It has been a while since my last newsletter. I have listened to your concerns and learned about the issues you care about. Hopefully, as you read this newsletter, you will know that my office and I care very deeply about what happens to you.
In this difficult year, I made some very hard choices, the kind of choices that sometimes kept me awake at night. Each budget item cut has the face of someone who will have to do more with less. Each budget number may mean someone will pay more for a service they expect. The budget process was not a perfect one, but I believe it was responsible and accountable, even if it wasn’t pretty. The main objective it accomplishes is that it maintains our essential services. My colleagues and I passed a state spending plan that closed a projected $17.6 billion budget gap and rejected $2.1 billion in nuisance taxes.
I am most grateful to you for the kindness you have shown me when I am around the community. It is a privilege to represent you in the New York State Assembly.
As always, if you would like information on a state related matter, please feel free to call my District Office at (516) 482-6966.
Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel led the opposition at the state level against the push for the consolidation of local governments. She worked tirelessly behind the scenes to preserve the local autonomy of New York’s villages, towns, and special districts.
Since this proposal was first brought to the table by former Governor Eliot Spitzer in 2007, Assemblywoman Schimel has had her hand in the issue. Ms. Schimel was a vocal opponent of the secrecy that shrouded Governor Paterson’s budget proposal that would have expedited the local government consolidation process and provided greater flexibility to convert town clerks and receivers of taxes from elected to appointed positions. Assemblywoman Schimel successfully advocated for the removal of this provision from the executive budget arguing that most citizens weren’t even aware of the changes being proposed as new law in the budget.
In an op-ed published in Newsday, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel argued, “Albany mustn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. In my Assembly district, the special districts ain’t broken.”
Unfortunately, it did not take long for the issue of consolidation to resurface with the introduction of legislation (A.8501) proposed by State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
So it comes as no surprise that Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel was a lonely ‘No” vote on the floor of the Assembly Chamber on the issue of consolidation and dissolution of local governments. Before casting her vote on Assembly bill A.8501, Ms. Schimel stated the following:
“My apprehension of the bill in its present form is because of the low threshold requirement of signatures for petitions to initiate a consolidation or dissolving of a local government or district. In addition, I am concerned about top down decision making of the state on matters of local government. Because of my apprehension and my strong support for the village mayors and trustees, commissioners, volunteer firefighters and civic activists I have no choice but to cast a no vote.”
The consolidation bill passed both houses and was recently signed into law by the Governor.
This past August, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel partnered with State Senator Brian Foley (D-Blue Point), Assemblyman David McDonough (R-Merrick) and Col. (Ret.) James McDonough, Director of the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs, to host a conference for college administrators to discuss ways to help returning veterans access opportunities in higher education.
Over 5,000 veterans who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan live in Nassau County. As more soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan return home, it is our duty to make sure that they are aware of the educational benefits available to them.
The conference, titled “Veteran-Friendly Campuses,” was held at Nassau Community College and was attended by more than 80 college administrators representing colleges and universities throughout Long Island.
“The college administrators appreciated the conference’s ability to assist the campuses in recognizing the unique experiences of student veterans in helping them make the transition from service member to student,” said Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, a member of the Assembly’s Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
For the third year in a row, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel has been recognized by Environmental Advocates of New York as one of the New York State Assembly’s Super Bill Heroes. This recognition is only bestowed upon those legislators who voted for all five of the environmental community’s 2009 Super Bills.
After many years of advocacy, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel is pleased to announce the passage of the Bigger Better Bottle Bill (BBBB). Assemblywoman Schimel has co-sponsored this legislation since taking office in 2007. The 2009-2010 State Budget included an expansion of the existing returnable container beverage law to include water bottles under one gallon.
Under this plan, a five-cent deposit will be placed on water bottles, which will provide the state with up to $115 million in much needed revenue.
This past session, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel co-sponsored the “Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act” (A.9049/S.6047), which would establish a comprehensive State-wide system for the collection, handling and recycling of discarded electronic equipment. This bill was passed by the Assembly and has been referred to the Senate’s Rules Committee.
