Friday, June 10, 2011

West Wing Week: 06/10/11 or "Way to Get Our Money Back"

This week President Obama traveled to Toledo, Ohio, home to Chrysler's Supplier Park Complex. to congratulate auto-workers on the turnaround they helped bring about. At Northern Virginia Community College the President announced new initiatives that will help improve our manufacturing workforce. He also welcomed Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany for an official visit.

President Obama to Travel to Puerto Rico

First Official Visit by Sitting U.S. President Since JFK

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On June 14th, President Obama will travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico for the first official visit by a sitting U.S. President to the island since President Kennedy visited in 1961.

The visit follows a comprehensive report of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status, which was delivered to the President and Congress in March of 2011.
The report provided a meaningful way forward on the question of status while making significant recommendations important to Puerto Rico’s economic development including promoting job creation, education, health care, and clean energy on the island.

The report, the result of an Executive Order President Obama signed in October of 2009 updating and broadening the
functions of the task force, is available online HERE.

Image source: Wikipedia
Author: Madden
Permission: Public Domain

Albany Update: JCC Nominations

Cuomo Names Picks for Judicial Compensation Commission

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced the following nominations to the Judicial Compensation Commission.

Bill Thompson will serve as Chair of the Judicial Compensation Commission. Currently, Thompson is the Chief Administrative Officer/Senior Managing Director at Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. In addition, he is the Chair of the Battery Park City Authority.

From 2002 to 2009, Thompson served as Comptroller of New York City. Before being elected to public office, he was appointed to be Brooklyn's representative to the New York City Board of Education, where he later became President for five terms.

In 1993, he was the Senior Vice President at an investment firm. From 1983-1992, Thompson was the Deputy Borough President of Brooklyn. He is a graduate of New York City Public Schools and Tufts University.

Rick Cotton is the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of NBC-Universal and Chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coalition against Counterfeiting and Piracy. Cotton has been at NBC for more than 20 years, serving as General Counsel except for his service as president and Managing Director of CNBC Europe from 2000 to 2004.

Prior to NBC, during the 1980's, he practiced law in Washington, DC, and then served as the President and CEO of HCX, Inc., a Washington-based management company. During the late 1970's, Cotton held several high-level positions in the U.S. Departments of Health, Education, and Welfare and Energy.

Bill Mulrow is the Senior Managing Director at Blackstone. He has also been Chairman of Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC since August 2007. He was a Director of the Federal Home Loan Bank in New York City, the Municipal Assistance Corporation and the United Nations Development Corporation.

In addition, Mulrow has served on the Boards of several academic institutions including the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Maxwell School for Public Affairs at Syracuse University and the Fordham Preparatory School in the Bronx. He earned his BA from Yale University and his MPA from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Established by Governor Paterson in 2010, the Judicial Compensation Commission is an independent entity tasked with examining, evaluating and recommending adequate pay for New York State judges. The Commission is comprised of seven appointed members- three are nominated by the Governor, two by the New York State Chief Judge, one by the President Pro-tem of the New York State Senate and one by the Speaker of the Assembly.

Cuomo: 'Distracted Driving is Nothing Less Than a Lethal Activity'

New Legislation Would Impose Unprecedented Penalties for Drivers Using Portable Electronic Devices

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced he will introduce new legislation that will crack down on drivers caught using a portable electronic device including blackberrys, iPhones, i-pads, laptop computers, gaming devices and any other portable device, or talking on a cell phone without a hands free device, while driving.

The bill would impose unprecedented penalties drivers caught using such a device by adding three points on a driver's license in order to curb the dramatic rise of this dangerous activity. Governor Cuomo's legislation would also make driving while using any portable electronic device a primary, rather than just a secondary offense, meaning that drivers can now be stopped solely if they are found to be using such a device while driving.

"Every day, countless drivers, particularly teenagers and young adults, drive with their eyes on a screen rather than the road," Governor Cuomo said.

"Distracted driving is nothing less than a lethal activity for the driver themselves, other drivers on the road, and pedestrians. Current warnings, educational programs, and driving laws aren't working. We need to impose a true deterrent to stop people from driving while using an electronic device and to keep our roads and citizens safe."

Current law makes driving while using a portable electronic device only a secondary offense, which means in order for a person to be ticketed for the offense, the driver must have committed a primary enforcement offense such as speeding, disobeying a traffic signal or other violation. The penalty for a violation of this law is a fine of up to $150.

