived in it.  

14                We all heard a long list of her 

15   accomplishments and achievements, and I'd like to 

16   highlight that Senator Montgomery took a 

17   principled progressive position for decades 

18   before it was popular to do so.  And as we lean 

19   into her legacy, I would say the best way to 

20   honor the work that she's done in this chamber is 

21   to find those moments where we also can lean into 

22   the moments where we also find the principled 

23   position, even when it's not the prevalent one.

24                Happy Black History Month.

25                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 


                                                               853

 1   Gianaris on the resolution. 

 2                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Thank you, 

 3   Madam President.  

 4                And I could not let this opportunity 

 5   pass without paying my respects to one of the 

 6   most beloved and respected legislators I've ever 

 7   served with.  And I have worked in this building 

 8   for more years than I care to admit, in both 

 9   houses, in various capacities.  So when I say 

10   that, there are hundreds and hundreds of 

11   legislators who I could rank in terms of level of 

12   respect of their colleagues.  And Velmanette is 

13   at the top of that list.  

14                It is so wonderful to see you in 

15   person, Senator Montgomery.  I only regret that 

16   we're under pandemic rules so you don't have a 

17   full chamber of love coming at you today.  But 

18   you are getting a sense from the stream of 

19   members you're going to see walking in one at a 

20   time of just how beloved you were in this State 

21   Senate.  

22                And many have spoken already about 

23   your legacy and your accomplishments, and they 

24   were forward-looking, prescient in many ways.  

25   Some of the issues you were focusing on many 


                                                               854

 1   years ago were ones that have been achieved now, 

 2   and we wonder why it took so long to get there.  

 3   And so we appreciate your leadership over the 

 4   years on that.

 5                But I also want to speak to 

 6   something a little more -- I wouldn't say 

 7   political, but less about legislation and more 

 8   about the direction of this house and this 

 9   chamber.  And that is I can go back to when the 

10   great Andrea Stewart-Cousins was selected as the 

11   leader of our conference, and it was an 

12   interesting moment when Senators in the 

13   conference at the time needed to be heard and 

14   people were looking for direction, and 

15   Senator Montgomery was among the first, loudest, 

16   clearest and strongest supporters of making 

17   Andrea Stewart-Cousins the first female leader of 

18   a conference in the history of New York State.  

19                And now we see another part of your 

20   legacy, Senator Montgomery, is the incredible 

21   record that our great leader has established here 

22   in the State Senate.  

23                And so we miss you greatly.  It's 

24   wonderful to see you here.  I miss conferences, 

25   looking over once when you would raise your hand 


                                                               855

 1   in the corner, and everyone would go quiet and 

 2   listen to what you had to say.  

 3                But it is wonderful to see you, and 

 4   we want to have you back again with a full 

 5   chamber when we can properly show you our love as 

 6   we are individually today.  

 7                So great to see you, 

 8   Senator Montgomery.  

 9                Thank you, Madam President.

10                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

11   Mayer on the resolution.

12                SENATOR MAYER:   Thank you, 

13   Madam President.  

14                It truly is an honor to be able to 

15   speak to my friend and former seatmate, Senator 

16   Montgomery.  

17                I don't know that she remembers, but 

18   approximately 35 years ago when I first came to 

19   Albany to work for then-Attorney General Abrams, 

20   there weren't very much legislators who cared 

21   about childcare.  There weren't very many 

22   legislators who cared individually about people 

23   whose voices weren't heard.  

24                And I remember distinctly coming 

25   before you in the legislative hearing, you and a 


                                                               856

 1   few women who were legislators at the time, 

 2   Assembly and Senators, who were willing to talk 

 3   about the children of our working mothers and 

 4   fathers.  

 5                And over the years, your dignified 

 6   persistence in talking about those children, 

 7   talking about those families, talking about the 

 8   kind of empathy and decency that we expect of 

 9   people but is not always seen here, was a 

10   defining skill and moment that you had.  

11                And I think that's one of the 

12   reasons you were so respected.  You were a 

13   reminder to all of us that we are here to speak 

14   for that child, that family, that family who has 

15   a relative in prison, that family whose child 

16   can't get a job; we have a responsibility to 

17   treat them with respect and to be their voice.  

18   You reminded everyone on both sides of the aisle 

19   that that's what we were here for.  

20                You were a shining example of the 

21   best of legislating.  I think you were held in 

22   the highest regard by everyone.  And for me, 

23   you've just been a tremendous role model and a 

24   shining example of what we should and can be.

25                Thank you.


                                                               857

 1                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

 2   Kennedy on the resolution.

 3                SENATOR KENNEDY:   Thank you, 

 4   Madam President.

 5                I rise today to join in the chorus 

 6   to sing the praises and to thank this 

 7   extraordinary woman, our former colleague, 

 8   Senator Velmanette Montgomery.  

 9                I want to also thank our wonderful 

10   Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, for 

11   bringing this resolution to the floor.  As we 

12   celebrate black history, it's certainly fitting 

13   that we celebrate our former colleague.  And to 

14   be named the Senate Majority Leader's first 

15   recipient of the Legislative Legacy Award, it's a 

16   wonderful accomplishment on top of so many other 

17   accomplishments that you've had in this chamber 

18   and throughout this great state.

19                Throughout her career as a public 

20   servant, right here in New York, 

21   Senator Montgomery stood as a steadfast voice for 

22   those in need.  For three and a half decades -- 

23   and, you know, I heard Senator Brisport mention 

24   it, her successor.  But Senator Velmanette 

25   Montgomery served in this body longer than 


                                                               858

 1   many of the legislators today were even alive.  

 2   Before many of them were even born, 

 3   Senator Montgomery was serving in this wonderful 

 4   chamber.

 5                At her core, she was drawn to 

 6   correcting the injustices that exist in our 

 7   society and dedicated many of her years to 

 8   helping those in need, with a particular focus on 

 9   civil rights, criminal justice reform, and 

10   fighting for the betterment of our youth.  We 

11   know that she was the driving force regarding so 

12   many different issues.  Most recently, in recent 

13   years, the transformative issue of Raising the 

14   Age legislation.  

15                Senator Montgomery also, we know, 

16   fought as a leading voice for women's rights and 

17   human rights in general.  In essence, 

18   Senator Montgomery was the conscience of our 

19   Democratic Conference, and we thank you for that, 

20   for being that voice, for being that voice for 

21   our conference but, most importantly, for being 

22   that voice for our state, for our people, for the 

23   betterment of society in general.

24                As the chair of the Senate Committee 

25   on Children and Families, Senator Montgomery took 


                                                               859

 1   a hard look at how we could improve our foster 

 2   care and adoptive care systems, her heart 

 3   undoubtedly focused on helping kids.  Perhaps 

 4   that stemmed from her work as a teacher.  We know 

 5   that her work here in the State Senate was 

 6   reflective of the needs of the community.  She 

 7   also worked as a daycare director.  Her focus on 

 8   youth and the improvement of our children will 

 9   forever, forever resound throughout this state.

10                All we have to do is take a look at 

11   where we are today as a legislative body to see 

12   Senator Montgomery's vision, realized in so many 

13   ways, and how it has touched so many lives across 

14   this great state, and on so many levels.  But she 

15   would be the first to tell each and every one of 

16   us that our work is not done.  

17                But it is her legacy and her vision 

18   for human rights and making sure that everyone 

19   has a seat at the table and also ensuring that we 

20   are thinking about everyone, from the oldest 

21   Americans to the youngest children in society.  

22   Now, in New York, it's those folks that need us 

23   more than ever before.  

24                And while Senator Montgomery is no 

25   longer a part of this legislative body, her 


                                                               860

 1   spirit and commitment to the people of New York 

 2   is going to echo in these chambers for decades to 

 3   come.  

 4                So to our dear friend Velmanette 

 5   Montgomery, we extend our deepest gratitude and 

 6   our best wishes and our incredible support as you 

 7   enter the next chapter in your life.  Thank you 

 8   for all that you've done for all of us in this 

 9   great state.

10                Madam President, I vote aye.

11                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

12   Lanza on the resolution.

13                SENATOR LANZA:   Madam President, 

14   thank you.

15                I'm violating one of my own rules 

16   about not speaking on resolutions.  But every so 

17   often, the resolution moves me in a way that I 

18   think requires that I say something.

19                Also, I didn't want this to be 

20   Democratic party only, Senator Gianaris, because 

21   Senator Montgomery deserves nothing short of 

22   unanimous and bipartisan friendship, support, and 

23   love.

24                You know, when I came to this 

25   chamber, Madam President, more than a decade ago, 


                                                               861

 1   Senator Montgomery was already a leader.  She was 

 2   known by all, even a freshman Senator like myself 

 3   walking into this room.

 4                You know, people know us as members 

 5   of this body, as Senators.  I'm going to shock 

 6   some people around the state, but we're people 

 7   too.  And I can think about all that 

 8   Senator Montgomery has meant to this body and to 

 9   this state as a leader, but really what comes to 

10   mind first is how wonderful and great a person 

11   she is.  

12                I will always recollect the many 

13   conversations she and I would have -- not inside 

14   this chamber but outside this chamber, in the 

15   cloakroom, in the lounge, in the halls -- when we 

16   would talk about each other's families, when we 

17   would talk about each other's neighborhoods, our 

18   districts, about the things that mattered to us 

19   beyond politics.  And I always sought her out 

20   outside this chamber because I enjoyed her 

21   friendship, first and foremost, but I enjoyed 

22   being with her and enjoyed talking to her.  

