Assemblymember Daniel O'Donnell
Community Newsletter
Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell
Manhattan Valley box Morningside Heights
Upper West Side box West Harlem

Assembly Member O’Donnell’s

Co-Sponsored with
Assembly Member Keith Wright

State Office Building 163 W. 125th Street @ Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd.

Come learn important information on a variety of health topics, including issues that specifically affect women and men, as well as nutrition facts and tips on leading a healthy lifestyle. There will also be a Q&A session at each event where you can ask questions to the speakers.

Wednesday, April 20th, 6 – 8PM
Women’s Health

Breast & Ovarian Cancer
presented by SHARE
(Self-Help for Women with Breast or Ovarian Cancer)
Heart Disease
presented by
Dr. Donzella Dixon & the William F. Ryan Community Health Center

Thursday, May 5th, 6 – 8PM

presented by Cornell University Cooperative Extension

Thursday, May 12th, 6 – 8PM
Men’s Health

presented by Harlem Hospital Center


La oficina de la comunidad del asambleísta O’Donnell tiene disponible empleados que hablan español para asistir al público tiempo completo, lunes a viernes de 9:00 AM a 5:30 PM. La oficina está localizada en el 245 West 104th Street, cerca de Broadway. También pueden llamar a la oficina en horas laborables al 212-866-3970.

Recuerden que nuestro noticiario está disponible en español. Para obtener una copia favor de comunicarse con la oficina del asambleísta Daniel O’Donnell.

Assembly Member O’Donnell meeting in February with New York City public school students about the Summer Youth Employment program.

A Note from
Assembly Member O’Donnell
on the State Budget

As you know, the Assembly plays an integral role in the passage of each year’s state budget. This budget decides how the state will allocate funding for the coming fiscal year, including for education, healthcare, social services, regulatory agencies, and all other services provided by New York State. However, getting to the final budget can be a long and complicated process.

Each year, the process begins when the governor presents an Executive budget proposal to the Assembly and Senate. The governor alone has the authority to put forward a budget that can be passed into law. This year, Governor Cuomo put forward his Executive budget proposal on February 1st. Following this proposal, both the Assembly and Senate began to examine the bill, determine where they believe changes need to be made, and negotiate over what will be kept and what will be changed in order to be acceptable to both houses.

However, the ability of the Legislature to make changes to a major section of the governor’s budget, known as the “appropriations bill,” is constrained by the State Constitution. The Constitution declares the two houses “may not alter an appropriation bill submitted by the governor except to strike out or reduce items therein.” This means that for this section of the budget, the Legislature cannot increase or reallocate funding items that the governor has designated for a specific purpose.

The Legislature may, however, include new appropriation lines for items not dealt with by the governor in the budget, so long as they are not acting in substitution for another. If there are portions of the appropriations bill for which the Legislature negotiates a change with the Governor but lacks the power to make the change itself, the Governor then can resubmit a new version of the budget.

Finally, once negotiations are complete and the bills are approved by the Legislature, items submitted by the Governor automatically become law and do not need to return to the governor for his signature in the way all other bills need to do. However, should the governor find new items of appropriations added by the legislature unacceptable, he is able to veto those sections. If the vetoes are not overridden by the Legislature, the budget is enacted as-is. The budget is due by April 1st, the start of the new fiscal year. 

This year, our state faces a $10 billion deficit. There are no easy ways to bridge this gap. Under the Governor’s proposed Executive budget, funding for schools and social services such as healthcare for the sick or elderly would be cut dramatically. While I believe sacrifices are inevitable, this budgetary pain must be shared among all residents of New York, including our wealthiest citizens.

On January 18th, I circulated a memo to my colleagues calling on them to maintain the income tax surcharge on New York’s wealthiest citizens that is due to sunset this year. I believe income taxes remain a key opportunity to take a progressive stance and ensure sacrifice is shared among all residents of our state, not simply borne on the backs of our most vulnerable residents. Continuing the surcharge would provide billions of dollars that could be used to limit the impact of other budget cuts.

I will continue to fight for progressivity in our tax structure while fulfilling our obligations to our children and most vulnerable citizens.

