Legislative Update

Summer/Fall 2004


Dear Neighbor,

Despite a year marked by gridlocked state government, I was fortunate to have been successful in advancing important new laws. Perhaps the legislative high water mark of the year was the Assisted Living Reform legislation (A.11820-Englebright) which passed unanimously in both houses ending five years of difficult negotiations. After this new law is signed by the governor, it will provide needed oversight of assisted-living facilities to protect the investments and quality of life of thousands of New Yorkers Ė including those vulnerable residents who are frail or have problems with Alzheimerís disease and dementia.

Another measure on its way to the Governorís desk is my Wind Energy Net Metering bill (A.4245a, Englebright) which is a component of my energy policy that fosters the development of clean energy sources such as wind and solar and decreases our countryís dependence on foreign oil.

As your representative in the Assembly, my agenda is one of action and optimism. This newsletter highlights some of the legislative work I have been able to advance to protect and improve our quality of life. I hope that you will take a moment to look through it.

Please call or stop by my local office at 149 Main Street in Setauket to share your comments or concerns about any state or local issue. My office also offers complimentary notary public service for your convenience.

Your State Assembly Representative,
Steve Englebright

"My legislation, provides a new level of focus on issues affecting senior citizens by consolidating all state laws pertaining to seniors into a new section called Elder Law."

Assemblyman Steve Englebright


Protecting Residents of Assisted Living Facilities

AARP members took a recent road trip visiting state lawmakers around Long Island advocating for legislation to regulate Assisted Living Facilities. Dressed in bright orange T-Shirts with the message ďProtect Assisted Living ResidentsĒ, they stopped to visit Assemblyman Englebright at his district office to thank him for his sponsorship of the Assisted Living bill in the Assembly. Assemblyman Englebright is Chair of the Committee on Aging and has been pushing for this important consumer protection legislation. Among those present were Old Field residents Bill Hall, president of the Brookhaven-Islip AARP Chapter, and Thelma, his wife.
Assemblyman Englebrightís Assisted Living Reform legislation (A.11820-Englebright) establishes a uniform licensing procedure for assisted living facilities, which are becoming more and more popular as a housing option for seniors. It also requires important consumer disclosures and sets forth a clear set of consumer rights, protections and safeguards so residents and their families can be sure theyíre getting quality care and service.

The legislation:

  • Clearly defines "assisted living residences;"
  • Clearly defines "aging in place;"
  • Requires that residences advertising or marketing themselves as serving individuals with dementia and cognitive impairments submit special needs plans outlining their ability to serve such vulnerable individuals;
  • Requires assisted living facilities to be licensed with the Department of Health;
  • Requires each facility to conspicuously post the residents rights;
  • Requires the execution of a written residency agreement with each resident;
  • Sets guidelines regarding the management of a residentís money and personal property;
  • Requires facilities to assist in the development and operation of resident and family councils; and
  • Sets uniform guidelines for the admission, discharge and transfer of residents.

Creating Elder Law

Assemblyman Englebrightís legislation (A09708 Englebright) creates the designation of Elder Law in New York State Law to consolidate elder-related laws and provide a new level of focus on issues affecting the Stateís seniors. Currently, state law dealing with seniors is scattered throughout diverse sections of law resulting in a confusion of definitions of who is a senior and in targeting programs for seniors. Creating a New York Elder Law is the first step in fully acknowledging the importance of law that protects, serves and supports the special needs of residents in this stage of life.

Senior Citizensí Bill of Rights

Assemblyman Englebrightís measure (A.9587c-Englebright) sets down in law that New York State services and programs for seniors should be shaped by the principles of strengthening independence, affirming dignity, maximizing choice and a recognition that seniors provide a vast potential source of social, cultural, historic, and spiritual enrichment and leadership.

This bill puts into place a series of quality of life goals and advisories that will guide the design of programs for seniors, and places the responsibility on the State Office of Aging to provide regular updates on the success of the programs in meeting these goals.

Assemblyman Englebright and Senator Balboni were this yearís Vision Long Island Smart Growth Communities Awardees based upon their work to improve the livability and quality of life of our communities. Pictured from left to right are Ron Stein and Patrick Halpin of Vision Long Island; Assemblyman Englebright; Senator Balboni; and Eric Alexander, Director of Vision Long Island.
Wind Energy Net Metering

Assemblyman Englebright has been a life-long advocate for an energy policy that fosters the development of clean wind and solar energy sources and decreases our dependence on foreign oil. This year, Englebrightís Wind Energy Net Metering legislation (A.4245a, Englebright) passed both houses of the legislature. This measure will provide for electric utilities to interconnect to residential wind electric generating equipment and allow for net energy metering. This means that if a residence produces more energy than it uses, the electric utility will have to pay for the energy put into the grid.