In addition to increasing the penalty from two to three points, the legislation would also require that distracted driving be included as part of the defensive driving curriculum. Governor Cuomo is working with both houses of the legislature, which have introduced their own legislation cracking down on texting while driving, to see comprehensive legislation passed by the end of this legislative session.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 16% of fatal accidents in 2009 were due to distracted driving and 20% of people injured during a crash were involved in a crash where distracted driving was reported.

A study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that truck drivers who were texting were 23 times more at risk of a crash or near crash, while another study compared reaction times when a driver was texting to when a driver was intoxicated, and found that the reaction time while texting was worse

A National Insurance study estimated 20% of all drivers, and 66% of drivers aged 18 to 24, are sending or receiving text messages while behind the wheel, leaving our young drivers most vulnerable. Several fatal accidents in this state have highlighted this fact including the 2007 accident in which 7 teens were killed in suburban Rochester.

Photo Source: Ed Brown
Author: Ed Brown

Thursday, June 9, 2011

White House Briefs

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney addresses the press from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.

Albany Update: Ethics Reform Legislation

Governor Andrew Cuomo and other prominent figures discuss the impact the newly enacted ethics reform legislation will have on the state of New York and government.

Cuomo: 'The Current Tuition System Does Not Serve Our Students, Schools or State'

Governor Introduces Bill to Implement the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program

Governor Andrew Cuomo has introduced legislation to implement the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program - a joint program between the Governor and State University of New York (SUNY) - that will incentivize bottom-up, individualized long-term economic development plans on SUNY campuses and the surrounding communities.

The NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program will enhance SUNY's academic mission while maintaining affordability and placing college campuses across New York at the center of the state's regionally-based economic revitalization strategy.

The bill includes the authority for Empire State Development to issue $80 million in capital funding under the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program.

The bill authorizes all SUNY campuses to implement a rational tuition plan that gives them the ability to raise tuition up to five percent annually for five years. In addition, as a component of the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, it allows the four University Centers in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, and Stony Brook to implement a "Rational Plus Plan" which allows an additional three percent tuition increase, subject to the approval of the University Centers' application under NYSUNY 2020 by the Governor and SUNY Chancellor.

The increases will help build these institutions into regional economic development generators and world-class centers of research and innovation. Increases will also allow schools to add more faculty, educate additional students, increase class offerings and improve graduation rates. The plan also allows students and parents to better plan for college expenses, and places SUNY at the center of New York's economic revitalization.

In order to ensure affordability to students and families this legislation would help students and families with the cost increases. Students who are eligible for the maximum Tuition Assistance Program ("TAP") award will not be subject to a tuition increase under the five year rational tuition plan. Moreover, the SUNY Board of Trustees will be required to create a revolving loan fund to provide low interest loans to students.

Finally, as a condition of approval under the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program the University Centers are required to include other financial aid plans to qualify for the "Rational Plus" program.

"The current tuition system does not serve our students, schools, or state," Governor Cuomo said.

"This bill brings rationality to the SUNY tuition system, by allowing students and parents to reasonably plan for college expenses, instead of being subject to dramatic tuition increases and uncertainty. By offering $140 million in new capital funding to our state's leading universities, we are building these schools into America's leading institutions of research and innovation, while also creating jobs for New Yorkers and improving our state's economic competitiveness."

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, "Governor Cuomo is fulfilling the promise he made to New Yorkers in his State of the State address by submitting legislation that positions SUNY to be a key driver of our state's economic recovery. Furthermore, rational tuition will allow SUNY to flourish while protecting access for New Yorkers and providing students with the resources they need to complete their degrees on time. Governor Cuomo is proving himself to be a staunch advocate and supporter of public higher education."

"This legislation is important news for economic development in New York State. SUNY institutions play a critical in their local economies. This initiative will strengthen the connections between cutting-edge SUNY research, local business development and job creation. In addition, establishing a rational tuition policy for SUNY will enhance the universities' roles as economic drivers in their local communities and throughout the state," stated Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams.