Status Update on the Potential Morningside Heights Historic District

At a September community meeting, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) put forward a “study area” for a possible Morningside Heights Historic District. However, this proposed area only included the westernmost section of Morningside Heights. Community feedback at the meeting overwhelmingly declared the original LPC proposal to be inadequately small; LPC is currently reevaluating its proposal in response to this feedback.

Additionally, a grassroots community organization, the Morningside Heights Historic District Committee, is working with LPC to encourage this process and quicken the calendaring of a Morningside Heights Historic District that is more in line with community wishes and the clear architectural merit throughout Morningside Heights.

If you are interested in getting more information or getting involved with the efforts toward Historic District designation, contact Assembly Member O’Donnell’s community office at (212) 866-3970 or email

Manhattan Valley Publication Available

In the fall of 2009, Assembly Member O’Donnell initiated an in-depth study of Manhattan Valley’s strengths and areas of need. After these results were compiled, he engaged the community in a visioning process throughout 2010 about the future of this diverse and dynamic neighborhood. If you would like a copy of his recent publication describing the process and its results, please contact his Community Office at 212-866-3970 or at


Tax Preparation Help

If you need help filing your taxes, Assembly Member O’Donnell has compiled a list of local organizations that can help you work through this complicated and often stressful process. For a copy of this resource, call Assembly Member O’Donnell’s Community Office at 212-866-3970 or e-mail

Assembly Member O’Donnell speaking in strong support of maintaining and extending rent regulation laws at the February 3rd Real Rent Reform town hall meeting at Goddard Riverside Community Center. Also in the photo, from left to right, are Assembly Members Linda Rosenthal, Deborah Glick, Micah Kellner, and Keith Wright, as well as Goddard Riverside’s Larry Wood.

2010 Legislative Successes

Assembly Member O’Donnell had a number of great legislative successes in late 2010, with a number of O’Donnell bills being signed into law, including:

Chapter 482 – Known as the “Dignity for All Students Act,” this anti-bullying legislation will afford all public school students an environment free of harassment and discrimination. It is one of the first New York State laws to directly address gender identity and expression.

Chapter 398 – Known as “Ian’s Law,” it prevents insurance companies from canceling entire categories of coverage in order to dump high-cost patients.

Chapter 422 – Protects the housing rights of people who have left rent regulated apartments because of domestic violence.

Chapter 232 – Repeals unconstitutional loitering provisions that were historically used to target the homeless, gay men, and panhandlers.

Tenant’s Corner:
Your Rights When Dealing With Bed Bugs

While much has been written about the growing problem of bed bugs in New York City, many residents do not know about an important bill that became state law on August 31, 2010. The law, which I wholeheartedly supported, requires that a bed bug history be included in the first lease signed by residential tenants in New York City.

This means that a building owner must provide a prospective tenant with written notice of a bed bug infestation that existed within the last year in the apartment under consideration. The law also requires owners to provide written notification to prospective tenants if an infestation of bed bugs was found in their building and identify the floor(s) where the infestation occurred.

Failure to comply with this requirement will presumably leave building owners open to judgments against them in court in the event that tenants later incur expenses associated with the eradication of bed bugs.

One of the objectives of this law is to help ensure that landlords exterminate bed bugs in their buildings quickly and thoroughly before an infestation spreads to additional apartments. Under the City’s housing and maintenance code, it is the responsibility of landlords, not tenants, to eradicate bed bugs. When informing their landlords of an infestation, tenants should put their complaint in writing and retain a copy of their correspondence, with proof of mailing, for their records.

An Update on “Hydrofracking” in New York State

High-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or “hydrofracking,” is a method of drilling for natural gas that combines known techniques to form a brand new drilling technology. It utilizes toxic chemicals, including proven carcinogens. Currently, there are calls to hydrofrack in the Marcellus Shale, an underground geological formation that runs beneath large sections of New York.

Proponents point to potentially positive economic impacts, but I remain deeply concerned about the safety of this relatively new procedure. Drilling in the Marcellus, which is in close proximity to the source of New York City’s drinking water, could prove devastating to the environment as well as public health and safety.

