Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine Assemblyman
Charles D.

reports to
the people

Winter 2008

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

While I wish each of you a happy and healthy New Year, it is appropriate for us to reflect on the accomplishments and challenges of Governor Eliot Spitzer’s first full year in office.

It is fair to say that the Governor’s real achievements should not be minimized by what may appear to be an atmosphere of contention in Albany.

To begin with, Governor Spitzer’s ability to produce a third consecutive on-time budget (there had not been one in the prior twenty years!) was especially remarkable considering he took office in January and the budget was approved in less than three months.

An on-time budget is the most essential component of a functioning state government. The Governor has implemented financial reforms designed to help us produce a fourth consecutive timely budget, including holding public hearings throughout New York in the autumn of 2007 to provide for public comment and input on the budget.

Other enacted reforms such as banning gifts to state officials and stopping former civil servants from lobbying state government immediately after they go into the private sector; modernizing our Workers’ Compensation to better assist employees and employers and to enable our businesses to compete; record increases in education funding for Long Island and the rest of the state; record property tax relief; new penalties for driving while intoxicated; controlling the growth of Medicaid spending; an airline passengers’ bill of rights; and a new law aimed at criminals who engage in human trafficking represent what can only be viewed as a pretty good legislative year in Albany.

Another major victory for New Yorkers was the passage of a new set of laws that will civilly confine in a secure environment those so-called “sexual criminals” who are about to be released from our prisons and are likely to re-commit those crimes. I am very pleased to have played a meaningful role in reporting that bill out of the Codes Committee on which I serve and for having argued in the Assembly Majority Conference for its support, resulting in the measure having been sent to the floor where it was convincingly approved.

Although much was in fact accomplished, there is much that remains to be done: property tax reform; adequate education funding; campaign finance reform; a modern approach to energy; outlawing the sale of violent and pornographic video games to minors; healthier food in schools; paid family leave; expansion of the DNA database for all criminals; how the state franchised horse racing industry should be managed; long-overdue pay increases for the judiciary; Wicks Law modernization; public authorities reform; weapons control and on and on and on.

To be sure, that list is not exhaustive, nor should we expect it ever will be. In the face of increasing challenges, it is important for us to recognize that no matter what we do accomplish, more will always remain to be done as we continue in what the founders wisely referred to as our “experiment in democracy.”

In order to meet these profound challenges at a time when there appears to be no small amount of contention in Albany, the Executive and Legislative branches will have to rise to the occasion for the benefit of all our citizens. Nothing less ought to be expected.

It is the public input of New Yorkers throughout our state that has made a difference for the better in the three years I have been privileged to serve in the Assembly. So long as that citizen involvement remains constant, I know that the community of New York will remain strong.

And that is my hope for this New Year.

Charles Lavine


Growing up in family in which we had our own Gold Star Mother, respect for veterans has always been a personal matter for me. As Americans, it must be a personal matter for each of us.

America is unique in that it has always been protected by citizen soldiers, whose valor and dedication have often been disdained by our enemies, much to their eventual dismay. Today’s wars again find our neighbors in the National Guard and Reserve, as well as our professional forces, in harm’s way.

Current deployments to the Middle East involve long and repeated tours of duty. Our troops and their families are performing above and beyond the call of duty. Because the current federal administration is not providing adequate services for our veterans and their families, I am proposing legislation which will be known as the New York Veterans’ Bill of Rights which will include:

Iraq/Afghanistan Theater Veterans Counseling: Designed to create a public/private partnership to provide additional counseling services to the thousands of New Yorkers returning from the war and their families focusing on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and physical care;

National Guard and Reservists Financial Security Act: Active duty state and private employee veterans will be entitled to their full civilian pay during overseas deployment; for private employees, tax credits will be employed to encourage their employers to provide such compensation;

Education Incentives: Those returning from overseas deployment will be entitled to free tuition at New York’s public universities and community colleges. The spouses and children of our troops killed in action or seriously injured will also be entitled to this benefit;

Homeless Veterans: Recent news accounts relate that the number of homeless veterans is far greater than previously believed. For that reason, the State Director shall also investigate and report annually on the actual number of homeless veterans in New York;

Veteran Suicides: The State Director shall also investigate and report annually on the actual number of veterans committing suicide in New York.