SUNY Student Assembly President Kaitlyn Beachner also praised the legislation by stating, Governor Cuomo's decision to introduce legislation that creates a rational tuition plan shows his dedication to respecting the voice of SUNY students. For the past three years the SUNY Student Assembly has been asking for Albany's support to bring an end to the politicization of SUNY tuition, which places an undue burden on students and their families around the state. We applaud the Governor's effort to end the harsh tuition spikes that have been detrimental to SUNY's accessibility. By having the SUNY Board of Trustee's establish a revolving loan fund at a low interest rate and ensuring the protection of those students who fully depend on the Tuition Assistance Program, the accessibility for all students remains intact despite potential tuition increases. I look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature towards the enactment of a final tuition plan that will benefit all students in the State University of New York. I am delighted that the students of SUNY have found a new partner in Governor Andrew Cuomo."

"On behalf of New York's 220,000 unionized construction workers, the NYS Building & Construction Trades Council is excited to learn about the Governor's NYSUNY 2020 program that has the potential to create thousands of jobs – great news for our industry which is experiencing unemployment rates between 20-60 percent across the state. Over the last 18 months, the Building Trades have worked hard with SUNY over to ensure that labor protections and good-paying jobs for New Yorkers are part of this effort, and are proud to be a part of it," proclaimed Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams.

Currently, the 20 year average annual SUNY tuition increase is 6.7 percent, well above that proposed in the rational tuition plan. Under the existing system, there are periods without tuition increases followed by sudden and dramatic spikes in tuition of upwards of 40 percent. Such spikes and uncertainty in tuition is detrimental to students, families, and the university system.

Provisions in the legislation include: Authorizing all SUNY campuses to implement a rational tuition plan by increasing tuition five percent annually for five years; authorizing University Centers to implement a rational plus tuition plan by including an additional three percent increase annually for five years conditioned on the approval of their NYSUNY 2020 applications by the Governor and SUNY Chancellor; requiring that any tuition increase under the five year rational tuition does not apply to students eligible for maximum TAP award; creating a State University Low Interest Revolving Loan Fund; requiring conflict of interest policies for implementation of NYSUNY Challenge Grant Program; and authorizing the Empire State Development Corporation to issue $80 million in bond proceeds to implement NY-SUNY Challenge Grant Program.

The bill is available here. The bill memo is available here.

The following statements were also provided in support of the governor's decision.

"UAlbany supports and applauds Governor Cuomo's efforts to build on the academic and research strengths of the four SUNY University Centers to stimulate greater economic growth in New York State. The Governor's NYSUNY 2020 challenge grant program is an important initiative closely coupled with the need for tuition flexibility, which will allow the University at Albany to grow its academic enterprise, create jobs, attract research funding, and spur economic growth in the Capital Region. UAlbany pledges that along with tuition flexibility it will fulfill its responsibility to maintain accessibility to students with financial need."

University at Albany President George M. Philip

"I commend Governor Cuomo for supporting a rational tuition plan. Predictability and planning is essential when providing a college education. The plan will support the SUNY goals of access, affordability, and completion. On behalf of the Alfred State College family, thank you Governor Cuomo, for recognizing the needs of SUNY's students; supporting a rational tuition plan allows SUNY to continue to provide high quality education at an affordable price."

Alfred State College President John Anderson

"We commend and thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to the SUNY system. His visionary leadership in supporting a rational tuition and tuition plus program will give Binghamton University the tools and resources we need to provide the kind of quality educational experience that New Yorkers expect and deserve from us. We are also proud to be a partner in the NYSUNY2020 initiative. Binghamton University has laid out an ambitious community oriented, community driven agenda that will enable us to leverage our academic excellence, cutting-edge research and economic development initiatives to jump-start a new era of powerful and productive returns to the Southern Tier and New York state."

Binghamton University President C. Peter Magrath

"I commend Governor Cuomo for his visionary leadership in recognizing the State University of New York as a partner in the revitalization of this great state. A five-year rational tuition plan such as the governor supports will allow students and parents to better plan for the costs of attending college and will give The College at Brockport greater ability to provide a more complete educational experience."

College at Brockport President John R. Halstead

"We have a tremendous advocate for higher education in Governor Andrew Cuomo. I would like to thank him for his leadership on behalf of the State University of New York. A responsible, predictable and fair tuition policy is in the best interest of today's students, future students and all citizens of New York. And it is absolutely the right decision for Buffalo State and its people. A plan of rational annual tuition increases is the best means of ensuring that future generations have access to high-quality public higher education and that communities such as ours grow a population ready for the world of the 21st century."