In 2009, as a member of the Assembly’s Committee on Environmental Conservation, I attended a public hearing on the proposed set of regulations for hydrofracking, put together by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). I was concerned by the lack of study and research. Thus, in January 2010, I implored Governor Paterson to entirely withdraw these flawed proposed regulations.

One important step towards protecting our public health and natural resources would be the passage of the federal Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, which would repeal the exemption for hydrofracking in the Safe Drinking Water Act and provide for invaluable additional oversight from the Environmental Protection Agency. I have advocated for this bill by writing to then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urging its passage.

Within New York, Assembly Members Lifton and Sweeney have led the charge against hydrofracking, and I have worked closely with them. I have also co-sponsored various bills that would introduce a variety of safety and regulatory measures, including prohibiting particular on-site procedures, regulating toxic fluids, and requiring further research, as well as before-and-after testing of drilling sites.

In November 2010, my continuing concerns about hydrofracking’s potential repercussions for our natural resources and public health compelled me to vote in support of A11443, a statewide moratorium on the procedure. Additionally, there had been recent news of potential DEC staff cuts, which would severely compromise DEC’s ability to thoroughly administer the granting of hydrofracking permits. Thereafter, in December 2010 I sent a letter to Governor Paterson stressing the importance of this moratorium.

The governor issued an Executive Order with similar ramifications as the proposed moratorium legislation; hydrofracking is now banned in New York until July. I restated my concerns to Governor Cuomo recently by signing onto a coalition letter which supports his renewal of the Executive Order.

While I believe the Executive Order was a constructive step, I do not think it goes far enough: its duration and scope are insufficient. Far too many questions about hydrofracking remain. I will continue as an outspoken defender of New York’s residents and natural resources, and will fight fervently for the protections offered by a full moratorium or outright ban.

Assembly Member O’Donnell speaking to LaGuardia High School students about his work in the Assembly and the continuing fight for Marriage Equality in New York State.

Free Legal Clinic for Tenants

Assembly Member O’Donnell hosts a monthly opportunity for constituents with housing issues to consult with a volunteer attorney. To make an appointment for one of these evening clinics, call Joyce at (212) 866-3970.

Upcoming clinic dates: March 31st / April 28th / May 26th / June 30th

Annual Green Reading Challenge

Assembly Member O’Donnell’s Eighth Annual Community Reading Challenge for pre-K to 8th grade readers has begun! This year’s challenge has continued last year’s green theme, but with brand-new reading lists and streamlined materials available for download online.

The reading celebration events will be held at participating public library branches on April 15th, April 22nd, and May 6th, from 3:30PM to 4:30PM. Information and materials are available at the libraries, as well as the Assembly Member’s Community Office and web site:

April 15th - Morningside Heights Branch; 2900 Broadway @ 113th Street; 212-864-2530

April 22nd - George Bruce Branch; 518 W. 125th Street; 212-662-9727

May 6th - Bloomingdale Branch; 150 W. 100th Street; 212-222-8030

Do you want more frequent updates about interesting community events, important government information, and what Assembly Member O’Donnell has been working on? Sign up to receive his monthly electronic newsletters by sending an e-mail to
April & May Book Drive

Assembly Member O’Donnell is sponsoring a book drive to benefit Project Cicero, an organization which distributes books to public school teachers and classroom libraries. Since 2001, Project Cicero has placed over 1,000,000 books in more than 5,500 New York City classrooms. For more information, please visit During the months of April and May, please donate gently-used hardcovers and paperbacks for children and young adults at:

Assembly Member O’Donnell’s Community Office
245 W. 104th St. (bet. Broadway & West End Ave.)
9:00 AM – 5:30 PM

Summer Internships Available

Assembly Member O’Donnell’s community office has summer internships available for high school students, college students, and recent graduates. To apply, please fax or e-mail a cover letter and résumé to 212-864-1095 or For more information, please call 212-866-3970.

Successful Cell Phone Drive
This year, due to popular demand, Assembly Member O’Donnell’s Cell Phone Drive was extended an additional month and ran from January 1st to February 28th. The drive was a great success, with almost 60 cell phones donated. The collected phones were given to Call To Protect, a national campaign which provides cell phones to domestic violence survivors for use when faced with an emergency situation. Thanks to all who donated!

Open Monday through Friday
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM