Regular Session - March 23, 2023

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 1                NEW YORK STATE SENATE








 9                  ALBANY, NEW YORK

10                   March 23, 2023

11                     11:18 a.m.



14                   REGULAR SESSION




18  SENATOR ROXANNE J. PERSAUD, Acting President









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

 2                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

 3    Senate 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 PERSAUD:   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 PERSAUD:   The 

14    reading of the Journal.

15                 THE SECRETARY:   In Senate, 

16    Wednesday, March 22, 2023, the Senate met 

17    pursuant to adjournment.  The Journal of Tuesday, 

18    March 21, 2023, was read and approved.  On 

19    motion, the Senate adjourned.

20                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   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.


 1                 Reports of select committees.

 2                 Communications and reports from 

 3    state officers.

 4                 Motions and resolutions.  

 5                 Senator Gianaris.

 6                 SENATOR GIANARIS:   Thank you, 

 7    Madam President.  

 8                 On behalf of Senator Cooney, on 

 9    page 26 I offer the following amendments to 

10    Calendar Number 488, Senate Print 4742, and I ask 

11    that the said bill retain its place on the 

12    Third Reading Calendar.

13                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

14    amendments are received, and the bill will retain 

15    its place on the Third Reading Calendar.

16                 Senator Gianaris.

17                 SENATOR GIANARIS:   At this time 

18    we're going to take up previously adopted 

19    Resolution 542, by Senator Ramos, and read its 

20    title and recognize Senator Ramos.

21                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

22    Secretary will read.

23                 THE SECRETARY:   Senate Resolution 

24    542, by Senator Ramos, commemorating the 

25    112th Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist 


 1    Factory Fire on March 25, 2023.

 2                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

 3    Ramos on the resolution.

 4                 SENATOR RAMOS:   Thank you, 

 5    Madam President.  

 6                 I know many of you already know my 

 7    story.  Both of my parents were undocumented 

 8    immigrants from Colombia.  My father was a 

 9    printing pressman, and my mother was an 

10    undocumented seamstress.  

11                 To my family, the history of the 

12    Jewish, Italian and Irish immigrants who came to 

13    New York at the start of the 20th century is much 

14    more than just in textbooks, it's actually our 

15    story too.  

16                 Our city, our state, and this entire 

17    country were built by workers, both enslaved 

18    people and immigrants.  It's a story with some 

19    dark chapters.  And one of the most painful parts 

20    of that American history came on March 25, 1911, 

21    when a fire raged at the Triangle Shirtwaist 

22    Factory in Manhattan.  One hundred forty-six of 

23    the mostly Jewish and Italian immigrants who 

24    worked at the factory died that day.  Most of 

25    them were immigrant women.  They were 


 1    seamstresses just like my mama.

 2                 Those workers didn't have to die.  

 3    They were trapped in the flames because bosses 

 4    had padlocked the doors to keep union organizers 

 5    out.  There was no way to put the fire out 

 6    because water buckets were left empty.  The 

 7    factory owners had claimed their building was 

 8    fireproof when clearly it wasn't.  

 9                 Worst of all, the owners allowed 

10    only one exit.  They said this was to prevent 

11    stealing.  Those owners were valuing their 

12    merchandise and fabric scraps much more than 

13    their workers.  

14                 Survivors were haunted for decades 

15    by memories of people jumping out of the windows 

16    and slamming against the locked doors.  

17    Firefighters who showed up to battle the blaze 

18    were crying in the streets.  At the time, ladders 

19    weren't long enough to reach the factory floor.  

20                 This fire destroyed dreams and new 

21    families, and the people behind it weren't 

22    punished.  The factory owners were acquitted in a 

23    quick trial after the blaze.  Two years later, 

24    they were at it again and fined for locking doors 

25    at another factory.  Time and time again, these 


 1    businessmen showed that they don't value human 

 2    life over their own profits. 

 3                 But this tragedy wasn't all for 

 4    nothing.  In the wake of the awful fire, unions 

 5    worked together with the people in this very same 

 6    room to press for meaningful reforms that helped 

 7    make workplaces safer.  It was this body that 

 8    delivered some measure of accountability after 

 9    that tragic fire.  Our predecessors knew that we 

10    have the power to give workers and families a 

11    better life.  They showed that when big business 

12    won't stand up for the people, we can do the 

13    right thing.

14                 So today, 112 years later, working 

15    together with the unions, I ask that we pause, 

16    take a moment, and honor the tragedy of those 

17    lost workers.  Over a century after the tragedy 

18    at Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, sweatshops are 

19    now Amazon warehouses and construction sites 

20    where fatalities are up nearly 50 percent in 

21    New York City.  And yet, after record inflation, 

22    wages are down.

23                 That dark day shows us why we can 

24    never forget the sacrifices our immigrant 

25    families made to build our state, and we can't 


 1    just remember and mark the moment with 

 2    resolutions.  The American dream started with the 

 3    working people, and it's up to us finally to make 

 4    that dream a reality.

 5                 Thank you, Madam President.

 6                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Thank 

 7    you, Senator.

 8                 Senator Gianaris.

 9                 SENATOR GIANARIS:   Thank you, 

10    Madam President.  

11                 Can we now move on to previously 

12    adopted Resolution 502, by Senator Tedisco, read 

13    its title, and recognize Senator Tedisco.