Buffalo State College President Aaron Podolefsky

"We commend the governor for his vision and commitment to public higher education. With this legislation, we, at the University at Buffalo, will be able to ensure our students are provided the highest quality education so that they may achieve their academic and career aspirations. Quite importantly, this predictable tuition program provides students and families with the ability to financially plan for their education and, at the same time, protects access for students with financial need."

University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi

"Governor Andrew Cuomo has provided insightful leadership on behalf of the SUNY System. His support of the rational tuition plan will help SUNY Canton continue to grow and develop. This plan will enable our students and their families to predict and budget for the future while maintaining accessibility and affordability."

SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy

"Among its many benefits, a rational tuition plan will permit families to plan ahead with certainty for college education. Governor Cuomo is to be commended for his support of SUNY's plan, which is so important to maintaining New York's place as the Empire State."

SUNY Cobleskill President Donald P. Zingale

"I salute and commend our Governor on his support for a Rational Tuition Policy. This encourages an effective partnership between New York families and our state universities and colleges, for it allows our students to have a predictable and fair understanding of what it will cost to receive a college education. Moreover, it will bolster access and permit students to complete their degrees in four years. I believe that this new policy will help thousands of New Yorkers achieve their dreams of attending the college of their choice."

SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum

"I applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership in supporting a rational tuition policy for the State University of New York. A tuition policy that is affordable and predictable was strongly endorsed by our Student Senate this year. They understand how important planning for the cost of a college education is for our students and their families because 30 percent of Delhi students come from households with incomes less than $30,000. They also realize that any additional tuition revenues will be used to ensure students have access to the courses they need to graduate on time."

SUNY Delhi President Candace Vancko

"Having a rational tuition plan has long been a goal for the University. To sustain higher education, to ensure its quality and affordability, and to make certain it is available for underserved communities, there must be a predictable source of revenue. Rational tuition will make it much easier for students and families to set educational goals. We thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in helping to meet these objectives."

SUNY Downstate Medical Center President John C. LaRosa

"Ever since he gave his first State of the State Address, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has recognized and articulated the positive impact and even greater potential the State University of New York has in advancing the economy and people of this great state. The governor has come out in support of a rational tuition plan, which would ensure accessibility, affordability and predictability for public higher education. Further, a five-year plan ensures SUNY of the resources necessary to accomplish its mission. Governor Cuomo is to be commended for immediately seeing the value of SUNY and for his leadership in advancing public higher education across the state."

SUNY Empire State College President Alan R. Davis

First Lady Michelle Obama Unveils Lets Move! Child Care

The First Lady Michelle Obama travelled to Centronia, a bilingual childcare center in Washington D.C., to tour the facility and unveil her new initiative, Lets Move! Child Care, to ensure a healthy start for the youngest children of America.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In Memoriam.....Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bradley J. Gaudet and Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kenneth R. White

From the Executive Chamber of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Friday, June 10 in honor of two Fort Drum soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan on June 5.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bradley J. Gaudet and Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kenneth R. White died when their OH-58 Kiowa helicopter crashed in Khost province. The two men were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Gaudet was from Gladewater, Texas. Chief Warrant Officer 3 White was from Fort Collins, Colorado.

"I join with all New Yorkers in extending our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and fellow soldiers of Chief Warrant Officers Bradley Gaudet and Kenneth White," Governor Cuomo said.

"These fallen soldiers were stationed at Fort Drum. We mourn their passing and we remember their service to our nation with pride."

From The G-Man would like to take this opportunity to honor Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bradley J. Gaudet and Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kenneth R. White
, their love of country and their service with the following video tribute. May they rest in peace.

Video uploaded to YouTube by moderatepopulist

Cuomo Introduces Pension Reform Legislation

New Pension Tier Will Increase Retirement Age and Require Greater Employee Contributions for New Hires

Governor Andrew Cuomo has introduced pension reform legislation that would impose a new Tier VI for future employees and save taxpayers $93 billion over the next 30 years, a figure that does not include New York City.

These reforms will reduce costs for local governments and schools and help get control of local property taxes for homeowners and businesses across the state. The bill also includes, at the request of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a separate pension reform proposal for New York City and the uniformed services.

The new pension tier will increase the retirement age for new employees from 62 to 65, increase employee pension contributions and end so-called pension padding where employees accumulate substantial amounts of overtime in their final years of service to increase their pension.

"The numbers speak for themselves – the pension system as we know it is unsustainable," Governor Cuomo said.

