Chair, Environmental Conservation Committee
Assemblyman Bob Sweeney is a lifelong resident of the 11th A.D. in the Town of Babylon. A graduate of Lindenhurst Public Schools, Mr. Sweeney received his Bachelor's degree from Adelphi University and a Master of Public Administration from C.W. Post. Prior to his election to the Assembly, Mr. Sweeney served 14½ years as Lindenhurst Village Clerk. During that time, he received his designation as a Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC), held by less than 5% of all municipal clerks in New York State. He is also a past president of the New York State Association of City and Village Clerks. Mr. Sweeney was elected to the New York State Assembly in a special election held March 1988. Actively involved in the area of health care, Assemblyman Sweeney has authored legislation dealing with health insurance and care for diabetes and breast cancer. In 1995, Sweeney received the National Public Policy Leadership Award from the American Diabetes Association. Assemblyman Sweeney was the sponsor of landmark legislation that requires that most health insurance contracts and health maintenance organizations in New York provide coverage for diabetes self-management education, equipment and supplies. Assemblyman Sweeney sponsored legislation requiring health insurance coverage for reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy, and a law to help detect breast cancer at its earliest stage, that requires mammography providers to determine from their patients prior to conducting a mammogram whether a CBE (Clinical Breast Exam) has been done. If there has not been a recent CBE, that information must be conveyed to the patient's regular healthcare provider. He authored a 1999 law that prevents disqualification of persons who have had cancer from adopting a child. Assemblyman Sweeney also sponsors an annual Senior Health Fair. Services provided at the health fair have included cholesterol and blood sugar checks, audiology, podiatry, respiratory screening, blood pressure checks and flu shots. Sweeney also sponsors local free prostate cancer checkups, which have screened thousands for cancer. Assemblyman Sweeney sponsored the legislation authorizing the creation of the Broad Hollow Bioscience Park, a collaborative effort between Farmingdale State University and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory that aids in the development and advancement of academic and hi-tech industries and which offers many students the opportunity of internships. Farmingdale was able to lease land for the construction of the Bioscience Park on campus thanks to a Sweeney sponsored law that allowed the unprecedented partnership between business and the State University system. As Chairman of the Legislative Commission on Science and Technology, Assemblyman Sweeney sponsored and promoted legislation on genetic testing that established New York State as a leader in developing public policy on the issue. A leader in economic development efforts, Assemblyman Sweeney has successfully worked to establish programs that assist small business, especially defense-dependent manufacturers and high-tech businesses. He received the 1995 Initiative Award from ADDAPT, a consortium of over 100 downstate manufacturing firms, and a 2001 award from the Environmental Business Association. Assemblyman Sweeney sponsored boating safety legislation described as a milestone in promoting boating safety education, increased marine enforcement and strengthening of boating while intoxicated (BWI) laws. As Vice-Chairman of the Legislative Commission on Critical Transportation Choices, he sponsored legislation to require nighttime construction for highway construction projects. Assemblyman Sweeney has received numerous awards for his dedication to the highest ideals of creating conservation legislation for the New York Marine district. He secured funding for construction of a Recreational Fishing and Aquaculture Center at Cedar Beach Marina, Town of Babylon, to promote education and knowledge of our marine resources. In 2009, Assemblyman Sweeney authored a state law allowing towns to finance homeowner’s home energy improvements by defining carbon emissions as “waste”. This idea was pioneered by the Town of Babylon, and greatly expanded energy efficiency projects there, lowering homeowner’s energy costs and creating new green jobs. Sweeney authored the law strengthening and expanding drug free school zones to include day care centers, pre-K and kindergarten programs. This important change was made to prevent drug violence from hurting young children or their adult supervisors. Assemblyman Sweeney annually helps to coordinate the "Coats for Kids" drive in Suffolk County. Hundreds of coats are donated annually to local charities. As Chairman of the Sub-committee on Volunteer Ambulance/Emergency Services, Sweeney authored new laws improving the service award program for volunteer ambulance workers, establishing a pilot program to extend the time for re-certification, and authorizing an emergency service worker's memorial in Albany. As Chairman of the Assembly Local Government Committee, Assemblyman Sweeney was hailed for creating a Statewide 911 wireless program. He oversaw the adoption of municipal cooperation and consolidation statutes, and passed legislation to encourage the recruitment and retention of volunteer ambulance workers and firefighters. He initiated the annual Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Day, which focuses on the needs of these brave volunteers. In 2007, Assemblyman Sweeney became Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation. The Committee on Environmental Conservation has jurisdiction over legislation affecting State environmental policy. The primary concerns of the Committee are pollution prevention and control, resource management, and environmental quality issues. Sweeney has been a member of the Environmental Conservation Committee since being first elected and has shepherded numerous bills into law concerning environmental issues. In his first year as Chair of the Committee Sweeney pushed through legislation to increase the Environmental Protection Fund. The additional funding for the EPF will fuel substantial increases in EPF programs such as municipal parks, waterfront revitalization, municipal recycling, open space land acquisition, farmland protection, as well as wastewater treatment projects, invasive species management and ocean and Great Lakes initiatives. Assemblyman Sweeney also successfully shepherded legislation into law placing vehicle global warming labels on new cars, created sea level rise and invasive species task forces, and worked to increase staff at the Department of Environmental Conservation and create the Climate Change Office in DEC. As a result Sweeney has been named “Legislator of the Year” by EPL/Environmental Advocates, a nonprofit organization that has worked on behalf of environmental issues in New York State for 40 years. Additionally, the New York League of Conservation Voters named Sweeney an Environmental Star of 2007 and 2011 “for his efforts to ensure that all New Yorkers can enjoy clean air, more open space and a better quality of life.” The Healthy Schools Network presented Sweeney with its Healthy Schools Hero Award for 2007 for his work making schools environmentally safer. Assemblyman Sweeney received Audubon New York's prestigious William Hoyt Environmental Excellence Award in 2009, which is presented annually to an elected official in recognition for work above and beyond the normal call of duty to advance critical solutions to the most pressing environmental issues. In 2011 Assemblyman Sweeney was honored by the Long Island Pine Barrens Society as the recipient of their Outstanding Contribution to Long Island’s Environment Award in recognition of his work to protect and preserve Long Island’s drinking water and open spaces. In 2012 Assemblyman Sweeney was honored by the Sierra Club Long Island Chapter as the recipient of their distinguished Environmentalist of the Year award in recognition of his work sponsoring laws that protect Long Island’s waterways, land and air. Assemblyman Sweeney annually sponsors, with the Town of Babylon, a Veteran's Awareness Week. This week, in honor of Americans who honorably served their country, helps us to remember our veterans. At the request of a high school classmate blinded while serving in Vietnam, Assemblyman Sweeney successfully worked to double New York's Blinded Veteran's Annuity, which hadn't been changed in 80 years. A strong supporter of higher education, Assemblyman Sweeney received the 1996 Friend of SUNY Award and the 2001 Friend of SUNY Farmingdale Award. In 2009, he was awarded the Leadership in Literacy Award from Literacy Suffolk. In 2000, Assemblyman Sweeney was named one of the "100 Most Influential People" of the 20th century in the Town of Babylon and in 2005 earned recognition as "one of Albany's most prolific legislators" by the Gannett News Service for his ability to sponsor bills that get signed into law. Standing Committee Assignments 2011: Environmental Conservation (Chair); Veterans Affairs; Rules; Education.