Assembly Passes Indigent Legal Services

This week, the Assembly unanimously passed legislation I sponsored that will address funding of indigent legal services (ILS) by the State of New York! The legislation will require the state to reimburse counties and cities for the full amount of indigent legal services.

This was a landmark US Supreme ruling 50 years ago and this bill marks a tremendous chapter in moving New York forward in fully realizing this constitutional here in New York State by providing equitable treatment for the accused and providing serious mandate relief for counties. This may also lead to cost savings if better legal representation leads to reduced pre-trial incarceration.

Counties are currently responsible for funding indigent legal services; however, many of them do not have effective systems of supervising caseloads nor standards to ensure comparable compensation for defenders. The bill will amend the law to provide for the state to take over full funding of the program in seven years hand relieve all counties of this fiscal mandate.

A particular thanks to Albany County Executive Dan McCoy and former Judge Larry Rosen for bringing this issue to my attention, which will ultimately save local government millions of dollars. I look forward to working with Senator DeFrancisco, the sponsor of the Senate’s version of the bill, to ensure its final passage this session.

Climate and Community Protection Act. The Assembly announced the passage of legislation I co-sponsored to address the impact of climate change in New York.

The NYS Climate and Community Protection Act would help put New York on track to minimize the adverse effects of climate change through a combination of measures aimed at reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions and improving the state's resiliency against future extreme weather events. Read more here via the Assembly’s website.

Empire State Plaza steps reopen. The steps leading up to the Cultural Education Center at the Empire State Plaza have reopened to the public after renovation – right in time for the June 15 kickoff of the Summer at the Plaza concert series. Visit for more information.

38th annual Freihofer’s Run for Women. Saturday marks an event I look forward running in each year, the Freihofer’s Run for Women. Be sure to wave me on! This event, nearly 40 years in the making, will start near the New York State Capitol and end in front of City Hall. More information can be found here.

High school teacher establishes refugee scholarship fund. Check out this national Fox News story about Albany High School English teacher Brian Huskie's efforts -- including last weekend's 25-mile fund-raising walk -- to help establish a University at Albany scholarship fund for refugee students.

Art on Lark postponed. The Lark Street BID has announced that it will postpone their annual arts and crafts street fair, Art on Lark, to Saturday, July 16. The original date was to be this Sunday, June 5.

The event is being postponed out of an abundance of caution due to the most recent weather forecast, which calls for a high probability of thunderstorms and inclement weather. For more information, visit

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 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 ---