"This bill institutes common-sense reforms to bring government benefits more in line with the private sector while still serving our employees and protecting our retirees. Reducing the skyrocketing pension burden faced by local governments and schools will also help get control of local property taxes that are driving New Yorkers from their homes and from the state."

Since 2001, pension contributions by the state, local governments and schools increased from $368 million to $6.6 billion outside New York City. During the same period for New York City, pension costs increased from $1.1 billion to $8.4 billion. This level of growth raises property taxes and impacts government's ability to provide services.

Provisions in the legislation include the following: Raising the retirement age from 62 to 65, ending early retirement, requiring employees to contribute six percent of their salary for the duration of their career, providing a 1.67 percent annual pension multiplier, vesting after 12 years instead of 10 years, excluding overtime from final average salary, using a five year final average salary calculation with an 8 percent anti-spiking cap, excluding wages above the Governor's salary of $179,000 from the final average salary calculation, eliminating lump sum payouts for unused vacation leave from the final average salary calculation, and prohibiting the use of unused sick leave for additional service credit at retirement.

The reform of the state pension system would impact new hires by the state and local governments, including school districts. The City pension reform plan would cover new employees of New York City, including the uniformed services.

The bill is available here. The bill memo is available here.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, "We have, for the last six months, been engaging with stakeholders in City and State government and our partners in municipal labor, on a vital question we've raised for years: how to protect both city services and the strength of our retirement funds over the long term. The Governor's bill will do just that -- by making sensible pension reforms that won't impact a single current employee or existing retiree, this legislation will create $30 billion in savings over the next 30 years for the City, which will ensure we can afford the services and workforce that City residents depend on, and provide a secure retirement for municipal employees long into the future."

"Rapidly rising pension costs have squeezed the budgets of every government in New York State and contributed to New York’s high tax burden. New York needs an affordable pension plan that reflects current economic times and can be sustained over the long term. Governor Cuomo’s proposal for a new tier is fiscally responsible and would provide significant relief to taxpayers and local governments, " stated Carol Kellermann, President of the Citizens Budget Commission.

Stephen J. Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties, noted, "Pension costs are projected to rise at unsustainable rates for public employers and their taxpayers. Governor Cuomo's Tier VI measure will provide much-needed long-term relief while still protecting the financial integrity of the retirement system. NYSAC supports the Governor's proposal which will modernize the State's pension system and provide efficiency and stability to ease the local burden of skyrocketing pension costs."

"Governor Cuomo's proposal to add a new Tier to the pension system is good news for local governments and their property taxpayers. The cost of the public pension system has grown out of control, and we need to take proactive steps to rein it in. This plan will ultimately save billions in taxpayer dollars while providing a stable, secure retirement system for public employees. We look forward to seeing the Governor's bill pass this session," said Peter Baynes, Executive Director of the New York Conference of Mayors, said,

Timothy G. Kremer, Executive Director of the New York State School Boards Association, also lauded the legislation, "School districts have been punished by escalating pension costs for the last several years. The current retirement systems are no longer sustainable. Saving $93 billion over time will provide welcome relief to school districts and taxpayers struggling to make ends meet."

Robert J. Reidy, Jr., Ph.D., Executive Director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents said, "Governor Cuomo's measure to rein in pension costs is commendable. In recent years, most school districts have had to freeze or cut all other spending to absorb steep pension cost increases. This plan will save billions in taxpayer dollars and provide much-needed relief to school districts all over New York state."

Image courtesy of

State Dinner for German Chancellor Merkel

President Obama exchanges toasts with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and presents her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a state dinner in the Rose Garden.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In Memoriam......Army Specialist Devin Snyder

From the Executive Chamber of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Thursday, June 9 in honor of a soldier from Cohocton who was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 4.

Army Specialist Devin Snyder died of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device struck her vehicle during a mounted patrol in Lagham province. She was assigned to the 164th Military Police Company, of the 793rd Military Police Battalion, part of the 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

"On behalf of all New Yorkers, I express our sympathy to the family, friends, and fellow soldiers of Specialist Devin Snyder," Governor Cuomo said. "We join with them in mourning her death and honoring her dedication and service to our nation."

From The G-Man would like to take this opportunity to honor Specialist Devin Snyder
, her love of country and her service with the following video tribute.