14                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Sorry.  

15    Resolution 542, by Senator Ramos, was previously 

16    adopted on 3/15.

17                 The Secretary will read.

18                 THE SECRETARY:   Senate Resolution 

19    502, by Senator Tedisco, commemorating the 

20    50th Anniversary of the Beagle School of 

21    Saratoga Springs, New York.

22                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

23    Tedisco on the resolution.

24                 SENATOR TEDISCO:   Thank you, 

25    Madam President.


 1                 Madam President and my colleagues, 

 2    the 44th State Senate District is blessed to have 

 3    many fine and outstanding academic institutions 

 4    for children of all ages, and one of those is the 

 5    Beagle School in the City of Saratoga Springs, 

 6    who are here today and celebrating their 

 7    50th anniversary this year.

 8                 The Beagle School is a private 

 9    preschool for children aged 2, 3 and 4 years, and 

10    they follow the "Creative Curriculum" philosophy, 

11    an unwavering belief that children this age learn 

12    best when they are learning through play.  

13                 Their programs include Little 

14    Explorers, a program for 2-year-olds; Voyagers, a 

15    program for 3-year-olds; and Discoverers and 

16    Beyond Beagle, a program for 4-year-olds.  

17                 As a former educator, I can assure 

18    you milestones such as this one never occur 

19    without outstanding leadership and supportive 

20    parents, and we're fortunate to be joined by them 

21    today.  I'd like to introduce them to you, 

22    Madam President.  

23                 Their director is here, Jessica  

24    Todtenhagen; Board President Jennifer Taylor; 

25    Teacher Anna Querrard; Board Member Audrey Moore 


 1    and her daughter Aislynn, who is a student also; 

 2    parent Mary English and her two sons, Freddy and 

 3    George, both of whom are current students; alumni 

 4    Patrick Ladd and alumni parent Deirdre Ladd.

 5                 Madam President, I would ask you, 

 6    with my colleagues, to join me in saluting them, 

 7    thanking them, and congratulating them on 

 8    50 years of outstanding educational development.  

 9                 We know, myself as a previous 

10    educator and some of those in the room, when you 

11    start out early and give that foundation, 

12    especially for young people who have 

13    challenges -- you can't go back and repair that 

14    type of thing or that type of development.  So we 

15    thank them for giving a great start to our young 

16    children and, into the future, giving them the 

17    gift of a tremendous foundation.

18                 Thank you.

19                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Thank 

20    you, Senator.

21                 To our guests, I welcome you on 

22    behalf of the Senate.  We extend to you the 

23    privileges and courtesies of this house.  

24                 Please rise and be recognized.

25                 (Standing ovation.)


 1                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

 2    resolution was previously adopted on March 9th.

 3                 Senator Gianaris.

 4                 SENATOR GIANARIS:   The sponsors 

 5    would like to open these resolutions for 

 6    cosponsorship.

 7                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

 8    resolutions are open to cosponsorship.  Should 

 9    you choose not to be a cosponsor of the 

10    resolutions, please notify the desk.

11                 Senator Gianaris.

12                 SENATOR GIANARIS:   Please recognize 

13    Senator Cooney for an introduction.

14                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

15    Cooney for an introduction.

16                 SENATOR COONEY:   Thank you, 

17    Madam President.  

18                 I'm very proud to welcome members of 

19    the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, who 

20    are in Albany today advocating on a wide variety 

21    of issues related to economic growth and 

22    prosperity in upstate New York.  

23                 The Rochester Chamber is led by CEO 

24    and former Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy, and 

25    it's the voice of business for the Finger Lakes 


 1    region, representing 1300 member organizations.  

 2    They were recently reaccredited by the U.S. 

 3    Chamber of Commerce as a Five-Star Chamber, which 

 4    is a highest level of distinction bestowed to a 

 5    chamber of commerce, and held by fewer than 

 6    2 percent of chambers nationally.  

 7                 I hope that we can welcome these 

 8    guests, including Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, 

 9    Pittsford Volunteer Ambulance, Fleet Feet 

10    Rochester, Info Advantage, Linton Crystal, and 

11    Buckingham Properties.  

12                 Thank you, Madam President.

13                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Thank 

14    you.

15                 To our guests, I welcome you on 

16    behalf of the Senate.  We extend to you all of 

17    the privileges and courtesies of this house.  

18                 Please rise and be recognized.

19                 (Standing ovation.)

20                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

21    Gianaris.

22                 SENATOR GIANARIS:   Please take up 

23    the reading of the calendar.

24                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The 

25    Secretary will read.


 1                 THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

 2    186, Senate Print 440, by Senator Skoufis, an act 

 3    to amend the Executive Law.

 4                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

 5    last section.

 6                 THE SECRETARY:   Section 2.  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    Ashby to explain his vote.

13                 SENATOR ASHBY:   Thank you, 

14    Madam President.  

15                 I just wanted to take a moment to 

16    thank the sponsor for bringing this bill to the 

17    floor and share a few remarks regarding two of 

18    the Tuskegee Airmen from our state, Herbert and 

19    Richard Thorpe.  

20                 Richard unfortunately was killed in 

21    a training accident in 1945, but his brother 

22    Herbert just turned 100 this past January.  He 

23    trained as a pilot, a navigator and a bombardier.  

