As Minority Leader Pro Tem, Assemblyman Brian Kolb (R,C,I –Canandaigua) had high expectations for this year’s legislative session. Promised to be a year full of reform and action, this year’s session, which concluded last week, did deliver on some of these promises and enacted some long overdue legislation.
“We started off with a bang by passing a much-needed civil confinement law, reforming workers’ compensation laws, and enacting long overdue ethics and rules reforms,” said Kolb. “Our Conference fought for these measures for many years and I am very pleased they were finally enacted.”
The civil confinement law was one of the first measures agreed on by the Legislature and the Governor this year. The law will help ensure the safety of New York’s children by keeping dangerous sexual predators locked up longer. Should they be deemed a continuing risk to society by a special screening panel, predators will be kept confined in secure mental health facilities where they can get the treatment they desperately need. It took 14 years, nearly to the exact date of when Assembly Republicans first introduced this measure, for civil confinement to be a law.
Reforming workers’ compensation laws will save New York State’s businesses between $600 - $650 million. The reforms will also increase benefits for workers for the first time in 14 years. “These cost-saving measures should also help spur business and economic development throughout the state. This is a positive step for employers and employees throughout the state and a measure I have been supporting for a long time,” stated Kolb.
The Assemblyman continued, “Additionally, the internal rules and ethics reforms are a positive first step in re-establishing a public trust between New Yorkers and Albany. By creating a ‘Commission on Public Integrity,’ we will establish higher standards for all public officials.”
“We also passed some major pieces of legislation dealing with very difficult topics for the people of New York, as we strengthened DWI penalties and put in place prosecution measures for those who participate in human trafficking,” stated the Assemblyman.
“Although the regular legislative session has concluded, we have more work to do. I anticipate that we will be returning to Albany this summer and/or fall to address some unfinished business such as a power plant siting law, Wicks Law reform, and ongoing property tax relief,” concluded Kolb.