23                You know, she and I -- I a 

24   Republican, she a Democrat -- we were never 

25   afraid to agree with each other in a world that 


                                                               862

 1   doesn't want us to agree with each other -- even 

 2   more so today than perhaps ever before, sadly, 

 3   Senator Montgomery.  Nor were we ever afraid to 

 4   disagree with each other.  And perhaps -- I could 

 5   speak for myself -- I learned more when 

 6   Senator Montgomery disagreed with me than when we 

 7   agreed with each other.

 8                Senator Montgomery, this country, 

 9   the body politic, needs people like you more than 

10   ever.  It needs that approach today more than 

11   ever.  And I hope that is -- of all the things 

12   that come together as your legacy, I hope that 

13   that is the message that stands apart from all 

14   others.  That we've got to agree, we've got to 

15   disagree, we've got to do it with respect.  You 

16   always did that.

17                One of the issues that I worked on 

18   very long and hard, and something I am very proud 

19   today to have been a part of accomplishing, is 

20   the issue of Raise the Age.  Now, when 

21   Senator Montgomery was talking about that issue, 

22   it wasn't very popular among Democrats.  It was 

23   even less popular among Republicans.  

24                And in our conversations outside of 

25   this chamber about life and about the right 


                                                               863

 1   approach to life, and about why we all come 

 2   together in this room and what it is that we're 

 3   all after, which is to make things better, we 

 4   began a conversation about Raise the Age.  And 

 5   those were the first conversations that I was 

 6   involved in on the issue.  And I knew very early 

 7   on, talking to Senator Montgomery, that it was 

 8   something that I wanted to be part of.  

 9                And we eventually got there.  And I 

10   was proud to sponsor that bill.  But I could not 

11   have ever ended up where we ended up, this state 

12   could never have ended up where we ended up, 

13   without Senator Montgomery.  You know, she had 

14   this idea, which seems obvious -- but the obvious 

15   isn't always popular -- that among all the 

16   people, all of our brothers and sisters, our 

17   children, more than anyone else, deserve a second 

18   chance.  Our children, more than anyone else, 

19   deserve special consideration and acknowledgment 

20   that they are children.

21                And so, Senator Montgomery, one of 

22   the things that I -- when people ask me what it 

23   is that I'm proud about in terms of what I've 

24   done here as a member of this august body, is my 

25   work on Raise the Age.  And I have you to thank 


                                                               864

 1   for that, ultimately.  

 2                So I thank you for your friendship.  

 3   I thank you for what you have meant to this body 

 4   and to this state.  I thank you for our 

 5   agreements.  I thank you for our disagreements.  

 6   But more than anything else, I thank you for your 

 7   style and your class and your integrity, and I 

 8   wish there were more people like you.

 9                Congratulations, Senator Montgomery.

10                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

11   Savino on the resolution.

12                SENATOR SAVINO:   Thank you, 

13   Madam President.

14                I'm not sure I can follow that, 

15   Senator Lanza.  That was actually quite touching.

16                Senator Montgomery, I don't even 

17   know where to start.  I think of all of the 

18   tragedies of the pandemic last year -- and there 

19   were so many, so many families affected in so 

20   many ways, so much heartbreak.  But for us here 

21   personally in the Senate chamber, I think one of 

22   the most heartbreaking things is we didn't really 

23   get the opportunity to say goodbye to some of our 

24   colleagues who left us last year in the way that 

25   we wanted to, recognizing their contribution not 


                                                               865

 1   just to the Senate but to the state and to our 

 2   own individual lives.  

 3                Senator Lanza said -- and I'm sure 

 4   some of the colleagues that were here before me 

 5   talked about our personal relationships with you, 

 6   and I want to talk about mine.  

 7                You know, when I came into the 

 8   Senate 17 years ago, you know, I knew that I had 

 9   a lot in common with a bunch of members.  But you 

10   and I had a special relationship because we were 

11   committed to some of the very same issues, 

12   children and families, I coming out of a career 

13   in the Child Welfare Administration, then into 

14   the labor movement; you in your lifetime 

15   commitment to improving the conditions for the 

16   most vulnerable of our population, children who 

17   were languishing in foster care, children who 

18   needed preventive services, families who were 

19   affected by addiction and criminal justice, 

20   mothers who had their families separated because 

21   of all of the social challenges.  That's who you 

22   dedicated your career to, you know?  

23                A lot of us get a lot of coverage 

24   from the media because of the issues that we take 

25   on.  But the things that you and I cared about, 


                                                               866

 1   the press never really paid much attention to.  

 2                And I can remember many meetings of 

 3   the Children and Families Committee where you and 

 4   I would be the only two that would show up.  But 

 5   we did the work.  We focused on the things that 

 6   you had dedicated your career to -- fighting 

 7   every year to make sure that school-based clinics 

 8   were in the budget; making sure that children had 

 9   access to healthcare, those who needed it the 

10   most; fighting to make sure that women who 

11   desperately needed preventive services so they 

12   didn't lose their children to the foster care 

13   system were able to depend on that.  Nurse Family 

14   Partnerships.  All of those things that held 

15   families together.

16                I can remember standing next to you 

17   in the Majority Conference Room the day you were 

18   able to get the bill passed that said it was 

19   inhumane to shackle a pregnant woman when she was 

20   giving birth in the correctional system.  Who 

21   would have imagined that that actually happened?  

22   But you knew it.  The rest of the world wasn't 

23   even aware that women were treated that way.  You 

24   made that change, a profound change for women, 

25   and then made sure they stopped doing it in jails 


                                                               867

 1   around the state.

 2                You wanted to make a difference in 

 3   small, meaningful ways that were huge.  I 

 4   remember, as Senator Lanza said, on Raise the 

 5   Age, you and I holding the first hearing in 2011, 

 6   and very few people showed up.  Most of our 

 7   colleagues weren't interested.  In fact, they 

 8   didn't even know that the age of criminal 

 9   responsibility in New York State was so low.  

10                But you sat there all day and you 

11   took testimony from individuals and from 

12   policymakers who wanted us to start down the road 

13   to change that outdated, archaic law.  And six 

14   years later, it was done.  

15                And a lot of people took credit for 

16   it, but you and I both know how it started.  It 

17   was Velmanette Montgomery, who never lost sight 

18   of what was really important.  It was the most 

19   vulnerable people in this state, children and 

20   families.  And those who didn't have high-priced 

21   lawyers to fight for them, who didn't have 

22   advocates really who could deliver for them.  The 

23   people who just needed someone who was going to 

24   come to Albany every day.  

25                I used to tease her all the time and 


                                                               868

 1   say Velmanette really believes that for want of 

 2   an after-school program, all the prisons would be 

 3   empty.  She really believed that.  Because she 

 4   understood the value of early intervention in a 

 5   meaningful way, that if we could work to help 

 6   kids at an early age -- that's why we worked on 

 7   creating the Close to Home program, to divert 

 8   kids out of the criminal justice system at an 

 9   early age.  And we're seeing the fruits of that 

10   now.  Less and less young people are winding up 

11   in prison.

12                She dedicated her life to improving 

13   the lives of people.  The proof is in the 

14   pudding.  We all know it.  That's why we're here 

15   today.  You deserve so much more, so much more 

16   credit.  And I only hope that those of us who 

17   follow you live up to your reputation and we 

18   never forget what you have asked us to do:  

19   Protect the small, protect the vulnerable, and 

20   never, ever forget why we were sent here, to 

21   fight for those who can't fight for themselves.  

22                I am proud to have served with you, 

23   Velmanette.  I am proud to have known you.  And I 

24   am proud to have partaken in a small way in some 

25   of the work that you have done, because we 


                                                               869

 1   together made a real difference for a lot of 

 2   people.  

 3                So congratulations on your 

 4   retirement, and I hope that you finally are able 

 5   to enjoy it and enjoy your family.  

 6                Thank you, Madam President.

 7                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:    

 8   Senator Parker on the resolution.

 9                SENATOR PARKER:   Thank you, 

10   Madam President.

11                I rise to add my voice to those who 

12   are doing two things today; first, giving some 

13   honor and tribute to Black History Month, and 

14   certainly adding my voice to those who are 

15   honoring and lauding the work of Senator 

16   Velmanette Montgomery.  And maybe to the casual 

17   observer they seem like different things, but 

18   they're very much within the same realm of 

19   activity that we're doing here on the floor 

20   today.

21                That we see that the creation of 

22   African-American History Month out of Negro 

23   History Week, right, was really critical in the 

24   development of even where we find ourselves now.  

25   As we talk about Black Lives Matter, as we talk 


                                                               870

 1   about the emergence of organizations like the 

 2   NAACP and the Urban League, if you look at all of 

 3   the momentum that we saw develop out of the 

 4   murder of George Floyd, you don't get any of that 

 5   without African-Americans having a good sense of 

 6   themselves.  Right?  

 7                And Carter G. Woodson, in creating 

 8   this holiday, understood it to be a movement that 

 9   was internal.  When you read his works, 

10   particularly The Mis-Education of the Negro, he 

11   is not talking about schools, he's not talking 

12   about we got to get Black Studies programs into 

13   schools and we've got to talk about curriculums 

14   of inclusion.  He was saying that we, as people 

15   of African descent, have to know our history.  

16   And he had no expectation that the large dominant 

17   white society would in fact do that for us.

18                And so he was really clear that it 

19   was something that we had to do both on a macro 

20   level, in the context of understanding the heroes 

21   and sheroes of our community and of our diaspora, 

22   but then also understanding our own personal 

23   histories and where we actually come from as 

24   people of African descent.

25                Much of Black history has been 


                                                               871

 1   dominated by men.  Right?  You know, especially 

 2   here in America, in the context of a patriarchal 

 3   society.  But you have to understand that women 

 4   have always been side by side with men in what 

 5   they call a ma'atriarchal society.  Right?  

 6   Ma'atriachal, "Ma'at" referring to an ancient 

 7   Egyptian deity called Ma'at.  She was balance.  

 8   She's where you get the 42 Declarations of 

 9   Virtue.  But she is righteousness, rightfulness, 

10   truth, order, balance.  Right?  

11                She was symbolized zoomorphically, 

12   Senator, as an ostrich feather.  Why an ostrich 

13   feather?  Because on the -- what the Kemetic 

14   people knew, who you called the ancient 

15   Egyptians, what the Kemetic people knew is that 

16   on the body of an ostrich, it had exactly the 

17   same number of feathers on both sides of the 

18   ostrich:  Balance, order, rightfulness, 

19   reciprocity.  Each one of those feathers was the 

20   same height, same length, same width.  Balance, 

21   order, righteousness, rightfulness.

22                They say that -- the Kemetic people 

23   believed that when God created the universe and 

24   spoke his sacred name into nothingness, and he 

25   steps into the universe that is void at that 


                                                               872

 1   point, what exists is a square of Ma'at.  That 

 2   the entire -- for ancient Egyptians, that the 

 3   entire universe is predicated on this notion, on 

 4   this feminine notion of balance and order and 

 5   righteousness.  

 6                And you see a history of African 

 7   women who then rule under that same idea of 

 8   order, of balance, of righteousness, of 

 9   rightfulness, right -- of bringing good into the 

10   world, and let no good be lost.

11                And so we begin with Nefertiti and 

12   Cleopatra, right, with Hatshepsut, right, with 

13   the Candace queens and Nzinga.  Right?  With 

14   Yaa Asantewa.  And understanding that that 

15   history is absolutely connected to the history 

16   that you see here in America with people like 

17   Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth and Fannie Lou 

18   Hamer and Ella Baker.  Betty Shabazz.  Coretta 

19   Scott King.  Shirley Chisholm.  Constance Baker 

20   Motley.  And Velmanette Montgomery.  

21                There's a straight line in terms of 

22   the understanding of bringing truth and balance 

23   and order to this place.  

24                And you've heard my colleagues talk 

25   about her accolades -- Rockefeller drug law, 


                                                               873

 1   Raise the Age, juvenile justice reform.  I mean, 

 2   the work on just providing access for black women 

 3   in the political arena.  And some of that was not 

 4   even just things that she legislated.  Some of it 

 5   was just her being, that somebody that you 

 6   knew -- when I got elected here in 2002 and took 

 7   office in 2003, Senator Velmanette Montgomery was 

 8   already a legend, was already somebody that I had 

 9   known about and had followed their work, also 

10   being from Brooklyn, because she was directly 

11   connected to all of the important decisions that 

12   were being made in my life before that.  

13                And having an opportunity not just 

14   to serve with her in this body, but for a number 

15   of years to literally sit next to her, at the 

16   foot of the queen, has been the most important 

17   experience of my life here.

18                That I can't even begin to -- and 

19   you've heard a lot of people talk about their 

20   personal experiences.  I cannot begin to tell you 

21   how much I've learned by just watching her 

22   manner.  And you would learn -- you know that, 

23   Mike, by the way I behave.  I'm not saying that.  

24   But what I'm saying -- not because I didn't learn 

25   it --


                                                               874

 1                (Overtalk; laughter.)

 2                SENATOR PARKER:   I didn't say I 

 3   wasn't hardheaded, I just said I was taught it.  

 4                SENATOR GIANARIS:   You knew what 

 5   you were doing.

 6                (Laughter.)

 7                SENATOR PARKER:  But the notion, as 

 8   we reflect on the legacy of people like 

 9   John Lewis and we talk about "good trouble," you 

10   know, the person who brought good trouble here in 

11   the State of New York has always been Velmanette 

12   Montgomery.  Somebody who's always stood up and 

13   made sure that we understood what the right thing 

14   needed to be done, and made sure that the least 

15   of those in our communities were always being 

16   thought of.  

17                That at times that we weren't 

18   considering people who might be in prison and 

19   people who might have been in foster care and 

20   women who might have been sex-trafficked and 

21   young children who might be home alone -- in the 

22   moment that we were not paying attention to that, 

23   Velmanette Montgomery's eye was on the sparrow.  

24   And she made sure that she paid attention to the 

25   least of those in our community and admonished us 


                                                               875

 1   for not doing the same and always directed us 

 2   gently onto the right path.  

 3                And so I'm here just to say 

 4   congratulations for running a good race, for a 

 5   job well done.  Thanking for you for not just 

 6   what you've poured into me, but what you've 

 7   poured into this chamber on both sides of the 

 8   aisle -- man and woman, black, Latino, Asian, 

 9   Jewish, Christian, all of us have benefited from 

10   being in your presence and from the things that 

11   you've taught us.  Thank you so much.  

12                And just wishing you nothing but joy 

13   and happiness on your travels going forward.  And 

14   we hope that you will not forget about us and 

15   that you will continue to pour into us as you go 

16   on to do even more great things now that your 

17   time has been freed up.  

18                God bless you, Velmanette 

19   Montgomery.

20                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

21   Jackson on the resolution.

22                SENATOR JACKSON:   Thank you, 

23   Madam President.

24                So I rise this afternoon in order to 

25   support the resolution put forward by our 


                                                               876

 1   Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.  

 2                And Velmanette Montgomery, my 

 3   sister, let me thank you for your service.  And I 

 4   didn't know how long you served until I heard it 

 5   today, 35 years in the New York State Senate.  

 6   And when I only came here in January of 2019, 

 7   which was just two years ago -- as Kevin Parker, 

 8   my colleague, said, you were here when he came in 

 9   in 2003, and you were probably here when probably 

10   98 percent of the people were not here.  

11                And then I thought about the fact 

12   that you served so long in this body, basically 

13   in the minority -- in both the minority and 

14   majority we know what it takes in order to move 

15   items.  Especially when you're in the minority, 

16   it's pretty tough.  But you were here in 2019 

17   when Andrea Stewart-Cousins became the Majority 

18   Leader.  And so now you've reached the top of the 

19   hill, and now you said:  I've done my job, it's 

20   time for me to move on.  

21                But I say to you, I am just 

22   fortunate enough to be able to serve with you for 

23   a term of office.  And so I thank you for your 

24   service.

25                Now I'd just like to read a little 


                                                               877

 1   bit.  At this opportunity and moment celebrating 

 2   Black History Month, with Women's History 

 3   Month -- ur, ur, ur {gesturing; making engine 

 4   noise} right around the corner --

 5                (Laughter.)

 6                SENATOR JACKSON:   -- Leader Andrea 

 7   Stewart-Cousins introduced this resolution 

 8   honoring you as the first-ever recipient of the 

 9   Senate Majority Leader's Legislative Legacy 

10   Award.  And let me tell you, that's the best 

11   thing that I say, that you're the first, never 

12   the last.  

13                And it was an honor to serve with 

14   you in the State Senate.  And you are a 

15   powerhouse in the Legislature, and I value the 

16   time I was able to legislate alongside you during 

17   your 35 years of service to the people not only 

18   of your district, but the entire State of New 

19   York and beyond.

20                And you were the champion of many 

21   issues.  In many of them your involvement was 

22   with youth and very positive causes in order to 

23   help people uplift themselves.  And I asked my 

24   legislative director to please -- what are some 

25   of the bills that we have that you were carrying.  


                                                               878

 1   Expanding the Empire State Child Credit for 

 2   children under the age of five.  Civic education 

 3   for students in Grades 5 through 12.  TAP, 

 4   Tuition Assistance Program Awards for 

 5   incarcerated persons.  And reorganizing mayoral 

 6   control in New York City.  

 7                And that's just five.  But you 

 8   probably introduced hundreds of them in your 

 9   tenure.  And they're all for the good of the 

10   people of our state and your district and the 

11   City of New York.

12                So Velmanette, thank you for your 

13   service.  The most important thing, stay healthy.  

14   Enjoy yourself, enjoy your family.  And in Arabic 

15   I say "As-Salamu Alaikum," peace be upon you and 

16   your family.  God bless you.  

17                Thank you, Madam President.

18                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:    

19   Resolution 317 was previously adopted on 

20   February 2nd.  

21                The question is on Resolution 400.  

22   All those in favor signify by saying aye.

23                (Response of "Aye.")

24                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Opposed, 

25   nay.


                                                               879

 1                (No response.)

 2                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

 3   resolution is adopted.

 4                Senator Montgomery, on behalf of the 

 5   Senate, congratulations on receiving the 

 6   first-ever Senate Majority Leader's Legislative 

 7   Legacy Award.  

 8                Senators, let us rise and recognize 

 9   Senator Montgomery.  

10                (Extended standing ovation.)

11                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

12   Gianaris.  

13                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Thank you, 

14   Madam President.  

15                Let me once again let 

16   Senator Montgomery know how wonderful it was to 

17   see her back in the Senate chamber today.

18                At the request of the sponsors of 

19   all the resolutions we took up today, they are 

20   now open for cosponsorship.

21                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

22   resolutions are open for cosponsorship.  Should 

23   you choose not to be a cosponsor of a resolution, 

24   please notify the desk.

25                Senator Gianaris.  


                                                               880

 1                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Let us now take 

 2   up the calendar, please.

 3                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

 4   Secretary will read.

 5                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

 6   103, Senate Print 192, by Senator Thomas, an act 

 7   to amend the General Business Law.

 8                SENATOR LANZA:   Lay it aside.

 9                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Lay it 

10   aside.

11                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

12   115, Senate Print 931A, by Senator Kaplan, an act 

13   to amend the Public Service Law and the Public 

14   Authorities Law.

15                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

16   last section.

17                THE SECRETARY:   Section 3.  This 

18   act shall take effect immediately.