24    For anybody who's in aviation, that's a 

25    remarkable, remarkable achievement.  And when he 


 1    returned home, he helped develop our modern air 

 2    traffic control system.  

 3                 So I want to thank the sponsor for 

 4    bringing this and thank the Thorpe brothers for 

 5    their lasting contributions to our country.  

 6                 Thank you.  

 7                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

 8    Ashby to be recorded in the affirmative.

 9                 Senator Cleare to explain her vote.

10                 SENATOR CLEARE:   Thank you.  Thank 

11    you, Madam President.

12                 I rise in strong support of this 

13    bill, and I thank my colleague Senator Skoufis 

14    for bringing this bill designating the fourth 

15    Thursday in March as Tuskegee Airmen 

16    Commemoration Day.  

17                 There is a strong and proud 

18    connection between Harlem and the 

19    Tuskegee Airmen, many of whom called Harlem home, 

20    such as Dabney Montgomery.  

21                 A PFC in World War II, Montgomery 

22    was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army with 

23    a Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, 

24    Honorable Service Medal, Driver and Mechanic 

25    Medal, and two Bronze Star Medals.  


 1                 He went on to serve as Dr. Martin 

 2    Luther King's bodyguard and was an ardent 

 3    activist in the Civil Rights Movement.  He was 

 4    known to have said:  "When the laws of the state 

 5    conflict with the conscience of man, then the 

 6    laws of the state must be peaceably broken."  

 7                 We named a portion of a street in 

 8    Harlem after him, due to his amazing and 

 9    inspiring life of service.  He lived to 93.  He 

10    served our community on the Community Board and 

11    in many other places, and I'm proud to have known 

12    him.  

13                 Also, Wilfred DeFour, who served as 

14    a chief official in the airmen's engineering 

15    office and then worked 33 years for the U.S. 

16    Postal Service while attending City College and 

17    NYU's School of Commerce.

18                 He also lived in Harlem.  He lived 

19    to be 100 years old.

20                 Reginald Brewster, who noted how 

21    much better he was treated in Europe than in the 

22    United States.  After the war, Brewster went to 

23    Fordham University to study government and math, 

24    and eventually got his Juris Doctorate from 

25    Fordham and practiced law until he was 90.


 1                 It is a proud day for Harlem as we 

 2    pass this bill and remember those who contributed 

 3    so much to Harlem, to our city, to our state, to 

 4    the country and to the world.

 5                 Thank you.  I vote aye.

 6                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

 7    Cleare to be recorded in the affirmative.

 8                 Senator Webb to explain her vote.

 9                 SENATOR WEBB:   Thank you, 

10    Madam President.  

11                 I want to thank our colleague 

12    Senator Skoufis for introducing this bill, and I 

13    rise to explain my vote.  I am honored to stand 

14    here before you today to explain why this 

15    legislation, this designation, this formal 

16    designation is important, recognizing the fourth 

17    Thursday in March as Tuskegee Airmen 

18    Commemoration Day here in New York.  

19                 It is important that we take these 

20    moments to recognize the rich legacy that we have 

21    right here in this chamber.  And so we gather 

22    here to pay tribute to the brave men who 

23    shattered racial barriers in the U.S. military 

24    and beyond, and paved the way for future 

25    generations.  


 1                 Among those courageous individuals I 

 2    want to take this time and say the name of a 

 3    remarkable Tuskegee Airman and native Ithacan 

 4    whose contributions to this noble cause should 

 5    never be forgotten.  And his name was Verdelle 

 6    Louis Payne.  I'm just going to give you a quick 

 7    little piece about Mr. Payne.  

 8                 He was born on October 1, 1919, and 

 9    lived on Cascadilla Street in Ithaca.  He grew up 

10    in a world where segregation and discrimination 

11    were rampant, but he refused to be limited by 

12    those societal constraints.  

13                 Mr. Payne was one of the first Black 

14    licensed pilots from upstate New York.  In 1943, 

15    Mr. Payne joined the Tuskegee Airmen, where he 

16    earned the rank of flight officer, serving in the 

17    U.S. Army Air Force's 99th Fighter Squadron 

18    during World War II.  

19                 Despite facing discrimination and 

20    skepticism from some of their fellow servicemen, 

21    these Tuskegee Airmen proved their bravery and 

22    skill in the skies, completing over 15,000 

23    missions and earning countless commendations for 

24    their dedicated service.

25                 There's a marker in the district at 


 1    212 Cascadilla Street that is the birthplace of 

 2    both not only Verdelle Louis Payne, but also 

 3    Roots author Alex Haley.  And so recognizing 

 4    Mr. Payne's contributions, it also serves as a 

 5    reminder that we have a long way to go.  

 6                 And so I hope that in taking this 

 7    time to recognize this important day that may we, 

 8    all of us here in this chamber, commit every day 

 9    to advancing and lifting up their legacy by 

10    continuing to advance policies and practices that 

11    are rooted in justice, human dignity, and 

12    respect.

13                 I vote aye, and I encourage my 

14    colleagues to do the same.

15                 Thank you so much.  

16                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

17    Webb to be recorded in the affirmative.

18                 Senator Comrie to explain his vote.

19                 SENATOR COMRIE:   Thank you, 

20    Madam President.  

21                 I rise to also congratulate and 

22    thank Senator Skoufis for putting this resolution 

23    forward to commemorate the fourth Thursday of the 

24    month as Tuskegee Airmen Day.

