During the 2012 Legislative Session, the Legislature as a whole continued to come together in support of Governor Cuomo’s “transformation” of our state. In addition to passing another on-time and fiscally-sound state budget and enacting a plethora of job-creating measures, we also passed a number of bills that will help change the everyday lives of our citizens.
Perhaps the most important aspect of our job as legislators is to ensure public safety. This session we passed a variety of bills that will help keep our children and grandchildren safer. Paramount among these was the bill dubbed the “anti-cyberbullying” bill (A.10712), which prohibits bullying and cyberbullying in public schools. After a rise in cyberbullying reports a few years ago, I was one of the first legislators to address and draft legislation on this issue. After a long road, I am very pleased that this important bill has passed and will help keep students safe.
Additionally, we passed legislation that will keep students safer when traveling to school by allowing schools, if they should choose, to provide bus transportation for pre-K students (A.10397-A). Legislation also was passed that will prohibit smoking on playgrounds or within 100 feet of entrances or exits of public or private education institutions and secondary schools (A.6451/A.10141).
I am proud that we also passed legislation that will help save taxpayers’ money and time. Among these bills were A.7775-A, which prohibits zone pricing (or price gouging) on motor fuels; and A.5432-A, which allows state agencies to accept money orders in addition to various other forms of payment including credit/debit cards, prepaid cards and personal or business checks. We also passed legislation to extend the personal income tax credit for clean heating fuels until January 1, 2017 (A.8818).
On top of these important bills, we also passed legislation that will help improve our quality of life and keep our communities vital with bills such as A.10524 that will give municipalities enhanced ability to have foreclosed properties maintained, A.2155 that will help support community blood drives, and A.9684 that will prohibit employers from requiring employees or applicants to disclose personal email or social networking site passwords.
Finally, we took action to support one of my favorite issues: supporting our local agriculture. A.1025 will provide economic development funds to help our communities construct or improve farmers’ markets and A.10308 will create the Farm to Seniors program.
There is certainly much more work that needs to be accomplished up in Albany – but in addition to the larger reforms and transformations we have made, enactment of these smaller, yet important bills will help improve the lives of each and every New Yorker. I am proud to be your voice in Albany, and I hope you will continue to share your ideas and suggestions with me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling my office at (845) 291-3631 to schedule a meeting.