E-Mail Newsletter – June 13, 2014

We’re nearing the final few days of this year’s legislative session and there are still a number of big-ticket issues that remain for debate. I remain committed to moving forward legislation that puts the needs of our residents first and will continue to update you as we progress.

Public lewdness legislation passes both houses. The New York State Legislature has passed legislation this week that I first introduced in September to increase penalties and charges for those who commit acts of public lewdness in front of minors and those who are repeat offenders.

With this legislation, penalties will be elevated for indecent exposure to a Class A misdemeanor for those who commit these heinous acts in the presence of children or who have repeatedly committed acts of public lewdness. With the bill now in Governor Cuomo’s hands, my hope is that this legislation – once enacted – will serve as a deterrent for this kind of depravity.

The legislation came as a result of incidents by a repeat offender in September 2013 who had been arrested for committing multiple acts of public lewdness, including the final incident in the presence of two Albany middle school children. The individual was repeatedly arrested for re-offending and released on his own recognizance – only to recommit lewd acts upon release.

Albany’s residential parking system renewed. The Assembly has passed a renewal of a two-year old residential parking system for the City of Albany, allowing for further review of the program's success in alleviating parking problems for Albany residents who live within a one-mile radius of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza. Parking and the lack of it in the City of Albany is a growing problem in many areas of the city. An expanding workforce within the city, the proliferation of a large student population and a lack of driveways for pre-automobile homes has resulted in a glut of automobiles on city streets that causes residents to have tremendous difficulty finding on-street parking in their neighborhood. The Residential Parking Permit allows residents the ability to park near their homes.

Legislation aims on protecting independent workers. The Assembly has approved a bill that would grant the state’s Department of Labor additional oversight to protect independent workers – providing the same protections and compensatory guarantees that traditional employees receive but currently are not available to freelancers.

According to a survey by the Freelancer Union, 3,000 independent contractors spent 17,000 hours pursuing $3 million in owed compensation, forcing these individuals to devote an extraordinary amount of their valuable time to collecting what is owed.

Highlights from the 109th:

Visit the Pine Hollow Arboretum. The Pine Hollow Arboretum is a 25-acre, member-supported, not-for-profit arboretum and nature preserve situated in Slingerlands. The arboretum’s cataloged collection consists of over 3,300 unique trees, shrubs and other woody plants from around the world. This living collection is aesthetically arranged in a natural setting that includes 12 ponds and a natural succession forest. These marvels are all easily accessed by a network of walking trails and bridges throughout the preserve. For more information, visit the Arboretum’s Web site.

Join Me in Events This Weekend:

Star-Spangled Sing-Along. I will be joining Guilderland neighbors at the library for a “Star-Spangled Sing-Along” to commemorate Flag Day. The event, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, will take place on Saturday, June 14 at 4 p.m.at the Guilderland Public Library. Additional details are posted here.

Capital PRIDE Parade and Festival. Join me in marching this Saturday in the Annual Capital PRIDE Parade and Festival at Albany's Washington Park. With tons of great vendors, all types of food and drink, and fun-filled family zone, fire eaters, spinners, face painters, and so much more, the PRIDE Festival is a great family-friendly celebration of the LGBTQ community and their allies! Additional details are posted at their Web site.

Events in and around the 109th:

Free Fishing Days. Each year, the last full weekend in June is designated as Free Fishing Days in New York State. During those two days, anyone can fish New York State waters, and no fishing license is required. This event started in 1991 to allow all people the opportunity to sample the incredible fishing the state has to offer. This year, New York State´s Free Fishing Days are Saturday, June 28 and Sunday, June 29. Here are additional details.

Free performances outside of the Egg. The Egg will be hosting free performances outside of the main entrance to its facility each Wednesday at noon throughout the summer. For more information, visit their Web site.

Free theater in Albany’s Lincoln Park. Free performances of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet will be presented by Steamer 10 Theatre in Lincoln Park this weekend. Additional details are at their Web site.

Job Opportunities: I’ve set up a page on my Assembly website for job announcements and listings that we’ll update periodically. If you know of any job listings, send my office a note.

Capital District Assembly Update: Tune in every Tuesday at 5 p.m. on Channel 17 (for Time Warner Cable subscribers) for the next episode of Capital District Assembly Update, co-hosted by Assemblymember McDonald and me. You can also previous episodes and clips on my Assembly website.

As always, for the latest about my office’s happenings or for upcoming events, please visit my office online, on Facebook, on Twitter, or my Times Union blog. If you would like to reach my office, please feel free to send us a note.

Sincerely ---