Small wind generators have zero-emissions and are an environmentally responsible method of power production. This legislation will encourage both residential and small farm customers to invest in wind generation, thus diminishing our demand for fossil fuels and improving air quality.

Protecting Nursing Home Residents

Many nursing home residents and family members are unaware that volunteer ombudsmen are available to help settle disputes between nursing home administrations, residents, and family members. The ombudsman program has successfully mediated disputes and acts as one of the only day-to-day cost-effective services that ensures consistent and fair treatment of seniors who must live in nursing homes.

Assemblyman Englebrightís bill (A.2350, Englebright) would require such facilities to display posters provided by the ombudsman program in several public areas of such facilities. The bill has no cost to the facilities since posters are provided free of charge. This bill will help ensure that all residents know that they have someone to call if they need help in resolving any dispute.

Meaningful Budget reform

Our stateís budget-crafting system Ė designed more than 70 years ago to deal with different challenges in a different New York Ė has become chaotic, inefficient and wrought with obstacles. A bipartisan budget reform plan co-sponsored by Assemblyman Englebright recently passed in both houses of the legislature and will bring transparency, accountability, and efficiency to the process. It will also help ensure on-time budgets in the years to come.

The budget reform plan includes moving the start of New Yorkís fiscal year from April 1 to May 1 to allow for better revenue and spending projections and instituting provisions to instill greater accountability in the process. If no budget is in place by May 1, the plan provides for a contingency budget equivalent to that of the preceding year.

This plan overhauls how the budget is negotiated and shines light on state spending by making more expenditures subject to budget negotiation checks and balances. In addition, this measure will require a two-year appropriation for education aid. By setting up a two-year school aid plan, schools have the information they need to plan timely budgets and prepare programs that meet high standards. Also included is the creation of a reserve fund in the state constitution to ensure sufficient funds exist for the payment of education aid in May and June of each year.

Providing a Quality Education for Our Children

Assemblyman Englebright had the honor of congratulating members of the Setauket Schoolís sixth grade at their DARE Graduation. This special program teaches students at this critical age how to resist peer pressure to use alcohol and drugs by building self esteem, learning decision- making skills and ways to say no thanks. Pictured are some of the graduates with Assemblyman Englebright and Officer Tom of the Suffolk County Police Department.
Englebright Secures More than $10.8 million over the Governorís Proposed Budget for School Districts in the 4th Assembly District.

The Assembly and Senate have approved a budget to fund schools by an additional $740.4 million over the Governorís Budget. Assemblyman Englebright believes that both improving the quality of our childrenís education and holding down property taxes are priorities that can and must be simultaneously met. Through his direct advocacy, school districts in our Assembly district will be receiving an additional $10.8 million over the Governorís education aid proposal.

The breakdown of additional aid for our local school districts is:

Three Village - $623,899 over the governorís proposal
Comsewogue - $1,126,273 over the governorís proposal
Mt. Sinai - $703,378 over the governorís proposal
Middle Country - $1,186,277 over the governorís proposal
Port Jefferson - $20,659 over the governorís proposal
Sachem - $3,323,686 over the governorís proposal
Longwood - $3,859,526 over the governorís proposal

The Legislatureís budget also restores the governorís cuts to BOCES, Transportation Aid, school construction projects, disabled student services, and Teacher Resource and Computer Training Centers. These are necessary investments in education that will help provide a better education for our students.

Keeping a College Education Within Reach

As a member of the Higher Education Committee, Assemblyman Englebright helped to fully restore the Governorís $302 million in cuts to TAP awards (Tuition Assistance Program).

Hundreds of thousands of students rely on TAP to attend college here in New York State. As working families struggle to pay ever-increasing home and energy costs, TAP assistance is often the critical difference that allows sons and daughters to continue to attend college. By fighting to keep TAP intact, Assemblyman Englebright has helped to ensure that students are able to meet their college expenses.

E-mail Updates

Assemblyman Englebright is compiling a list of residents who would like to receive updates via e-mail. To sign up, e-mail Assemblyman Englebright at and we will add your name to our list.