E-Mail Newsletter – October 2, 2015

It's been a good week and below are updates on a few recent initiatives.

Urging increased high speed broadband in the Capital Region. Recent discussions about the state of telecommunications across our state present the serious need for increased access to high-speed internet, particularly in our rural and urban areas. Senator Breslin, Assemblyman McDonald, and I sent a letter to the Public Service Commission outlining our concerns regarding development of next generation broadband in our area, while advocating for telecom operators to continue to invest in our region.

Addressing inequities in providing legal services to the indigent & relieving an unfunded mandate. More than 45 counties and several statewide organizations are meeting on Monday in support of my bill to shift the financial burden associated with providing indigent defense from the counties to the state as is done in most other states in this country. Shifting this cost to the state would ensure more equitable representation across the counties and save the counties millions in unfunded mandate.

Fifty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision to guarantee access to legal representation for all, however, the State of New York passed this responsibility on to the counties, where representation has been inequitable and dependent on a particular county's ability to properly finance and administer legal assistance. It is time for the state to assist these localities while providing legal representation in a more just and equitable manner. The cost-savings is expected to be considerable in that pre-trial incarceration is reduced and will save in jail costs.

UAlbany, Albany Law announce affiliation agreement. I joined University at Albany, Albany Law School, fellow elected officials, and community leaders in announcing an affiliation agreement between these institutions. I commend both the Albany Law School and UAlbany for their foresight and for recognizing their respective institutions are strengthened by full collaboration to expand student opportunities in both schools. I applaud this initiative and am confident it will benefit the students and faculty and be of long term success in both institutions.

Update on ridesharing legislation. A group of Upstate legislators, including myself, sent a letter to Governor Cuomo to indicate our support to bring e-hail, ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft to our region. This follows up on legislation I co-sponsored this year that would provide an insurance law to allow for transportation network companies (TNCs) to operate in New York State outside of New York City.

These efforts would also need to be tied into looking into ways to have private transportation companies to become more ADA-compliant and more accommodating to disability riders.

Reimagining Albany High School tours. The City School District of Albany will hold public tours of Albany High School on four dates in October, allowing members of the community to learn more about the upcoming vote to renovate and rebuild the school.

The tours will be held:

+ Saturday, Oct. 10, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (final tour begins at 10:30 a.m.)

+ Tuesday, Oct. 13, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. (final tour begins at 7 p.m.)

+ Monday, Oct. 19, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. (final tour begins at 7 p.m.)

+ Monday, Oct. 26, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. (final tour begins at 7 p.m.)

To learn more about the project, click here.

Guilderland recycling event. The Guilderland Central School District, in conjunction with Albany County’s Live Life Local event, will be hosting a Fall Recycling Extravaganza on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Farnsworth Middle School in Guilderland.

This is a community-wide event and is open to both residents and non-residents of the school district. This is the district's 10th Recycling Extravaganza, and new this year, the district will be partnering with Albany County.

In the past, each Recycling Extravaganza has generated more than $2,000 in revenue for the district and has diverted over 70,000 pounds of materials from the landfill. For more information on the upcoming Recycling Extravaganza, click here.

Albany Craft Beverage Trail. Albany’s four craft beverage producers have formed the Albany Craft Beverage Trail, celebrating the city’s heritage in beverage production. To kick off the trail, they are hosting a launch event at Quackenbush Square on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Advance tickets and more information can be found at drinkalbany.org.

Job Opportunities: New York State has setup a new job portal entitled Jobs Express, where thousands of private and public sector jobs are listed. Visit jobs.ny.gov for more information on how to apply for these opportunities.

As always, for the latest news 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 ---