Local Government Hearing

This past week, mayors and local government officials from across the State of New York delivered testimony here in Albany for the joint budget hearing on Municipalities, including Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan.

Mayor Sheehan is requesting $12.5 million in state funding a year for five years in order to close a structural fiscal deficit the City currently is facing. She noted that the Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) funding for Albany, at $128 per capita, is less than what other Upstate cities receive.

Should Albany not fill in the gap, the administration would have to look into a sizeable property tax increase as well as a 7.5 percent reduction of labor costs, primarily in public safety and emergency services personnel. Such actions, the Mayor noted, would be a step backwards for the progress Albany is making economically.

I support this request and am actively working Senator Breslin and Assemblymember McDonald for the Capital City PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) and other remedies for such funding.

Family Planned Advocates and Planned Parenthood. I joined Family Planning Advocates of New York at a rally in the Legislative Office Building in support of women’s reproductive health and pro-choice legislation.

Assembly passes Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act. The Assembly passed legislation to require health insurance policies to include coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices, and products, as well as voluntary sterilization procedures, contraceptive education and counseling, and related follow up services and prohibiting a health insurance policy from imposing cost-sharing requirements or other restrictions or delays with respect to this coverage.

Public Hearing Notice on E-Waste. The Assembly Environmental Committee and my Subcommittee on Oversight of the Department of Environment Conversation, for which I am chair of, will be holding a public hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 10:30 a.m. in Hearing Room B in the Legislative Office Building on the topic of E-waste.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste by Weight” reports indicate that the amount of discarded electronic waste, commonly referred to as E-waste, is rising. In 2011, 3.4 million tons of E-waste were generated, up from 1.9 million tons in 2000. E-waste, such as televisions and computers, typically includes harmful chemicals such as lead, cadmium, mercury and flame retardants. In 2010, the Legislature created a statewide electronic equipment reuse and recycling program to encourage recycling and prevent the disposal of E-waste in landfills. This hearing is intended to examine the effectiveness of the State’s E-waste program including collection rates, administration, and manufacturer compliance.

Thanks for an amazing turnout at my Annual Office Open House. Each January, my office hosts an open house to showcase local artwork and to highlight the work that takes place in my office, which serves as both the legislative and district office for the 109th.

The award for best representation by a constituency at the Open House most certainly goes to the directors of all the libraries in the district – along with the trustees in Albany, Altamont, Bethlehem, Guilderland and Voorheesville public libraries. The region’s libraries are an amazing example of municipal organizations who work well together through the State supported Upper Hudson Library System to provide shared collection, information and administrative services. We also welcomed a surprise visit from the new acting Superintendent of the City School District of Albany, Kim Wilkins.

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 ---