25                 I was honored to have cosponsored a 


 1    bill, back when I was in the City Council in 

 2    2013, to name a portion of South Road in my 

 3    district as Tuskegee Airmen Way to honor the many 

 4    Tuskegee Airmen that lived in Queens and came 

 5    back after the war and truly created the 

 6    opportunity for so many of us to exist in peace 

 7    and harmony in Queens.  

 8                 They came back after the war to face 

 9    prejudice, to face, if you look at articles about 

10    what happened in Rosedale, burning crosses when 

11    they first purchased homes -- to becoming the 

12    first people to start civic associations, to 

13    integrate PTAs, to do the things necessary so 

14    that there could be a positive quality of life 

15    for residents, minority residents, in 

16    Southeast Queens.  

17                 The Tuskegee Airmen never stopped 

18    serving, never stopped believing in community, 

19    never stop believing in building, and never 

20    stopped believing in creating opportunities to 

21    bring other people along the way.

22                 Those pilots, those ground crew and 

23    personnel who were at first not even permitted to 

24    serve in combat roles, became people that were 

25    capable of operating and maintaining and flying 


 1    high-performance fighter planes.  Proving their 

 2    mettle, they became escorts among bomber crews 

 3    and feared opponents among Germany's Luftwaffe, 

 4    who truly lost to them every time they came 

 5    against them.  

 6                 They fought with honor and bravery, 

 7    overcoming adversity in service to a country that 

 8    once thought them to be incapable of flying.  We 

 9    were able to create this opportunity to name a 

10    part of South Jamaica in honoring them for their 

11    role and doing everything that they've done for 

12    this country.

13                 I want to just also take a moment to 

14    acknowledge certain Tuskegee Airmen that served 

15    in a positive way throughout our entire country, 

16    including Roscoe Brown, Mildred Carter, 

17    Benjamin Davis and Harold Brown, who I had the 

18    honor of meeting many times during my time in 

19    service.  

20                 So I just wanted to take the 

21    opportunity that we should all acknowledge the 

22    opportunities that the Tuskegee Airmen have 

23    brought to our country.  

24                 And thank you, Senator Skoufis, for 

25    introducing this resolution.


 1                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Thank 

 2    you.  Senator Comrie to be recorded in the 

 3    affirmative.

 4                 Senator Kennedy to explain his vote.

 5                 SENATOR KENNEDY:   Thank you, 

 6    Madam President.

 7                 First of all, let me start by 

 8    thanking our colleague Senator Skoufis for 

 9    bringing this bill to the floor today.

10                 I want to thank Majority Leader 

11    Andrea Stewart-Cousins for her leadership in 

12    helping to move this bill through the process.  

13                 I stand to simply honor those 

14    courageous heroes, the Tuskegee Airmen, as we 

15    pass this bill, commemorating what will be this 

16    day, the fourth Thursday in March, as Tuskegee 

17    Airmen Commemoration Day.  

18                 It is a wonderful thing to name a 

19    day and to recognize them in perpetuity here in 

20    the State of New York.  We owe them so much more.  

21    They gave everything they had, and many made the 

22    ultimate sacrifice in the fight for a country 

23    that they loved that in many ways did not love 

24    them back.  

25                 And that was the Tuskegee Airmen, 


 1    heroes that went up into the sky, if you think 

 2    about that, in those machines, in the 1940s.  

 3    It's a scary thought.  But they did it for love 

 4    of the country and love of community.  And you 

 5    think about those courageous Black Americans that 

 6    overcame so much to get into those flying 

 7    machines, standing on the shoulders of their 

 8    fellow African-Americans that fought in every 

 9    single war in American history dating back to the 

10    inception of this country.  We have to remember 

11    that as New Yorkers.  We have to remember that as 

12    Americans.

13                 And, you know, I often tell the 

14    story that our great Majority Leader 

15    Stewart-Cousins tells about her own father, who 

16    went off to war and came home and didn't even 

17    qualify for the GI Bill.  

18                 Well, that was the Tuskegee Airmen 

19    too, who, as my great fellow colleague 

20    Chairman Comrie stated, came home to burning 

21    crosses on the front lawn and hangings and 

22    lynchings and despicable segregation and 

23    despicable discrimination and horrific racism 

24    that we still have to fight against today.

25                 But we're reminded of the grace and 


 1    the beauty and the love of this great country by 

 2    those heroes like the Tuskegee Airmen that went 

 3    up into the sky.  Just a few of which I had the 

 4    incredible honor -- that I'll never forget -- to 

 5    meet back in 2008 at the inauguration of the 

 6    first African-American president, Barack Obama.  

 7    After which the crowd, the masses that were 

 8    formed that day, were leaving the plaza and the 

 9    Washington Capitol, and you heard a whistle 

10    blowing, loud and clear:  "Make way, the Tuskegee 

11    Airmen are coming through."  

12                 And everybody spread and moved out 

13    of the way for these heroes to come through that 

14    day.  And it was one of those moments that I will 

15    never forget.  Just to be in their presence, just 

16    to see these heroes come through and think about 

17    the honor that they had that day, having faced 

18    the discrimination in this country, but they 

19    fought for this country, to see their greatest 

20    dream come true:  An African-American leader of 

21    our great nation, Barack Obama.

22                 So again, it's with tremendous honor 

23    that I stand and recognize the Tuskegee Airmen as 

24    we pass this bill.  Again, thank you to 

25    Senator Skoufis and Leader Stewart-Cousins for 


 1    bringing this to the floor.  Hopefully we can get 

 2    this through and ultimately signed into law and 

 3    forever recognize those heroes that came before 

 4    us.

 5                 Thank you, Madam President.  I vote 

 6    aye.

 7                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

 8    Kennedy to be recorded in the affirmative.

 9                 Senator Bailey to explain his vote.

10                 SENATOR BAILEY:   Thank you, 

11    Madam President.  

12                 Thank you, Senator Skoufis, for 

13    introducing this really important bill.

14                 As a juxtaposition, once upon a time 

15    there was something called the Tuskegee 

16    Experiment, right, when they literally 

17    experimented on black people because they thought 

18    we were subhuman.  And they gave us certain 

19    diseases because they wanted to see how that 

20    played out in time.  So they used to experiment 

21    on us.

22                 But one of the greatest experiments 

23    that clearly worked was these Black airmen, the 

24    Tuskegee Airmen, that proved that we were not 

25    inferior, that we were not subhuman, that we were 


 1    not undeserving -- that, in fact, we would rise 

 2    to the occasion, not just in the sky as pilots, 

 3    but we would rise to the occasion in this great 

 4    country.  

 5                 And I can tell you that growing up 

 6    and just hearing the story and the legend of the 

 7    Tuskegee Airmen -- and when the movie came out 

 8    about the Tuskegee Airmen, as a kid I was 

 9    excited.  

10                 But speaking to my aunts and uncles 

11    and my dad and my mom, when the story of the 

12    Tuskegee Airmen first came out in the fifties and 

13    sixties and seventies when they were growing up, 

14    it was nothing short of remarkable for them.  

15    Because they got to see people that looked like 

16    them doing things that were never done before -- 

17    not because the folks didn't want to do it, and 

18    not because they couldn't do it, because they 

19    were prevented from doing so.

20                 And so I'm just eternally grateful 

21    that this day, that Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration 

22    Day, is something that some kid in this great 

23    State of New York is going to see one day, 

24    they're going to read something about it, and 

25    then they're going to understand that the 


 1    possible is within them because of the great 

 2    airmen that blazed the trail for us.  

 3                 I vote aye, Madam President.  

 4                 And thank you for introducing this 

 5    bill, Senator Skoufis.

 6                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

 7    Bailey to be recorded in the affirmative.

 8                 Senator Griffo to explain his vote.

 9                 SENATOR GRIFFO:   Thank you, 

10    Madam President.  

11                 You know, we've talked about the 

12    legendary nature of these individuals and the 

13    honor that we have to be in their presence.  And 

14    I want to thank the sponsor and all my colleagues 

15    today for calling attention to this.  

16                 I'm very fortunate, as you heard 

17    Senator Ashby before talk about Mr. Herbert 

18    Thorpe.  He is a resident in my district, a 

19    remarkable and exceptional individual who all of 

20    us together this year celebrated on his 

21    100th birthday in January when we passed a 

22    resolution to recognize him and I had the fortune 

23    of nominating and placing him into our Senate 

24    Veterans Hall of Fame.

25                 Just an extraordinary individual 


 1    who's had an extraordinary life, who grew up in 

 2    Brooklyn, started in Brooklyn, and then came to 

 3    work for the Air Force Research Lab after his 

 4    service.  So he continued not only in that -- as 

 5    a living legend, but as someone who contributed 

 6    to our nation but then came back and continued 

 7    that service in a civilian role, but also in so 

 8    many -- in a variety of different ways to serve 

 9    our community and to make a difference in our 

10    community.

11                 So we are fortunate that when he 

12    took the job, he remained in the community and 

13    raised his family there.  And he has had just an 

14    extraordinary influence.

15                 So I'm proud today that we can still 

16    talk to him and have the opportunity to learn 

17    from his experiences and to hear the stories that 

18    he recounts.  Just a humble man and an 

19    extraordinary man.

20                 So I pay tribute again to all of 

21    those who served, but particularly to Mr. Herbert 

22    Thorpe, who celebrated his 100th birthday just a 

23    couple of months ago and is doing well.  So God 

24    bless him, and thank you all very much.

25                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 


 1    Griffo to be recorded in the affirmative.

 2                 Senator Borrello to explain his 

 3    vote.

 4                 SENATOR BORRELLO:   Thank you, 

 5    Madam President.  

 6                 You know, the Tuskegee Airmen are 

 7    actually all across New York State, and I want to 

 8    speak of one in particular, in Jamestown.  

 9                 John Phillip Elias was born in 

10    Jamestown, New York.  He was the son of John Q. 

11    Elias and Louise Mitchell Elias.  He attended 

12    Love School and Jamestown High School.  He was 

13    drafted into the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943.  He 

14    became a Tuskegee Airman and served in Italy and 

15    the Pacific Theater during World War II as a 

16    mechanic and a flyer of the P-51s, the famous 

17    iconic P-51s, the P-51 Mustang fighter.  

18                 He earned numerous awards and 

19    medals, and after a long career and dangerous 

20    missions in World War II, he went back to a full 

21    life in Jamestown.  

22                 My only regret is that this is I 

23    believe the third or fourth year in a row now 

24    where we have brought this bill forth and somehow 

25    it has not moved into the other house and been 


 1    signed by the Governor, which I think is tragic.  

 2    So while we still have many alive that we can 

 3    still honor, every year that goes by, 

 4    unfortunately we will lose more.  

 5                 So it's my hope, as I'm sure it's 

 6    the hope of this entire chamber, that this will 

 7    finally move forward and finally be recognized 

 8    officially, the brave service of the 

 9    Tuskegee Airmen, particularly those from New York 

10    State.  

11                 Thank you.  

12                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

13    Borrello to be recorded in the affirmative.

14                 Senator Skoufis to explain his vote.

15                 SENATOR SKOUFIS:   Thanks very much, 

16    Madam President.  

17                 And I want to thank all my 

18    colleagues who have spoken so eloquently and 

19    captured why this bill is -- this commemoration 

20    is important.

21                 And we sometimes liberally use the 

22    word "hero."  There are fewer than -- just fewer 

23    than a thousand Tuskegee Airmen.  We're not 

24    talking thousands or tens of thousands.  There 

25    were fewer than 1,000 Tuskegee Airmen.  And in 


 1    general society, of course, we all know -- and as 

 2    Senator Kennedy remarked, even to this day Black 

 3    Americans were heinously discriminated against.  

 4                 But these Tuskegee Airmen, while 

 5    serving, were discriminated against and harassed 

 6    and abused.  While serving to protect this 

 7    country.  While serving to protect the very 

 8    people who were discriminating against them.  

 9    These were, in every sense of the word, heroes.

10                 And Senator Borrello has I think 

11    spoken on this bill each of the last three or 

12    four times it has come up in this chamber, and I 

13    want to thank him.  It is a shame that we're 

14    still here needing to debate this and remark on 

15    this, and it's not signed into law yet.

16                 There are, with every year that 

17    passes, fewer and fewer Tuskegee Airmen that are 

18    still with us.  There are fewer than 10 left.  Of 

19    the almost 1,000, fewer than 10 left.  One 

20    estimate I saw from this year had the number at 

21    three left.

22                 A number of Tuskegee Airmen settled 

23    around West Point in Orange County, and that's 

24    how I've grown to really develop this affinity 

25    for this group.  I've met, while they were alive 


 1    a number of years ago, met a number of them.

 2                 It would be a shame if that number 

 3    drops to zero and we're still talking about this 

 4    commemoration.  It would be wonderful if we can 

 5    get this done while there are still a small 

 6    handful of Tuskegee Airmen with us.

 7                 And so Senator Borrello, every year 

 8    he's spoken, has implored the other house to 

 9    finally move this bill.  I join him and really 

10    implore the Assembly to finally move this bill 

11    while there are still three Tuskegee Airmen with 

12    us.  And let's commemorate them and all those who 

13    have left us to date.

14                 Thank you, Madam President.  I vote 

15    yes.

16                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

17    Skoufis to be recorded in the affirmative.

18                 Announce the results.

19                 THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 59.

20                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

21    is passed.

22                 THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

23    188, Senate Print 1181, by Senator Harckham, an 

24    act to amend the Executive Law.

25                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 


 1    last section.

 2                 THE SECRETARY:   Section 2.  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:   Senator 

 8    Harckham to explain his vote.

 9                 SENATOR HARCKHAM:   Thank you very 

10    much, Madam President.  

11                 I really enjoyed the prior 

12    discussion and comments from all colleagues about 

13    the heroes, the Tuskegee Airmen.  And this bill 

14    commemorates another group of American heroes, a 

15    very small band of Americans who have changed the 

16    course of American history; those are the less 

17    than 4,000 Americans who have won the 

18    Congressional Medal of Honor.

19                 This started back during the 

20    Civil War, and these are Americans who are 

21    ordinary Americans who did extraordinary things, 

22    changed the outcomes of battles and changed the 

23    outcomes of history.

24                 And so there is a National Day of 

25    Commemoration, and this body some years ago did 


 1    pass a day, National Medal of Honor Day, which I 

 2    concur with the spirit of, but it was not aligned 

 3    with the national holiday.  And so a number of 

 4    veterans groups have come to us and asked us to 

 5    align the two.  

 6                 And so in the spirit of honoring 

 7    American heroes here today, on this bill I will 

 8    be voting aye and encourage colleagues to as 

 9    well.  

10                 Thank you, Madam President.

11                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

12    Harckham to be recorded in the affirmative.

13                 Announce the results.

14                 THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 59.

15                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

16    is passed.

17                 THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

18    231, Senate Print 1851, by Senator Hinchey, an 

19    act to amend the Public Service Law.

20                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

21    last section.

22                 THE SECRETARY:   Section 2.  This 

23    act shall take effect immediately.

24                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

25    roll.


 1                 (The Secretary called the roll.)

 2                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

 3    Murray to explain his vote.

 4                 SENATOR MURRAY:   Thank you, 

 5    Madam President, to explain my vote.

 6                 First I want to thank the sponsor.  

 7    We had a conversation before the bill came up.  

 8                 This is an important issue that is 

 9    affecting ratepayers in different parts of the 

10    state but, interestingly enough, in different 

11    ways.