19                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

20   roll.

21                (The Secretary called the roll.)

22                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Announce 

23   the results.  

24                THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 63.

25                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 


                                                               881

 1   is passed.

 2                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

 3   116, Senate Print 1453A, by Senator Parker, an 

 4   act to amend the Public Service Law.

 5                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

 6   last section.

 7                THE SECRETARY:   Section 6.  This 

 8   act shall take effect immediately.

 9                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

10   roll.

11                (The Secretary called the roll.)

12                SENATOR LANZA:   Lay it aside.

13                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Lay it 

14   aside.

15                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

16   117, Senate Print 1556, by Senator Parker, an act 

17   to amend the Public Service Law.

18                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Lay it aside for 

19   the day.

20                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

21   will be laid aside for the day.

22                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

23   246, Senate Print 544, by Senator Kaminsky, an 

24   act to amend the Public Service Law and the 

25   Education Law.


                                                               882

 1                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

 2   last section.

 3                THE SECRETARY:   Section 4.  This 

 4   act shall take effect 18 months after it shall 

 5   have become a law.

 6                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

 7   roll.

 8                (The Secretary called the roll.)

 9                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Announce 

10   the results.

11                THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 63.

12                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

13   is passed.

14                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

15   248, Senate Print 929B, by Senator Kaplan, an act 

16   to amend the Public Service Law and the 

17   Public Authorities Law.

18                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

19   last section.

20                THE SECRETARY:   Section 3.  This 

21   act shall take effect immediately.

22                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

23   roll.

24                (The Secretary called the roll.)

25                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:    


                                                               883

 1   Senator Kaplan to explain her vote.

 2                SENATOR KAPLAN:   Thank you, 

 3   Madam President.  

 4                I also have to mention it was really 

 5   wonderful to see Senator Montgomery here and for 

 6   us to recognize all her hard work throughout the 

 7   years that she has been part of this chamber.

 8                With that, I'd like to take this 

 9   time and thank our Majority Leader, Andrea 

10   Stewart-Cousins, and my Senate colleagues for 

11   prioritizing the issue of utility reforms and for 

12   working together hard to hold these hearings and 

13   to introduce this great package of legislation 

14   that we are passing today.  

15                PSEG Long Island and Altice put 

16   Long Islanders through hell this past August when 

17   they completely failed in their response to 

18   Tropical Storm Isaias.  Thousands of my 

19   constituents were plunged into darkness and 

20   uncertainty for days and weeks, threatening the 

21   health and safety of them for far too many days 

22   and literally endangering the lives of those with 

23   serious medical conditions.  

24                It is clear that these utilities 

25   need stricter guardrails and consumer protections 


                                                               884

 1   in place to ensure we don't go through a 

 2   situation like that ever again and to ensure that 

 3   our residents don't have to fear for their lives 

 4   or their livelihoods just because there is a 

 5   tropical storm in the forecast.

 6                The package of legislation we are 

 7   passing today, which includes two bills I'm proud 

 8   to sponsor, is the beginning of our effort to 

 9   protect vulnerable New Yorkers and to ensure our 

10   utilities are prepared for the next storm like 

11   that.

12                There are still big conversations to 

13   be had on this topic, and more must be done.  But 

14   I'm proud that we are taking these important 

15   actions today, and I cast my vote affirmatively.

16                Thank you, Madam President.

17                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:    

18   Senator Kaplan to be recorded in the affirmative.

19                Announce the results.

20                THE SECRETARY:   In relation to 

21   Calendar 248, voting in the negative:  Senator 

22   Oberacker.  

23                Ayes, 62.  Nays, 1.

24                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

25   is passed.


                                                               885

 1                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

 2   249, Senate Print 968, by Senator Gaughran, an 

 3   act to amend the Public Authorities Law.

 4                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

 5   last section.

 6                THE SECRETARY:   Section 3.  This 

 7   act shall take effect immediately.

 8                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

 9   roll.

10                (The Secretary called the roll.)

11                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

12   Gaughran to explain his vote.

13                SENATOR GAUGHRAN:   Thank you, 

14   Madam President.

15                And I too would just like to say 

16   what an honor it was, even though it was only one 

17   two-year term, to get to serve with 

18   Senator Montgomery and the legacy that she has 

19   left in this chamber.  And she would always be 

20   fighting for the people, and that's what we are 

21   doing today.

22                This August, Tropical Storm Isaias 

23   laid bare the extent of the Long Island Power 

24   Authority's failure to provide oversight over 

25   PSEG.  In a modern society there is no reason why 


                                                               886

 1   a 93-year-old woman who relies on oxygen to live, 

 2   who is on PSEG's critical care list, should be 

 3   told by PSEG to go call a friend or 911, there is 

 4   nothing we can do for you.  So I ask, where was 

 5   LIPA during this crisis?

 6                I could go on and talk about all the 

 7   horror stories that many of us witnessed 

 8   firsthand.  A constituent of mine, nine months 

 9   pregnant, who with complications having to sleep 

10   in the backyard on lawn furniture after eight 

11   days of calling and not getting any help.  

12                Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where 

13   they were doing millions of dollars of research 

14   dealing with COVID-19, not being told the truth 

15   and all the failures there.

16                A sewage treatment plant that 

17   fortunately the generator didn't give up -- give 

18   out, and we didn't have an environmental 

19   disasters in the Long Island Sound.  I can go on 

20   and on.  

21                But it is important that today we 

22   are taking these steps so that finally we are 

23   making sure that both LIPA and PSEG have the 

24   proper oversight.  This sweeping legislation will 

25   make sure that there will be transparency and 


                                                               887

 1   there will finally be the ability for 

 2   Long Islanders, when their power goes out, to 

 3   have some sort of recourse so that hopefully we 

 4   never have to face these nightmares in the 

 5   future.

 6                Madam President, I vote in the 

 7   affirmative.  Thank you.

 8                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

 9   Gaughran to be recorded in the affirmative.

10                Announce the results.

11                THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 63.

12                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

13   is passed.

14                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

15   250, Senate Print 1199, by Senator Gianaris, an 

16   act to amend the Public Service Law.

17                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

18   last section.

19                THE SECRETARY:   Section 2.  This 

20   act shall take effect on the 30th day after it 

21   shall have become a law.

22                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

23   roll.

24                (The Secretary called the roll.)

25                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Announce 


                                                               888

 1   the results.

 2                THE SECRETARY:   In relation to 

 3   Calendar Number 250, those Senators voting in the 

 4   negative are Senators Borrello, Boyle, Griffo, 

 5   Jordan, Martucci, Mattera, Oberacker, O'Mara, 

 6   Ortt, Rath, Ritchie, Stec and Weik.  

 7                Ayes, 50.  Nays, 13.

 8                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

 9   is passed.

10                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

11   254, Senate Print 1544A, by Senator Kaminsky, an 

12   act to amend the Public Service Law and the 

13   Public Authorities Law.

14                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

15   last section.

16                THE SECRETARY:   Section 3.  This 

17   act shall take effect immediately.

18                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

19   roll.

20                (The Secretary called the roll.)

21                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:    

22   Senator Kaminsky to explain his vote.

23                SENATOR KAMINSKY:   Thank you very 

24   much, Madam President.  

25                As we look across the country and 


                                                               889

 1   see what's happening in Texas right now, we 

 2   understand the importance of having utilities 

 3   that are held accountable and in which we have 

 4   proper regulations in place.  

 5                And this August, after 

 6   Tropical Storm Isaias ravaged Long Island, too 

 7   many people were left in the dark, both literally 

 8   and figuratively, without answers as to what was 

 9   going on.  

10                And in the aftermath, when 

11   questioning their executives about what went 

12   wrong, they had the temerity to tell us that 

13   their salaries were secret and we were not 

14   entitled to know what they are, even though 

15   they're funded by the very ratepayers that they 

16   let down.

17                And, by the way, this was in the 

18   context of a conversation of determining whether 

19   they were going to set some funds aside to help 

20   reimburse ratepayers for spoiled food and other 

21   necessities like medicine.  The answer we got was 

22   "None of your business."

23                Well, today we vote to make it our 

24   business.  This vote will mean that utility 

25   executives for both water companies and electric 


                                                               890

 1   companies and other big utilities have to 

 2   disclose each year how much their top executives 

 3   make.  They're funded by the ratepayers.  We're 

 4   entitled to know.  Transparency matters when it 

 5   comes to holding utilities accountable, and this 

 6   is one such important step today.  

 7                I'd like to thank the Majority 

 8   Leader for her dedication and attention to these 

 9   critical issues on utility reform for residents, 

10   and I vote in the affirmative.

11                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:    

12   Senator Kaminsky to be recorded in the 

13   affirmative.

14                Announce the results.

15                THE SECRETARY:   In relation to 

16   Calendar 254, those Senators voting in the 

17   negative are Senators Akshar, Borrello, Gallivan, 

18   Griffo, Helming, Jordan, Martucci, Oberacker, 

19   O'Mara, Ortt, Rath and Stec.

20                Ayes, 51.  Nays, 12.

21                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

22   is passed.

23                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

24   331, Senate Print 3085, by Senator 

25   Stewart-Cousins, an act to amend the 


                                                               891

 1   Real Property Tax Law.

 2                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

 3   last section.

 4                THE SECRETARY:   Section 3.  This 

 5   act shall take effect immediately.

 6                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

 7   roll.

 8                (The Secretary called the roll.)

 9                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Announce 

10   the results.

11                THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 63.

12                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

13   is passed.

14                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

15   342, Senate Print 3083, by Senator Salazar, an 

16   act to establish an LGBT Youth and Young Adult 

17   Suicide Prevention Task Force.

18                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

19   last section.