While the New York Veterans’ Bill of Rights will cost us some tax-payer money, that amount pales in comparison to what we are spending to prosecute this war, and whatever it does cost will not only be money well spent, but it will certainly be the least we can do to support and salute our fellow citizens who are risking their lives to protect us.

Let us take a moment to recognize and appreciate the sacrifices made by our troops and their families. And let us do so each and every day.

Update on Weapons Bill Legislation A7096

I will continue to seek support for this proposed law when we return to Albany for the 2008 legislative session. The bill will impose a sentence of five years consecutive to the prison sentence imposed for an underlying offense when a weapon or lethal device is possessed by a criminal while committing any other crime. A lethal device is defined as a machine gun, pistol, revolver, shotgun, rifle, assault weapon, electric dart, stun gun, explosive device, bomb, grenade, rocket or missile. The extra five years will not be imposed so long as the offender truthfully identifies the source of the lethal or explosive device. This will enable law enforcement to learn about and prosecute the lucrative networks that smuggle these devices into New York. It will also help us combat gangs and criminal enterprises which cannot function when their secrets are revealed.

photo Assemblyman Lavine spoke with children during his October 11, 2007 visit to the Westbury Community Improvement Corporation’s after-school enrichment program. Pictured with Lavine third from right are Doreen Clayburn, Megan Wedderburn, Alasia McCallum, Jeniece Easter, Mattie Williams, Robin Bolling, Viviana Russell and William Pruitt.

Pictured (L to R) Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi, Assemblyman Lavine and New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli photo


On Monday, December 10, 2007 Assemblyman Lavine along with Governor Eliot Spitzer and other elected officials recognized the outstanding accomplishments of two Plainview - Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School seniors, Amanda Marinoff and Janelle Schlossberger, winners of the prestigious Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology.

After spending their summer vacation diligently working in a Stony Brook University laboratory, these outstanding young women discovered a way to block the reproduction of the bacteria of drug resistant tuberculosis.

As their Assemblymember, I want to express the pride of our entire New York community in Janelle and Amanda’s remarkable achievement, a true testament to the benefits of public education in our nation.

photo Assemblyman Lavine celebrates Independence Day in Bayville. Pictured with Assemblyman Lavine are Presiding Officer of the Nassau County Legislature, Diane Yatauro and the United States Marines.

photo Third graders from Connolly School in Glen Cove enjoyed listening to Assemblyman Lavine as he read from “The Hare and the Tortoise.” Seated next to Assemblyman Lavine is Mr. Allen Hudson, Assistant Principal, Glen Cove High School.

Assemblyman Lavine congratulates Syosset resident Daniel Goldsmith, Boy Scout Troop 170, for his accomplishments at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor . Pictured (L to R) Assemblyman Lavine, Eagle Scout Daniel Goldsmith and Scoutmaster Reid Goldsmith. photo

Upcoming Town Hall Meetings

To address issues concerning the local region.
What has the Assembly accomplished?
What are the goals for 2008?

Thursday, February 7, 2008 at 7:00pm
Sea Cliff Village Hall
Sea Cliff Avenue
Sea Cliff, NY
Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 7:00pm
Locust Valley Public Library
170 Buckram Road
Locust Valley, NY
Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 7:00pm
Bayville Village Hall
34 School Street
Bayville, NY
Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 7:00pm
Syosset Public Library
225 South Oyster Bay Road
Syosset, NY
Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 7:00pm
Plainview - Old Bethpage Public Library
999 Old Country Road
Plainview, NY
Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 7:00pm
Westbury Public Library
445 Jefferson Street
Westbury, NY
Thursday, March 13, 2008 at 7:00pm
Jericho Sr. High School
99 Cedar Swamp Road
Jericho, NY

For more information call our district office at (516) 676-0050