Winding Down This Year's Legislative Session

This week was a frenzied one before the scheduled end of this year’s legislative session on Thursday, June 16. A tremendous amount of work is underway on hundreds of bills still in play before legislators leave Albany.

Here are some legislative highlights from this past week:

Parking permit system for Albany renewed by Assembly. This week, the Assembly passed my bill to renew the 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 Empire State Plaza. Parking in the City of Albany is a problem and the Residential Parking Permit allows residents the ability to park near their homes.

Farm cideries to serve New York State-made beer, wine, and spirits by the glass. The Assembly passed legislation I sponsored to allow for licensed farm cideries to serve New York State-made beer, wine, and spirits by the glass at their facilities. Presently, farm cideries would have to apply for an additional farm brewery, winery, or distiller license in order to serve these kinds of beverages on premises. The Senate version of this bill, sponsored by Senator George Amedore, passed as well and now heads to the Governor for his signature.

Capitol Pressroom interview on indigent legal services. Senator John A. DeFrancisco and I spoke with WCNY’s Susan Arbetter about our bill (which passed the Assembly) to improve services and provide significant mandate relief for upstate counties as they provide indigent legal services (ILS).

Providing information for victims of military sexual trauma. The Assembly has passed for the third consecutive year legislation that I’ve sponsored to require the further dissemination of information to veterans who have been traumatized by military sexual abuse. The bill requires these documents to be available on the Office of Mental Health and the Division of Veterans Affairs websites where they can seek treatment and counseling for Military Sexual Trauma.

New York State DREAM Act. The Assembly passed the New York State Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act to ensure college-bound undocumented students with have a fair shot at a prosperous future (A.4311-A). The legislation grants these students access to state tuition assistance, scholarships and educational opportunity programs and establishes a private scholarship fund (the DREAM Fund) to help with financial planning for college. Read more via the Assembly website.

And here are highlights from across the 109th:

Capital PRIDE. This weekend marks the annual Capital PRIDE parade and festival taking place in Albany on Saturday and Sunday. The parade kicks off in Washington Park at noon on Saturday before routing down State Street, Lark Street, and Madison Avenue. The festival will take place within the park until 5 p.m. For more information, visit the Capital PRIDE Web site.

Alive at Five. The City of Albany’s annual summer concert series, Alive at Five, begins this week. Each Thursday starting at 5 p.m. through early August, the City hosts free concerts featuring local and well-known recording acts. This year, the location of the concerts has been moved to Tricentennial Park due to improvements being made to the Corning Preserve. For more information, visit the Albany Events Web site.

Business openings. I had the pleasure of attending the openings of two businesses along Lark Street in Albany recently - the new Savoy Taproom at 301 Lark Street, Albany and Berben & Wolff's Vegan Deli at 227 Lark Street, Albany. Kudos to the owners who have taken these spaces over and best of luck!

Torch Run for Special Olympics. I was honored to join law enforcement from across the area at the end of the 30th annual New York State Torch Run. The Torch Run is the largest grassroots fundraiser for Special Olympics New York. I commend our law enforcement officers for their services each day, but with a special thanks for their role as "The Guardians of the Flame" in raising money for this cherished organization.

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 ---