20                THE SECRETARY:   Section 2.  This 

21   act shall take effect on the 60th day after it 

22   shall have become a law.

23                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

24   roll.

25                (The Secretary called the roll.)


                                                               892

 1                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

 2   Jackson to explain his vote.

 3                SENATOR JACKSON:   Thank you, 

 4   Madam President.  

 5                My colleagues, I rise in order to 

 6   speak in support of Senate Bill 3408, along with 

 7   another bill that's coming up, S3083, by Senator 

 8   Salazar, and Senate Bill 3408, by Senator Brouk, 

 9   of Rochester.

10                And so I rise to explain for this 

11   bill and its companions, from the moment the 

12   pandemic arrived, every crack in the nation's 

13   foundation was exposed and deepened.  But when it 

14   comes to suicide prevention, the system was 

15   already failing.  Suicides among young adults 

16   were already skyrocketing before the pandemic 

17   started.  

18                Now many experts fear that the 

19   situation is only going to get worse.  And in 

20   fact I heard on the news just two days ago that 

21   in the number of students in the New York City 

22   school system, five children committed suicide.  

23   In all of last year, the entire school year, 

24   there was four.  So we've already surpassed that 

25   from last year.


                                                               893

 1                But since the coronavirus arrived, 

 2   depression and anxiety across our state and the 

 3   world has become rampant.  And according to the 

 4   CDC, one in four young adults have struggled with 

 5   suicidal thoughts since the coronavirus hit.  

 6   Even more alarming, suicide rates for Black 

 7   children have doubled.  

 8                And we need to know why our Black 

 9   youth are falling victim to high suicide rates.  

10   Is it driven by the pandemic, racial unrest, 

11   stressful relationships at home, or all or a 

12   combination of these?  The one sure answer is we 

13   need to do something about it.  And as Senator 

14   Brouk's bill does, that's what we need to do.  

15                Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are 

16   facing similar spikes and were already five time 

17   more likely to have attempted suicide than 

18   non-LGBTQ youth before the pandemic.  And we want 

19   young LGBTQ people to know they are not alone, 

20   and that the adults in their lives need to know 

21   when and how to support them best.  And that is 

22   why Senator Salazar's legislation is so 

23   important.

24                Suicide prevention is a personal 

25   thing for me on many levels.  During my days at 


                                                               894

 1   the City Council, I worked hard to ensure that 

 2   the suicide hotline would not be eliminated 

 3   during the budget negotiations with then-Mayor 

 4   Bloomberg.  Many families have depended on this 

 5   service for their loved one's survival -- not 

 6   only them, but my own family included.  

 7                And as our young people fight 

 8   through a toxic mix of isolation and economic 

 9   devastation which could further increase this 

10   wave of suicides, we must take action.

11                So today I stand in proud support of 

12   Senator Brouk's and Senator Salazar's bills, with 

13   gratitude for their championing of this issue, 

14   and I vote aye to save lives.

15                Thank you, Madam President.

16                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

17   Jackson to be recorded in the affirmative.

18                Announce the results.

19                THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 63.

20                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

21   is passed.

22                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

23   343, Senate Print 3408, by Senator Brouk, an act 

24   to establish a Black Youth Suicide Prevention 

25   Task Force.


                                                               895

 1                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

 2   last section.

 3                THE SECRETARY:   Section 2.  This 

 4   act shall take effect on the 60th day after it 

 5   shall have become a law.

 6                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

 7   roll.

 8                (The Secretary called the roll.)

 9                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Announce 

10   the results.

11                THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 63.

12                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

13   is passed.

14                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

15   344, Senate Print 3409, by Senator Brouk, an act 

16   to amend the Mental Hygiene Law.

17                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

18   last section.

19                THE SECRETARY:   Section 3.  This 

20   act shall take effect immediately.

21                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

22   roll.

23                (The Secretary called the roll.)

24                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Announce 

25   the results.


                                                               896

 1                THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 63.

 2                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

 3   is passed.

 4                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

 5   345, Senate Print 3476, by Senator Parker, an act 

 6   to amend the Mental Hygiene Law.

 7                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

 8   last section.

 9                THE SECRETARY:   Section 2.  This 

10   act shall take effect on the 90th day after it 

11   shall have become a law.

12                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

13   roll.

14                (The Secretary called the roll.)

15                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

16   Parker to explain his vote.

17                SENATOR PARKER:   Thank you very 

18   much, Madam President.  

19                I rise today to add my voice to my 

20   colleagues who are talking about the issue of 

21   mental health.  

22                And during this pandemic where 

23   people are fighting for both their lives and 

24   their livelihoods, the thing that's gotten caught 

25   in the middle of that is people's mental health.  


                                                               897

 1   People have been stuck at home, some of them for 

 2   almost a year.  People have been torn away from 

 3   their jobs, from their loved ones, from their 

 4   schools, from their familial groups.  We have, in 

 5   our stay-at-home orders, have inadvertently stuck 

 6   people who are being abused in with their 

 7   abusers.  

 8                So it's important that we start 

 9   paying more attention to this.  And what my bill 

10   does today is creates a mechanism to make sure 

11   that as we're providing this mental health help, 

12   that we give it the same kind of priority within 

13   the context of insurance and economic support as 

14   we do physical health, that we need to do both.  

15                And in this moment, mental health is 

16   critically important.  You know, there's a number 

17   of colleagues who have bills today -- Senator 

18   Salazar's bill on LGBTQ support, you know, 

19   Senator Brouk's legislation on African-American 

20   young people and suicide rates.  All of these 

21   things are important.  

22                I'm happy to stand up in support of 

23   all this legislation, and I vote aye on my bill.

24                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:    

25   Senator Parker to be recorded in the affirmative.


                                                               898

 1                Announce the results.

 2                THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 63.

 3                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

 4   is passed.

 5                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

 6   369, Senate Print 3784A, by Senator Comrie, an 

 7   act to amend the Public Service Law.

 8                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

 9   last section.

10                THE SECRETARY:   Section 2.  This 

11   act shall take effect on the 120th day after it 

12   shall have become a law.

13                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

14   roll.

15                (The Secretary called the roll.)

16                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

17   Reichlin-Melnick to explain his vote.

18                SENATOR REICHLIN-MELNICK:   Thank 

19   you, Madam President.  

20                I just rise to support this bill 

21   very strongly.  This is a great piece of 

22   legislation because last summer the residents of 

23   my district and all over the state were hit hard 

24   by Tropical Storm Isaias.  And this is something 

25   which would help, because there were people who 


                                                               899

 1   were without power for days, tens of thousands of 

 2   people in my district and all over our state.  

 3                This bill would require that utility 

 4   companies, if they can't get the power back on, 

 5   reimburse people for their spoiled food, for 

 6   their prescription medicines, reimburse a small 

 7   business that has to throw out thousands of 

 8   dollars worth of meat, of produce, of food from 

 9   ordinary refrigerators.  

10                And I think it's long past time we 

11   passed this bill.  I'm proud to be a cosponsor, 

12   and I think it's common sense that we make sure 

13   that people are made whole after these natural 

14   disasters.  So I'm voting in support of the bill, 

15   and thanks for it coming up.

16                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

17   Reichlin-Melnick to be recorded in the 

18   affirmative.

19                Announce the results.

20                THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 63.

21                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

22   is passed.

23                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

24   373, Senate Print 4960, by Senator Mayer, an act 

25   to amend the Public Service Law.


                                                               900

 1                SENATOR LANZA:   Lay it aside.

 2                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Lay it 

 3   aside.

 4                Senator Gianaris, that completes the 

 5   reading of today's calendar.

 6                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Thank you, 

 7   Madam President.  

 8                Now we will take up the 

 9   controversial calendar, starting with 

10   Calendar 116.

11                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

12   Secretary will ring the bell.  

13                The Secretary will read.

14                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

15   116, Senate Print 1453A, by Senator Parker, an 

16   act to amend the Public Service Law.

17                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

18   Lanza, why do you rise?

19                SENATOR LANZA:   Madam President, I 

20   believe there's an amendment at the desk.  I 

21   waive the reading of that amount and ask that you 

22   recognize Senator Boyle to be heard.

23                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Thank 

24   you, Senator Lanza.  Upon review of the 

25   amendment,in accordance with Rule 6, Section 4B, 


                                                               901

 1   I rule it nongermane and out of order at this 

 2   time.

 3                SENATOR LANZA:   Accordingly, 

 4   Madam President, I appeal the ruling of the chair 

 5   and ask that Senator Boyle be recognized.

 6                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

 7   appeal has been made and recognized, and Senator 

 8   Boyle may be heard.

 9                SENATOR BOYLE:   Thank you, Madam 

10   President, for the opportunity to speak on this 

11   amendment.  

12                I would argue that this amendment is 

13   in fact germane.  The bill-in-chief extends a 

14   moratorium on utility termination of services 

15   after the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted 

16   and expires.  Since the start of pandemic, the 

17   Governor has issued numerous executive orders 

18   related to the moratorium and suspensions of both 

19   services and of laws.

20                It is time for the Legislature to 

21   get back to doing the people's work.  This 

22   bill-in-chief and this hostile amendment both 

23   would aim to do just that.

24                This is now the 16th time since May 

25   that my colleagues and I have put forward an 


                                                               902

 1   amendment in this house to remove the Governor's 

 2   emergency powers and restore the Legislature as a 

 3   coequal branch of government.

 4                Each time our colleagues across the 

 5   aisle have voted against this amendment, despite 

 6   the fact that we all know that many of the 

 7   colleagues in the Majority share our feelings.  

