Legislative Report from Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh

The 2007 regular legislative session comes to a close
July 12, 2007

The regular legislative session for 2007 came to an end on June 22nd as the Assembly adjourned. There was movement on some important issues in the closing days of the session, while several key items remained unresolved and will require additional negotiation among the Governor and the two houses of the legislature. Following is a review of some of the legislative work of Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh in the last month of the session.

Kavanagh Fights for Affordable Housing: Kavanagh introduced bill A.8798 to increase the state Housing Finance Agency’s ability to issue bonds for new housing construction by $1.5 billion. The legislation successfully passed both houses and was signed by Governor Spitzer on June 29th. Kavanagh was a co-prime sponsor of A.7905, which passed both houses and is awaiting Governor Spitzer’s approval. The bill would end the state’s longstanding practice of paying less than its share of the cost of housing public assistance recipients and increase funding for public housing by approximately $50 million a year. Kavanagh was also a co-prime sponsor of A.8594, the Governor’s proposal to strengthen rent regulation, which passed the Assembly but was not taken up in the Senate.

Kavanagh Tenant Key-Card Privacy Bill Passes Assembly: Kavanagh’s bill, A.8308, which would prohibit landlords from implementing key-card systems that track personal information without tenants’ consent, passed the Assembly by a vote of 131-16, with the support of a substantial majority of both parties in the Assembly. The bill would ban electronic key card systems that collect personal data, including photographs, names, addresses, and the dates and times tenants or their guests enter and exit their apartments. On June 28, Kavanagh testified alongside housing rights advocates, tenants associations, and residents at a City Council hearing in support of a bill that would address the privacy threat posed by key-cards in the city and to discuss his alternative solution to the key card issue.

Assembly Passes Marriage Equality Bill: Kavanagh was proud to be a co-prime sponsor of landmark legislation providing same-sex couples the opportunity to marry in New York State. The bill passed the Assembly by a vote of 84-61. Although the Senate adjourned without taking up this legislation, the solid majority achieved in the Assembly is a significant step forward in our efforts to achieve basic equality for all New Yorkers.

Kavanagh Promotes Environmental Initiatives: Kavanagh introduced and obtained Assembly passage of several bills aimed at protecting our environment. Assembly bill A.7489 would create a statewide sustainable development task force; A.8036 would address the significant threat posed by state agencies and public authorities that continue to pollute by failing to complete their own plans for remediating environmental hazards; A.7630 would prohibit the mass release of helium balloons thereby limiting their environmental impact. Kavanagh also has advocated for congestion pricing for Manhattan’s central business district and many of the other provisions of the Mayor’s PlaNYC initiative.