Electronic waste (e-waste) recycling has been a signature issue for Assemblywoman Schimel since her days as North Hempstead Town Clerk when she spearheaded the Town’s electronic waste recycling program. This program has
Now a member of the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee, Assemblywoman Schimel has been working tirelessly to implement a statewide electronic waste recycling program.
“A big concern with the recent transition from analog to digital broadcasting is that many analog televisions will end up on the sidewalk and in landfills. The hazardous chemicals found in televisions and other electronic products make proper management of e-waste essential to protecting the public’s health and the environment,” said Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel.
In an effort to help law enforcement solve gun crimes, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and Senator Eric Schneiderman are leading the fight in the New York State Legislature on microstamping legislation (A.6468b/S.6005). Microstamping technology is designed to aid law enforcement in investigating and solving homicides and other gun-related crimes.
When fired, the gun will make intentional markings on shell cartridges enabling law enforcement to identify a code that will give the make, model and serial number of the firearm used during a crime. This technology allows law enforcement officials to trace firearms through cartridge casings found at crime scenes, even if the crime gun is never found.
The Schimel-Schneiderman bill (A.6468b/S.6005) requires all semi-automatic pistols manufactured or delivered to any licensed firearms dealer in the State of New York to be capable of microstamping ammunition by January 1, 2011.This legislation would not place any restrictions on gun ownership or access, it just helps police catch criminals.
Over 100 law enforcement agencies and elected officials from across the state have endorsed Schimel’s microstamping bill (A.6468/S.4397), including the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, the New York State District Attorneys Association, the New York State Law Enforcement Council, the Nassau County Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), and the New York City PBA.A.6468/S.4397
Assemblywoman Schimel’s microstamping legislation passed the New York State Assembly with bipartisan support in April. The legislation was referred out of the Senate Codes Committee and was going to be brought to the Senate floor when the coup occurred derailing the legislation temporarily.
This past summer, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel partnered with New York State Senator Charles Schumer, Jackie Hilly, the Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign to defeat an attempt by the gun lobby to legalize the transport of concealed pistols across state lines.
Assemblywoman Schimel, who has advocated for numerous crime prevention measures, was on the floor of the National Conference of State Legislators in Philadelphia lobbying state representatives from crucial swing states to call their respective United States Senators to oppose the amendment.
The Thune Amendment, also known as the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act,” would have required all states to accept conceal and carry pistol permits issued by other states. Under this measure, New York State would have to accept conceal and carry permits of other states, without regard to the standards that New York uses in issuing such permits. This would have enabled delinquent straw purchasers to illegally sell pistols in New York State.
“As a New York State Assemblywoman I know when it comes to state law one size does not fit all. As what is good for Vermont may not be good for New York State,” said Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel.
In a nail biting 58-39 vote, the United States Senate rejected the Thune Amendment which was attached to a massive defense appropriations bill.
Though it has been providing professional counseling, education and outreach services to breast cancer patients for almost 30 years, the Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program was in danger of closing its doors this year.
The $294,000 state grant, which the program has relied on as its funding base for more than 20 years, was completely eliminated under the Governor’s 2009-2010 Executive Budget Proposal. Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and Senator Craig Johnson immediately intervened after receiving word of the loss of funding and advocated on the program’s behalf. Thanks to their perseverance, funding was completely restored under the final State budget.
The 2009-2010 state budget could have been a disaster for schools, students and taxpayers. Under the Executive Budget, the Governor proposed to cut over $3 million dollars in aid to schools in the 16th Assembly District. Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and State Senator Craig Johnson fought hard to prevent these drastic cuts in school aid and were able to get funding restored to its current levels. Overall, the final state budget stabilized aid to schools and reduced the burden on taxpayers by restoring $1.1 billion to school districts. Federal stimulus funds were used to moderate the severe cuts to education and other critical services originally proposed by the Governor.