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September 19, 2018



Volunteers Are Backbones of Local Fire Departments

New York is heavily dependent on volunteer fire departments for fire protection. According to the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, 89% of the state’s fire departments outside of the New York City area are volunteer. Their commitment to volunteer fire protection provides both a critical life-savings service to communities and a tremendous cost savings to area taxpayers.

Assembly Passes Bill to Separate Student Test Scores from Teacher Evaluations

As students and teachers begin a new school year, I thought it would be a good time to update constituents on the Common Core standards, now known as the Next Generation Learning Standards, and where things stands with standardized testing. As many will recall, in 2013 the New York State Board of Regents adopted the Common Core learning standards. Almost immediately following their adoption, it was realized that the standards were flawed and that the quick implementation of Common Core would create unnecessary hardship on students, parents, teachers and administrators.

Synthetic Drugs Continue to Pose Public Health Threat

Earlier this month, more than 100 people were hospitalized within a short time period for synthetic drug overdose in New Haven, Connecticut. Health officials there issued a public health alert, warning people of the dangers of the drugs after several people convulsed and collapsed at a public park. This was not an isolated incident and our region is no stranger to the impact of synthetics drugs.

New York’s Credit Card Debt Higher than National Average

Earlier this year, the state comptroller’s office issued a report about consumers’ credit card debt in New York state. The information, which is largely based on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s data, shows how people are managing their households within their local economies and serves as a basis for comparison when it comes to household finances.

Legislature Passes Bill to Better Protect, Promote Living Organ Donors

In my mind, one of the most selfless things a person can do is to be a living organ donor. In order to give the gift of life to another, a living organ donor not only sacrifices a part of his or her body for another, but also endures the necessary medical procedure, the healing and other hardships. While many have undertaken this incredibly generous act, there is a huge gap between those awaiting an organ or tissue transplant and the organs and tissues available for transplant.

Unprecedented Pardons

Over the last week, my office has received several calls regarding Governor Cuomo’s recent “conditional” pardons of more than 24,000 convicted felons who are currently on parole. The calls were prompted because it became known that at least 77 sexual predators where among the 24,000 felons who received conditional pardons.

Property Taxes, Public Trust, Education Among People’s Top Concerns

People are concerned about the direction our state is headed. We have some of the highest property taxes in the U.S., a sluggish economy, and an onslaught of corruption cases and other scandals involving taxpayer dollars. The following are some questions I am frequently asked on these important issues and some ideas on how to change and improve state government.

Opportunity Zones Provide Chance to Increase Private Investment

Some good news was recently announced that hopefully will help spur private investments in communities that traditionally have had difficulty attracting business investment. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created an economic development tool known as Opportunity Zones designed to encourage long-term investments in low-income communities.

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