 8   In fact, the amendment we are moving today was 

 9   introduced just last week as a bill by one of 

10   your colleagues in the Majority.  It is very 

11   similar to the bill that was introduced by 

12   Senator Helming last summer.  

13                Let me be clear:  This is not a 

14   partisan or political issue.  This is an issue of 

15   doing what's right for the people of this state, 

16   the people who elected us to serve them.

17                Given recent reports of the 

18   Governor's office's purposeful withholding of 

19   data from the Legislature and the public, this 

20   should have been our first order of business when 

21   we returned to session.  We should not be forced 

22   to continue to put forward this amendment when 

23   there is clear support on both sides of the 

24   aisle.  And we know this would be just the first 

25   step.


                                                               903

 1                The powers that we gave the Governor 

 2   on an emergency basis were done on a bipartisan 

 3   basis.  The vote I have here, it passed 53 to 4.  

 4   Republicans and Democrats both supported giving 

 5   the President -- giving the Governor emergency 

 6   powers.  We can take them back on a bipartisan 

 7   basis.

 8                Let me put this another way that 

 9   some of my colleagues on the other side of the 

10   aisle may appreciate.  There's going to be a 

11   documentary made about this -- I don't know if 

12   it's going to be on HBO or HBO Max or Netflix, 

13   but there's going to be a documentary made.  And 

14   just like every powerful and impactful 

15   documentary, there's going to be a victim.  

16   There's going to be victims, 15,000-plus New 

17   Yorkers who died in nursing homes and their 

18   families and their grieving friends.  There's 

19   also going to be villains.  I think the villains 

20   probably are going to be the Governor, I think 

21   the villain is going to be Melissa DeRosa.  

22                How do you write that?  Her father 

23   was a big lobbyist for the very hospitals that 

24   benefited from some of these executive orders.  I 

25   read recently that her mother-in-law is the 


                                                               904

 1   U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of 

 2   New York.  This is a documentary in the making.  

 3                Probably the health commissioner, 

 4   Howard Zucker.  

 5                This documentary is going to have 

 6   heroes.  I believe the first hero is going to be 

 7   Assemblyman Ron Kim for standing up and speaking, 

 8   as we all know, truth to power.  The advocates 

 9   who have asked for responsibility and openness, 

10   transparency, they're going to be true heroes.  

11   The nine workers of the New York State Department 

12   of Health who resigned based on principle, 

13   because their expertise was being ignored by the 

14   Governor and his staff, they will be heroes.

15                The Republicans, both the Assembly 

16   and the Senate, we're not going to be heroes, but 

17   we'll be on the side of the angels.  

18                The only role in this documentary 

19   that's up -- is a question is where the Senate 

20   Majority is going to be.  Where are the Democrats 

21   going to be in this documentary, are they going 

22   to be on the side of the angels or the other 

23   side?  

24                That being said, Madam President, I 

25   appeal the ruling of the chair and I ask the 


                                                               905

 1   amendment be ruled germane.  Thank you.

 2                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Thank 

 3   you, Senator.

 4                I want to remind the house that the 

 5   vote is on the procedures of the house and the 

 6   ruling of the chair.

 7                Those in favor of overruling the 

 8   chair signify by saying aye.

 9                SENATOR LANZA:   Request a show of 

10   hands.

11                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Madam President, 

12   we've agreed to waive the showing of hands and 

13   record each member of the Minority in the 

14   affirmative.

15                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Without 

16   objection, so ordered.

17                Announce the results.

18                THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 20.

19                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

20   ruling of the chair stands, and the bill-in-chief 

21   is before the house.  

22                Are there any other Senators wishing 

23   to be heard?  

24                Seeing and hearing none, debate is 

25   closed.  The Secretary will ring the bell.


                                                               906

 1                Read the last section.

 2                THE SECRETARY:   Section 6.  This 

 3   act shall take effect immediately.

 4                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

 5   roll.

 6                (The Secretary called the roll.)

 7                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Announce 

 8   the results.

 9                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

10   Parker to explain his vote.

11                SENATOR PARKER:   Thank you, 

12   Madam President, to explain my vote.

13                This legislation is an extender of a 

14   utility moratorium.  We passed the original 

15   version of this bill back in June, really as we 

16   really began the beginning of our journey with 

17   this pandemic.  We had people obviously who had 

18   lost their jobs, not being able to pay their 

19   rent, not being able to pay their property taxes 

20   or their mortgages, and of course not being able 

21   to pay their utilities.  

22                We're hoping to get to a place where 

23   we'll be able to address these arrears, but it 

24   was important that in this moment the State of 

25   New York recognized that people weren't able to 


                                                               907

 1   pay their bills because of no fault of their own, 

 2   but because of the pandemic.  And we're 

 3   addressing that issue right now.  

 4                This legislation actually has become 

 5   a national model, and I'm proud to have had an 

 6   opportunity to work with the advocates, to 

 7   sponsor it, and I'm hoping that my colleagues 

 8   will vote aye.

 9                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:    

10   Senator Parker to be recorded in the affirmative.

11                Announce the results.

12                THE SECRETARY:   In relation to 

13   Calendar 116, those Senators voting in the 

14   negative are Senators Lanza, Oberacker, Ortt and 

15   Stec.

16                Ayes, 59.  Nays, 4.

17                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

18   is passed.

19                The Secretary will read.

20                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

21   103, Senate Print 192, by Senator Thomas, an act 

22   to amend the General Business Law.  

23                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

24   Martucci.  

25                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   Thank you, 


                                                               908

 1   Madam President.  Through you, will the sponsor 

 2   yield for a question?  

 3                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Will the 

 4   sponsor yield?  

 5                SENATOR THOMAS:   Yes.

 6                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

 7   sponsor will yield.

 8                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   Thank you, Madam 

 9   President.  

10                In reviewing this piece of 

11   legislation, which is designed to extend 

12   Lemon Law protections to commercial vehicles, 

13   commercial vehicle sales, is the sponsor aware of 

14   the two-step manufacturing process that's 

15   inherent in commercial vehicle manufacture?

16                SENATOR THOMAS:   Through you, 

17   Madam President, I do not.

18                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   Madam President, 

19   will the sponsor continue to yield.

20                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Will the 

21   sponsor yield?

22                SENATOR THOMAS:   Yes.

23                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

24   sponsor yields.  

25                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   So to provide a 


                                                               909

 1   little bit of background, I guess, to my 

 2   question, typically with respect to commercial 

 3   vehicles, the manufacturing process is a 

 4   multistage process whereby one manufacturer 

 5   manufactures the chassis portion of the vehicle 

 6   and another manufacturer manufactures significant 

 7   other portions of the vehicle.  

 8                So for example, an ambulance, which 

 9   is typically produced on either a Ford or a 

10   General Motors chassis, will then have a body 

11   mounted on it by an ambulance company, and then 

12   another manufacturer will mount things like 

13   lights and sirens.  

14                So in the production of that 

15   vehicle, there are multiple manufacturers that 

16   are producing the vehicle.  That's what I mean by 

17   a multi-manufacturer process.  

18                So my question is, was that 

19   consideration paid in the crafting of this 

20   legislation?  

21                SENATOR THOMAS:   Through you, 

22   Madam President, I don't seem to understand what 

23   this has to do with the bill.  

24                The bill is talking about protecting 

25   consumers and extending warranties if there is a 


                                                               910

 1   manufacturing defect.  Regardless of whether they 

 2   manufacture it with a two-step or five-step 

 3   process, there's obviously still going to be a 

 4   manufacturing defect somewhere around there, and 

 5   this is protecting against it.

 6                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   Madam President, 

 7   will the sponsor continue to yield?  

 8                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Will the 

 9   sponsor yield?

10                SENATOR THOMAS:   Yes.

11                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

12   sponsor yields.

13                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   Thank you.  

14                So my question then would be the way 

15   that the bill is written, in the case where there 

16   are multiple manufacturers of a vehicle, which 

17   manufacturer would be responsible for warrantying 

18   the defect?

19                SENATOR THOMAS:   So through you, 

20   Madam President, anyone -- any manufacturer that 

21   has something to do with the defect will be held 

22   responsible in repairing that defect.

23                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   Madam President, 

24   will the sponsor continue to yield.

25                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Will the 


                                                               911

 1   sponsor yield?

 2                SENATOR THOMAS:   Yes.

 3                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

 4   sponsor yields.

 5                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   Would this 

 6   consumer -- as outlined in the bill, would the 

 7   word "consumer," as defined in the bill, apply to 

 8   large corporate commercial entities like, for 

 9   example, rental car companies or taxi fleet 

10   companies?  

11                SENATOR THOMAS:   Through you, 

12   Madam President.  That's why specifically in the 

13   bill "consumer" was replaced with "purchaser," to 

14   actually fix that issue with the definition.

15                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   Madam President, 

16   will the sponsor continue to yield.

17                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Will the 

18   sponsor yield?

19                SENATOR THOMAS:   Yes, Madam 

20   President.

21                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

22   sponsor yields.

23                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   Thank you.  

24                Since there are very few vehicles 

25   that are actually produced right here in New York 


                                                               912

 1   State, how would this bill apply to vehicles that 

 2   are produced outside of New York State?  

 3                SENATOR THOMAS:   Through you, 

 4   Madam President, there is the federal warranty 

 5   law, which is I believe called the Magnuson-Moss 

 6   Warranty Act, that will cover this if it's 

 7   outside of the State of New York.

 8                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   Thank you, 

 9   Madam President.  Through you, will the sponsor 

10   continue to yield?  

11                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Will the 

12   sponsor yield?

13                SENATOR THOMAS:   Yes.

14                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

15   sponsor yields.

16                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   In the 

17   legislation are there any exclusions made 

18   specifically for overweight vehicles.

19                SENATOR THOMAS:   Through you, 

20   Madam President, right now, no, there isn't.

21                But again, no amendments were sent 

22   to my office to consider any of this.

23                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   Madam President, 

24   will the sponsor continue to yield, through you.

25                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Will the 


                                                               913

 1   sponsor yield?

 2                SENATOR THOMAS:   Yes.

 3                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

 4   sponsor yields.

 5                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   The same sort of 

 6   question, were there any axle restrictions as 

 7   outlined in the bill?

 8                SENATOR THOMAS:   Through you, 

 9   Madam President, no.  

10                And again, no amendments were sent 

11   to my office to address that issue.

12                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   Thank you.  

13   Madam President, on the bill.

14                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

15   Martucci on the bill.

16                SENATOR MARTUCCI:   First, thank you 

17   to my colleague Senator Thomas for answering my 

18   questions today.  

19                On the surface, this bill makes 

20   sense.  Why shouldn't we apply a Lemon Law 

21   protection to commercial purchases and leases, 

22   just in the same way we do for any typical 

23   consumer?  

24                The problem is that the bill shows a 

25   lack of understanding with respect to the 


                                                               914

 1   commercial industry as it relates to these types 

 2   of purchases.  As someone who owns a bus company, 

 3   I can tell you firsthand that vehicles that are 

 4   produced by multiple manufacturers are not 

 5   warrantyable like a single-stage manufactured 

 6   vehicle.  

 7                This bill will create confusion as 

 8   to which manufacturer is responsible for the 

 9   warranty protections.  And in addition, 

10   commercial vehicles already have commercial 

11   warranty protections on them.  This is true of a 

12   bus or a truck or an ambulance or really any 

13   vehicle that's produced or purchased here in this 

14   state.  

15                It's also true for rental car 

16   companies like Enterprise and Avis.  They simply 

17   don't need this bill.  And from what I've read, 

18   they don't want this bill either.  

19                Only in Albany would the Legislature 

20   look to substitute its opinion for the collective 

21   wisdom of an industry, and groups like the 

22   Business Council oppose this bill.  It doesn't 

23   make sense, and it shouldn't be here for a vote 

24   on the floor.  

25                And for those reasons, I believe 


                                                               915

 1   it's a bad bill, it creates more problems than it 

 2   solves, and I'm going to be recorded in the 

 3   negative.  

 4                Thank you, Madam President.

 5                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Are 

 6   there any other Senators wishing to be heard?

 7                Seeing and hearing none, debate is 

 8   closed.  The Secretary will ring the bell.

 9                Read the last section.

10                THE SECRETARY:   Section 25.  This 

11   act shall take effect immediately.

12                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

13   roll.

14                (The Secretary called the roll.)

15                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

16   Thomas to explain his vote.

17                SENATOR THOMAS:   Thank you, 

18   Madam President.

19                This is a very important bill before 

20   us today.  Like I mentioned moments ago during 

21   the debate, you know, our businesses are 

22   suffering, they're vulnerable to bad actors, and 

23   added protection is needed.  Currently New York 

24   State Lemon Law only protects consumers 

25   purchasing a vehicle for personal needs from 


                                                               916

 1   deceitful selling practices and faulty 

 2   manufacturing.  

 3                This bill changes that and allows 

 4   vehicles that are used primarily for commercial 

 5   or business purposes to be covered, including 

 6   those purchased by small businesses.  Businesses 

 7   are not exempt from being victims of predatory 

 8   sellers, nor are the vehicles they purchase 

 9   immune to possible flaws in the manufacturing 

10   process.  

11                More than half of all states already 

12   include vehicles purchased for commercial 

13   purposes in the Lemon Law statutes.  We will join 

14   them when this is signed into law.  

15                I vote in the affirmative, 

16   Madam President.  Thank you.  

17                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

18   Thomas to be recorded in the affirmative.

19                Announce the results.

20                THE SECRETARY:   In relation to 

21   Calendar 103, those Senators voting in the 

22   negative are Senators Akshar, Borrello, Boyle, 

23   Gallivan, Griffo, Helming, Jordan, Lanza, 

24   Martucci, Mattera, Oberacker, O'Mara, Ortt, 

25   Palumbo, Rath, Ritchie, Serino, Stec, Tedisco and 


                                                               917

 1   Weik.

 2                Ayes, 43.  Nays, 20.

 3                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

 4   is passed.

 5                The Secretary will read.

 6                THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

 7   373, Senate Print 4960, by Senator Mayer, an act 

 8   to amend the Public Service Law.

 9                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

10   Borrello.

11                SENATOR BORRELLO:   Yes, 

12   Madam President, will the sponsor yield for a 

13   question.

14                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Will the 

15   sponsor yield?

16                SENATOR MAYER:   Yes, happy to.

17                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

18   sponsor yields.

19                SENATOR BORRELLO:   Thank you.  

20                Thank you, Senator Mayer.  Good to 

21   see you.

22                SENATOR MAYER:   Good to see you 

23   too.

24                SENATOR BORRELLO:   A question.  One 

25   of the key elements of this bill is that it would 


                                                               918

 1   remove any cap or any limitation on fines that 

 2   can be imposed on a utility company for 

 3   violations.  Am I correct in that interpretation?  

 4   Will this basically allow for unlimited fine 

 5   amounts?

 6                SENATOR MAYER:   Through you, 

 7   Madam President, what the bill does is in 

 8   sticking up for consumers and ratepayers, it 

 9   eliminates the statutory cap and instead imposes 

10   a number of specific factors that the Public 

11   Service commission must determine after finding a 

12   violation has occurred.

13                So once there is a violation, then 

14   they analyze the factors and they determine the 

15   amount of the appropriate penalty or fine, 

16   thereby protecting ratepayers and consumers.

17                SENATOR BORRELLO:   Madam President, 

18   will the sponsor continue to yield?  

19                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Does the 

20   sponsor yield?

21                SENATOR MAYER:   Yes.

22                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

23   sponsor yields.

24                SENATOR BORRELLO:   Thank you.

25                So with that, though, there is no 


                                                               919

 1   specific limit that this bill or this Legislature 

 2   will be putting on fines.  Theoretically, there 

 3   could be any dollar amount of any kind, based on 

 4   the language in this bill.

 5                SENATOR MAYER:   Through you, 

 6   Madam President.  Again, there must be a finding 

 7   of a violation.  No utility company has anything 

 8   to worry about if they have not violated the 

 9   rules or the law.  

10                Even after doing so, these factors 

11   must be applied which give the Public Service 

12   Commission discretion.

13                But at the end of the day, talk to 

14   consumers, ratepayers and those who are dependent 

15   on our utility companies.  They believe that 

16   these fines in the past have been a cost of doing 

17   business and we must change the way these 

18   companies operate.

19                SENATOR BORRELLO:   Madam President, 

20   will the sponsor continue to yield.

21                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Does the 

22   sponsor yield?

23                SENATOR MAYER:   Yes.

24                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

25   sponsor yields.


                                                               920

 1                SENATOR BORRELLO:   Let me first say 

 2   that I agree with you that oftentimes businesses 

 3   do look at these as just a cost of doing 

 4   business, rather than providing the service, so 

 5   we agree on that.  But I'm concerned about the 

 6   nature of this being unlimited, in essence.

 7                So the next question I have is this 

 8   bill also seems to reach beyond gas and electric 

 9   companies and could also capture other utilities 

10   like telecommunications, cable, internet 

11   providers.  Would that be the case?  Is that the 

12   intent?  

13                SENATOR MAYER:   Through you, 

14   Madam President.  This bill, one, reaches 

15   entities that are already regulated in some 

16   fashion by the Public Service Commission.  It 

17   does impose additional requirements for cable and 

18   telephone companies to actually prepare and file 

19   an emergency service plan, which is shared, which 

20   is absolutely essential for customers to know 

21   what the requirements are.  

22                But this does not expand the scope 

23   of the authority of the Public Service 

24   Commission, which already has authority over 

25   utility companies and has some regulatory 


                                                               921

 1   authority over cable and telephone companies.  

 2                SENATOR BORRELLO:   Madam President, 

 3   will the sponsor continue to yield.  

 4                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Does the 

 5   sponsor yield?

 6                SENATOR MAYER:   Yes.

 7                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

 8   sponsor yields.

 9                SENATOR BORRELLO:   On page 4, 

10   line 16 of this bill, the word "reasonably" has 

11   been struck.  Can the sponsor explain how the 

12   effect of this amendment -- what's the effect of 

13   this amendment?  Striking the word "reasonably," 

14   what is the impact of that?  So does that mean 

15   that it is strictly liable for any breakdown 

16   that -- even though there's no fault of their 

17   own?  

18                In other words, if it wasn't their 

19   fault there was a breakdown because the word 

20   "reasonably" has been struck from this bill, does 

21   that make them still liable even if it wasn't 

22   their fault?  

23                SENATOR MAYER:   Through you, 

24   Madam President.  Again, first there must be a 

25   finding of a violation.  And what we have seen 


                                                               922

 1   historically is violations have been basically 

 2   minimized because the utilities come in and say 

 3   it was a reasonable violation.

 4                This says the PSC must actually 

 5   review, for example, which act or omission led to 

 6   the violation, whether it was knowing or willful, 

 7   whether it was recurring or had been the subject 

 8   of a previous finding.  Whether it -- for 

 9   example, it dealt with economic losses of 

10   ratepayers.  

11                And finally, for any company -- and 

12   my focus here is on consumers and ratepayers.  

13   But legitimately, if any company worries, there 

14   are -- Factor (k), mitigating factors relevant to 

15   the seriousness of the violation as determined by 

16   the commission.

17                There's more than adequate 

18   protection here for the companies.  But we need 

19   to build in the protection for the consumers and 

20   ratepayers.  And that's what this does, by taking 

21   away what has been an excuse of reasonableness as 

22   applied to violations.

23                SENATOR BORRELLO:   Thank you.  

24                Madam President, will the sponsor 

25   continue to yield.


                                                               923

 1                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Does the 

 2   sponsor yield?

 3                SENATOR MAYER:   Surely.

 4                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

 5   sponsor yields.

 6                SENATOR BORRELLO:   Yes, the last 

 7   one.  

 8                Well, by my reading of this bill, 

 9   hypothetically an officer of a telecommunications 

10   company could be assessed any amount for any 

11   violation of the law, regulation, or any order, 

12   whether or not the act was willful.  And that's 

13   the part that I have an issue with.  

14                Was that your intention, to make 

15   them basically have an unlimited potential for a 

16   fine, even for something that wasn't done 

17   willfully?

18                SENATOR MAYER:   Through you, Madam 

19   President.  Under Section 25A, which is the 

20   administrative proceedings, officers can be held 

21   liable for willful violations.

22                SENATOR BORRELLO:   Madam President, 

23   on the bill.

24                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

25   Borrello on the bill.


                                                               924

 1                SENATOR BORRELLO:   Thank you.

 2                Senator Mayer, thank you very much 

 3   for indulging me.  I appreciate it very much.

 4                You know, the -- I understand the 

 5   need to want to protect consumers, and that that 

 6   absolutely should be our priority.  But 

 7   oftentimes there's unintended consequences where 

 8   they pass along what would be an unlimited fine 

 9   amount ultimately to the ratepayers.  And that's 

10   part of my concern.

11                But there's another part to this 

12   too.  Let me first read a quote.  The quote that 

13   I have here is "I propose an up-front fine 

14   structure by the PSC that is simple, 

15   straightforward, and may finally provide the real 

16   financial incentive that these utility companies 

17   need and understand."  

18                These aren't my words.  Those are 

19   actually the words of a former member of this 

20   body, of the Senate Democratic Conference, and 

21   the current Westchester County Executive George 

22   Latimer.  He said that in this testimony to the 

23   joint Senate-Assembly hearing on the power 

24   communications failure from Tropical Storm 

25   Isaias.  


                                                               925

 1                So the county executive, a former 

 2   member of this body, felt that we needed a 

 3   simpler and more defined way to make these 

 4   companies more accountable.  But, you know, the 

 5   question is how do we improve their response, 

 6   right?  

 7                But instead of really digging into 

 8   this issue and advancing proposals that would 

 9   improve utility response and provide a 

10   straightforward and simple, like he said, fine 

11   structure, this body is deciding to do exactly 

12   the opposite and is moving to vote on a piece of 

13   legislation that hands unfettered power to the 

14   Executive, to the Governor.  

15                I mean, I can't believe we're 

16   passing a bill right now, in this current 

17   environment, that's going to hand more unfettered 

18   power to this Governor.  That's really the issue 

19   here.  

20                The Governor will have the ability 

21   to fine companies at an unlimited amount for a 

22   pretty much unlimited amount of reasons.  That 

23   could very easily be abused.  And I think we've 

24   learned a lesson recently that this Governor has 

25   the propensity to utilize that type of power in 


                                                               926

 1   an abusive manner.  

 2                So handing this power to this 

 3   Governor at this moment in time I think is 

 4   particularly irresponsible.  I understand the 

 5   nature of what we're trying to do; we're trying 

 6   to protect consumers.  I understand the impact of 

 7   that tropical storm.  We saw what happened in 

 8   Texas recently.  These companies need to be held 

 9   accountable.  

10                This is not the way to make these 

11   companies accountable.  It's an expansive 

12   increase in the Governor's power.  This body 

13   needs to reassert itself as a separate coequal 

14   branch of government.  We need to stop handing 

15   the Governor unlimited power and authority.  

16   We've seen the tragic results of that in recent 

17   months.

18                So at the very least, this bill's 

19   timing is poor.  But on top of that, it certainly 

20   goes directly against our constitutional 

21   obligation to be a separate, coequal branch of 

22   government, and I'll be voting no.

23                Thank you, Madam President.

24                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Are 

25   there any other Senators wishing to be heard?  


                                                               927

 1                Seeing and hearing none, debate is 

 2   closed.  The Secretary will ring the bell.

 3                Read the last section.

 4                THE SECRETARY:   Section 8.  This 

 5   act shall take effect on the 90th day after it 

 6   shall have become a law.

 7                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

 8   roll.

 9                (The Secretary called the roll.)

10                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

11   Mayer to explain her vote.

12                SENATOR MAYER:   Thank you, 

13   Madam President.

14                Nine years ago my district and many, 

15   many constituents suffered through Superstorm 

16   Sandy.  In testimony after that storm, I said 

17   Sandy made clear our infrastructure, staffing and 

18   the system of accountability is simply 

19   ill-prepared to respond to these increasingly 

20   common and powerful storms.

21                Ironically, after Superstorm Sandy 

22   the Legislature passed Section 25A that we're 

23   talking about today.  It was supposed to be a 

24   tool to ensure that utility companies actually 

25   responded to the legitimate demands of ratepayers 


                                                               928

 1   and customers.  But it has not worked.  

 2                Tropical Storm Isaias hit our region 

 3   hard, but it wasn't the worst storm we have seen 

 4   or will see.  We will see worse.  As we've seen 

 5   in Texas, we will see very serious climate change 

 6   affect all of our communities.

 7                But these companies statewide have 

 8   acted in derogation of their duties, and the fact 

 9   is the current law has not held them responsible.  

10   They have seen the fines and penalties as a cost 

11   of doing business and a cost that has 

12   unfortunately not changed their behavior.

13                After this last storm, among the 

14   constituents who wrote to me or called me were 

15   some who were forced to remain in a healthcare 

16   facility because the facility would not discharge 

17   the patient until her electricity was restored, 

18   because she needed electricity for her 

19   life-sustaining equipment.

20                Another could not get the power 

21   restored when his wife had life-sustaining 

22   medications which required refrigeration.  

23                Elected leaders like myself and our 

24   county executive, George Latimer, could not get 

25   phone calls returned, could not get electric and 


                                                               929

 1   cable companies to coordinate and work together, 

 2   could not get realistic and timely information 

 3   about restorations -- and frankly we and, more 

 4   important, our constituents were ignored.

 5                Ratepayers and customers are tired 

 6   of the costs of violations being deemed the cost 

 7   of doing business and just ignored until the next 

 8   storm.  And I promised to my constituents I would 

 9   not let there be another storm without a 

10   substantial and meaningful response.

11                This legislation will do that by 

12   eliminating statutory caps on penalties and 

13   shedding vague language regarding whether a 

14   violation occurred.  This will empower the Public 

15   Service Commission -- and I remind us, the 

16   members of which are confirmed by this body, and 

17   is an independent body under the law -- to 

18   respond to violations by utilities in a way that 

19   is proportionate to the seriousness of the 

20   violations and significant enough to incentivize 

21   improved compliance.

22                In addition, this bill requires 

23   cable and phone companies to submit emergency 

24   response plans for review and approval, which 

25   will enhance oversight of these industries and 


                                                               930

 1   help prevent the kind of service outage debacle 

 2   that we lived through in my district last August.

 3                I'd like to thank the Majority 

 4   Leader for bringing this important bill to the 

 5   floor, and the staff of -- my staff, Mike Press 

 6   and Rob Habermann, for their great work and open 

 7   minds about finding a way forward.  

 8                To the people of New York and to my 

 9   constituents, I say we heard your frustration, we 

10   share it.  With this bill and the others passed 

11   today, we convey your message to these companies:  

12   There will not be another time where this happens 

13   again.

14                Thank you, Madam President.

15                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

16   Mayer to be recorded in the affirmative.

17                Announce the results.

18                THE SECRETARY:   In relation to 

19   Calendar 373, those Senators voting in the 

20   negative are Senators Akshar, Borrello, Boyle, 

21   Gallivan, Griffo, Helming, Jordan, Lanza, 

22   Martucci, Mattera, Oberacker, O'Mara, Ortt, 

23   Palumbo, Rath, Ritchie, Serino, Stec, Tedisco and 

24   Weik.

25                Ayes, 43.  Nays, 20.


                                                               931

 1                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

 2   is passed.

 3                Senator Gianaris, that completes the 

 4   reading of the controversial calendar.

 5                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Thank you, 

 6   Madam President.  

 7                Returning to motions and resolutions 

 8   for a moment, on behalf of Senator Brisport, on 

 9   page 25 I offer the following amendments to 

10   Calendar 341, Senate Print 4378, and ask that 

11   said bill retain its place on the Third Reading 

12   Calendar.

13                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

14   amendments are received, and the bill shall 

15   retain its place on the Third Reading Calendar.

16                SENATOR GIANARIS:   And on behalf of 

17   Senator Ramos, on page 25 I offer the following 

18   amendments to Calendar 337, Senate Print 3211, 

19   and ask that said bill retain its place on Third 

20   Reading Calendar.

21                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

22   amendments are received, and the bill shall 

23   retain its place on the Third Reading Calendar.

24                SENATOR GIANARIS:   Is there any 

25   further business at the desk?


                                                               932

 1                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   There is 

 2   no further business at the desk.

 3                SENATOR GIANARIS:   I move to 

 4   adjourn until tomorrow, Wednesday, February 24th, 

 5   at 11:00 a.m.

 6                ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   On 

 7   motion, the Senate stands adjourned until 

 8   Wednesday, February 24th, at 11:00 a.m. 

 9                (Whereupon, at 5:27 p.m., the Senate 

10   adjourned.)

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