12                 So I thank the sponsor.  This is an 

13    important bill, of bringing some clarity to the 

14    billing issue.  

15                 But on the issue of smart meters, in 

16    our conversation I found it very interesting that 

17    in Senator Hinchey's area the ratepayers are 

18    hearing one story -- that it would cost too much 

19    or raise your rates to install the smart 

20    meters -- whereas on Long Island we're getting 

21    calls from our customers and ratepayers who are 

22    saying, Well, they're pushing this on us because 

23    they say it will drop our rates.  But yet they're 

24    also penalizing those that decide they don't want 

25    to have the smart meters installed.  


 1                 So in addition to the billing issue 

 2    and the monthly and the estimations that are 

 3    being done and really messing up the billing 

 4    issue, we also have the issue of the smart 

 5    meters.  

 6                 So as we address this today, this is 

 7    very important.  I hope we'll continue the 

 8    conversation regarding the smart meters and 

 9    installation and the penalties that are being 

10    imposed on the ratepayers.  

11                 So I thank the sponsor for this 

12    bill, and I support it.  

13                 Thank you.

14                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

15    Murray to be recorded in the affirmative.

16                 Senator Hinchey to explain her vote.

17                 SENATOR HINCHEY:   Thank you, 

18    Madam President.  

19                 And I appreciate my colleague's 

20    comments on this bill.

21                 There is a lot of work to be done 

22    still in the utility space, and that's something 

23    I know that everyone in this body is committed 

24    to.  And I wanted to give credit too to 

25    Senator Parker, who has done a lot of work and 


 1    continues to lead the way.

 2                 This bill is a really important 

 3    bill, as a number of years ago the PSC told our 

 4    utility companies across the state that they had 

 5    to send their customers a bill every month, so 

 6    that way people could actually budget and plan 

 7    and make sure that while paying for this utility, 

 8    paying for their heat, they could also manage the 

 9    rest of their finances and their life, as opposed 

10    to having a bill every other month.  

11                 And what some utility companies did 

12    was instead of actually reading the meters every 

13    month, as was expected in that decision by the 

14    PSC, they implemented something called estimated 

15    billing, which then would provide someone an 

16    accurate bill one month and a quote, unquote, 

17    estimated bill the next month.  

18                 And what we have found is that 

19    estimated bill often is not actually estimated on 

20    any fact.  People were getting bills that were 

21    astronomically higher than they owed, and their 

22    accounts were being overdrafted.  They never 

23    actually owed the amount of money they were being 

24    billed.  And even though they may get a credit 

25    back later on, it doesn't change the fact that 


 1    they cannot afford that bill today.

 2                 And so what we have done -- and I 

 3    want to commend many people in my community, 

 4    especially in Ulster County and specifically 

 5    Tyrone Wilson, the human rights commissioner, for 

 6    bringing this issue to our attention last summer.  

 7                 What this bill does is it eliminates 

 8    the practice of estimated billing and actually 

 9    now requires our utilities to provide accurate 

10    meter readings and accurate bills every month so 

11    that people can actually only pay what they owe.  

12    Something pretty simple, but something that is 

13    profoundly important to people across the state 

14    and especially in our community.  

15                 And so while we will continue to 

16    review the practices and the policies of many of 

17    our utility companies to ensure that people are 

18    not being overcharged and that we are actually 

19    providing them the service that they deserve, 

20    this is an important step forward, and I thank my 

21    colleagues for the support on this bill.

22                 Thank you very much.

23                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

24    Hinchey to be recorded in the affirmative.

25                 Announce the results.


 1                 THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 59.

 2                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

 3    is passed.

 4                 THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

 5    302, Senate Print 1180, by Senator Harckham, an 

 6    act to amend Chapter 668 of the Laws of 1977.

 7                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

 8    last section.

 9                 THE SECRETARY:   Section 2.  This 

10    act shall take effect immediately.

11                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

12    roll.

13                 (The Secretary called the roll.)

14                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Announce 

15    the results.

16                 THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 59.

17                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

18    is passed.

19                 THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

20    480, Senate Print 4435, by Senator Fernandez, an 

21    act to amend the Insurance Law and the 

22    Public Health Law.

23                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

24    last section.

25                 THE SECRETARY:   Section 7.  This 


 1    act shall take effect on the 180th day after it 

 2    shall have become a law.

 3                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

 4    roll.

 5                 (The Secretary called the roll.)

 6                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Announce 

 7    the results.

 8                 THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 59.

 9                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

10    is passed.

11                 THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

12    502, Senate Print 4597, by Senator Martinez, 

13    Concurrent Resolution of the Senate and Assembly 

14    proposing an amendment to Section 5 of Article 8 

15    of the Constitution.

16                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

17    roll on the resolution.

18                 (The Secretary called the roll.)

19                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Announce 

20    the results.

21                 THE SECRETARY:   Ayes, 59.

22                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

23    is passed.

24                 THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

25    505, Senate Print 1522, by Senator Persaud, an 


 1    act to amend the Correction Law.

 2                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

 3    last section.

 4                 THE SECRETARY:   Section 4.  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:   Senator 

10    Webb to explain her vote.

11                 SENATOR WEBB:   Thank you, 

12    Madam President.  

13                 I first want to thank you, 

14    Madam President, for bringing this bill to 

15    Women's Issues.  As the chair of that committee 

16    here in the Senate, I was proud to move this 

17    legislation through our committee to allow it to 

18    come before the full Senate for consideration.