Video uploaded to YouTube by moderatepopulist

S. 782 – Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2011


S. 782 – Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2011
(Sen. Boxer, D-California, and 4 cosponsors)

The Administration supports Senate passage of S. 782. The bill provides the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) with important tools to help America’s communities meet the challenges of innovation-led economic growth. However, the bill would authorize spending levels higher than those requested by the President’s Budget, and the Administration believes that the need for smart investments that help America win the future must be balanced with the need to control spending and reduce the deficit. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to enact legislation that helps EDA enhance its mission of assisting America’s distressed communities in forging partnerships with the private sector to create jobs.

Image courtesy of

Monday, June 6, 2011

White House Briefs

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

Addabbo Bill Seeks to End Abuse of Seniors

Mandates Domestic Violence Prevention Programs in Senior Centers

NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr., (D-Queens) a member of the Senate’s Committee on the Aging, announced a measure that recently passed the Senate with unanimous support.

Bill S.4235, if enacted into law, would direct the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence to develop domestic violence prevention programs for utilization by senior centers throughout the state. The bill would amend the executive law to incorporate this new vital requirement for senior citizens.

Senator Addabbo praised the intent of the bill and called on the Assembly to take further action on moving the bill.

“It is important to remain both mindful and aware of the occurrences of domestic violence among seniors. A well informed and educated senior versed on prevention methods can save such an older adult’s life and reduce the risk of tragedy.”

Addabbo pointed to senior centers as gathering places for many seniors in the community, and felt it was a logical place for domestic violence prevention programs to be offered.

Although domestic violence prevention programs are in existence, few if any meet the needs of our older adults.

“Far too often, seniors are reluctant to seek help when it comes to sensitive issues. Establishing and promoting domestic violence prevention programs at senior centers is ideal,” stated Addabbo.

Should the legislation advance and pass the Assembly, the Governor will have 10 days to deliberate if the bill should become law. If the bill is enacted, it takes effect immediately.

Addabbo concluded, “I am hopeful this bill will reduce the growing problem of elder abuse in New York and improve the protection of seniors against domestic violence abusers.”

Bill S1242: Using a Governmental Agency to Harass Individuals Would Be a Crime

Legislation Unanimously Passes the Senate 54-0

NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens) announced the bipartisan passage of one of his pieces of legislation in the Senate (S1242), which will define the use of a governmental agency to harass another individual to fall within the crime of aggravated harassment in the second degree.

Addabbo praised his bill’s passing in the Senate, noting that he got the idea for the bill from constituents who complained to him about being harassed, without reason, by their neighbors. The bill passed the Senate unanimously (54-0) and a vote is pending in the Assembly.

“Neighbors and other members of a surrounding community should not have to live with fear of being inundated with unwarranted harassing messages and visits from governmental agencies and inspectors,” said Addabbo.

“This legislation reduces the threat of enlisting governmental agencies to seek and rectify false claims by holding those individuals liable who target others with intent to threaten and alarm.”

The Senator also mentioned that while both the city and state are facing tough economic times, neither can afford to waste money and resources on false accusations.

Examples of harassment can comprise a neighbor calling a city or state departmental agency on another individual to justify a false claim against that individual, to the placement of false complaints regarding illegal dumping of resources into a neighboring reservoir.

A person is found guilty of aggravated harassment in the second degree when that individual harasses, annoys, threatens or alarms another through physical or verbal means.

Said Addabbo, “Each unfounded claim becomes a waste of taxpayer time and money, for an inspector must invest time and effort to investigate the false claim.”

Addabbo concluded, “Should this bill become law, I plan on working with the appropriate agencies to ensure individuals are no longer subjected to misconceived threats.”

Image courtesy of

Resorts World New York Offers Hope to Unemployed

'Aqueduct Racino' Will Serve as Site for New Job Center

New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens), released the following statement on today’s opening of the Resorts World New York Job Center:

I appreciate the professional efforts of Genting New York and the fulfillment of another promise made to the community with the opening of a Job Center at the site of the Aqueduct Racino, Resorts World New York. While I believe that the demand for jobs citywide greatly exceeds the supply of job opportunities, I am grateful for Genting’s emphasis on local hiring.

Through the opening of the onsite job center and its Web site,, Genting has provided qualified residents with the means of applying for employment at Resorts World New York. I look forward to meeting with Genting monthly to address various issues in addition to jobs, which include public safety and traffic patterns, and always respect their commitment to adhering to the concerns of my constituents.