19                 This legislations builds upon 

20    actions we have taken here in New York to address 

21    menstrual equity by breaking down barriers and 

22    stigmas regarding menstruation, which is a 

23    natural process within our reproductive system.  

24                 Menstruation is a healthy biological 

25    process and it is not shameful or dirty.  We no 


 1    longer tax menstrual products.  We have made them 

 2    free in public schools, correctional facilities, 

 3    and homeless shelters because menstruating people 

 4    should not have to worry about whether or not 

 5    they can afford products to manage their periods.  

 6    And yes, I'm saying the word "period."

 7                 This bill will further advance 

 8    menstrual equity by removing terms from our laws 

 9    that perpetuate the stigma.  We all know that 

10    words are powerful, and words like "feminine 

11    hygiene" and "sanitary products" that have been 

12    used for years to describe menstrual products, 

13    implies that one's period is shameful rather than 

14    a healthy and normal action of the human body.  

15                 No one should feel embarrassed by 

16    their body, and this bill further removes the 

17    stigma.  And again, I want to commemorate and 

18    extend my appreciation to Senator Persaud for 

19    bringing this bill to the floor.  

20                 I proudly vote aye, and I encourage 

21    my colleagues to do the same.

22                 Thank you.

23                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Senator 

24    Webb to be recorded in the affirmative.

25                 Announce the results.


 1                 THE SECRETARY:   In relation to 

 2    Calendar 505, those Senators voting in the 

 3    negative are Senators Lanza, O'Mara and Ortt.

 4                 Ayes, 56.  Nays, 3.

 5                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

 6    is passed.

 7                 THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

 8    510, Senate Print 4886, by Senator Gianaris, an 

 9    act to amend the Environmental Conservation Law.

10                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

11    last section.

12                 THE SECRETARY:   Section 2.  This 

13    act shall take effect immediately.

14                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

15    roll.

16                 (The Secretary called the roll.)

17                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Announce 

18    the results.

19                 THE SECRETARY:   In relation to 

20    Calendar 510, those Senators voting in the 

21    negative are Senators Ashby, Borrello, Griffo, 

22    Oberacker, O'Mara, Ortt, Palumbo, Rolison, Stec, 

23    Tedisco and Walczyk.

24                 Ayes, 48.  Nays, 11.

25                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 


 1    is passed.

 2                 THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

 3    516, Senate Print 5036, by Senator May, an act to 

 4    amend the Education Law.

 5                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

 6    last section.

 7                 THE SECRETARY:   Section 2.  This 

 8    act shall take effect immediately.  

 9                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

10    roll.

11                 (The Secretary called the roll.)

12                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Announce 

13    the results.

14                 THE SECRETARY:   In relation to 

15    Calendar 516, those Senators voting in the 

16    negative are Senators Lanza and Walczyk.  

17                 Ayes, 57.  Nays, 2.

18                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

19    is passed.

20                 THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

21    517, Senate Print 1398, by Senator Liu, an act to 

22    amend the Administrative Code of the City of 

23    New York.

24                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

25    last section.


 1                 THE SECRETARY:   Section 2.  This 

 2    act shall take effect immediately.  

 3                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

 4    roll.

 5                 (The Secretary called the roll.)

 6                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Announce 

 7    the results.

 8                 THE SECRETARY:   In relation to 

 9    Calendar 517, those Senators voting in the 

10    negative are Senators Ashby, Borrello, Griffo, 

11    Martins, Mattera, Murray, Oberacker, O'Mara, 

12    Ortt, Palumbo, Rhoads, Rolison, Stec, Tedisco, 

13    Walczyk, Weber and Weik.

14                 Ayes, 42.  Nays, 17.

15                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

16    is passed.

17                 THE SECRETARY:   Calendar Number 

18    526, Senate Print 5399, by Senator Hoylman-Sigal, 

19    an act to amend the Public Health Law.

20                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Read the 

21    last section.

22                 THE SECRETARY:   Section 2.  This 

23    act shall take effect immediately.

24                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Call the 

25    roll.


 1                 (The Secretary called the roll.)

 2                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   Announce 

 3    the results.

 4                 THE SECRETARY:   In relation to 

 5    Calendar 526, those Senators voting in the 

 6    negative are Senators Borrello, Griffo, Helming, 

 7    Martins, Mattera, Murray, Oberacker, O'Mara, 

 8    Ortt, Rhoads, Stec, Tedisco, Walczyk, Weber and 

 9    Weik.

10                 Ayes, 44.  Nays, 15.

11                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   The bill 

12    is passed.

13                 Senator Gianaris, that completes the 

14    reading of today's calendar.

15                 SENATOR GIANARIS:   Is there any 

16    further business at the desk?

17                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   There is 

18    no further business at the desk.

19                 SENATOR GIANARIS:   I move to 

20    adjourn until Monday, March 27th, at 3:00 p.m., 

21    with the intervening days being legislative days.

22                 ACTING PRESIDENT PERSAUD:   On 

23    motion, the Senate stands adjourned until Monday, 

24    March 27th, at 3:00 p.m., intervening days being 

25    legislative days.


 1                 (Whereupon, at 12:01 p.m., the 

 2    Senate adjourned.)