This year’s legislative session was one of the most productive in history. I will take the successes of this past year and use them as building blocks for progress in the upcoming legislative session.
Working together with the Governor and the Senate, the New York State Assembly was able to successfully address the issues that New Yorkers demanded we tackle. This year, we legalized marriage equality, implemented a permanent Power for Jobs Program for small businesses, passed an on-time balanced budget, enacted sweeping ethics reform, and passed a new pedestrian safety law known as Complete Streets.
Working with local stakeholders and organizations, I was able to advance important legislation that will help save taxpayers money, improve public safety and help spur economic development in our community.
As always, I welcome your letters and e-mails about issues of importance to you. If you would like information on a state related matter, please feel free to call my District Office at (516) 482-6966. My staff is here to assist you.
For the past three years, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel has been working with the New York State Department of Education as well as local school superintendents, school boards, and parent associations, to help save taxpayers money by providing school districts with greater flexibility in eliminating empty bus seats.
Assemblywoman Schimel’s School Bus Mandate Relief Act (A.6821) provides schools with mandate relief in bus transportation costs by allowing school districts to base the number of seats provided for students on actual bus ridership. The measure could save school districts up to half a million dollars per year.
In the last few weeks of the legislative session, Schimel’s bill, which was co-sponsored by Senator Jack Martins, caught the eye of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who adopted the measure as the centerpiece of his mandate relief package.
“Without changes to current state law, many local municipalities would have been forced to conduct their elections by hand counting paper ballots or renting electronic voting machines at an exorbitant cost. This is unacceptable, especially when many posses lever voting machines. This new law ensures the continued efficiency of local government elections,” said Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel.
Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel on the floor of the Assembly Chamber debating her microstamping bill (A.1157a). Microstamping is a technology designed to aid police in investigating gun-related crimes by allowing them to trace firearms through cartridge casings found at crime scenes.
Thousands of families in New York State care for a child diagnosed with autism. Every day these families worry that their child’s medical care may not be covered by their insurance.
This session, the State Legislature passed a new law (A.6305A) that expands health insurance coverage for children with autism. This measure, which was sponsored by Assemblywoman Schimel, requires commercial, not-for-profit, and HMO insurance policies to cover the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Speaking at a recent meeting of the Nassau County Chamber of Commerce, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel discussed her plan to launch a new program that will bring together a comprehensive array of partners in state and local governments and professional business organizations.
“Long Island has many untapped resources to offer the business community. My first priority is to keep businesses and jobs rooted here on Long Island,” said Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel. “My business concierge initiative will offer hands-on services to businesses to ensure retention of Long Island companies and will work to attract new industry.”
Speaking at a rally for public education at Hofstra University in March, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel voiced her opposition to proposed budget cuts to education. Schimel stressed that funding education is an important investment in our future.
“These are your children. They will be your doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, scientists and firemen. We need great schools to be a state of excellence. There is no room for failure. For if we fail our schools, we fail our children, and we fail ourselves,” said Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel.
This session, the New York State Legislature passed a new law (A.8519) that provides resources for funding SUNY’s and CUNY’s ambitious academic agendas and helps expand the colleges’ role as economic engines in communities across our state. The measure maintains the state’s financial support of the SUNY/CUNY system and stabilizes tuition increases to a fixed, five-year increase of $300 per year. This rational tuition plan will prevent unpredictable tuition hikes which have been common in recent years. The initiative is expected to generate an additional $43.3 million for SUNY and $27.2 million for CUNY in the first year alone and is to go directly to the universities, not other state programs. This law also creates a tuition credit for state resident students who receive Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards, ensuring those students most in need of financial assistance aren’t put at a further disadvantage.
“This legislation will send a strong message to those who unwittingly aid and abet Iran through financial support that New York State wants no part of it,” said Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel.
Under the measure, individuals and companies who invest in and provide goods and services to Iran’s energy sector are prohibited from bidding on state and local government contracts. Last year, the federal government passed a law authorizing state and local governments to divest from companies whose interests in Iran’s energy sector support the Iranian government’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. In 2009, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli divested $86.2 million in state retirement fund investments from companies that conducted business with Iran and Sudan.
The National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) selected Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel as the New York State representative at two of their recent national conferences. This October, Assemblywoman Schimel attended a conference about product stewardship in Portland, Oregon. In early December, Schimel will attend an Environmental Legislators’ Forum in Chicago, which will bring together 50 state legislators from across the country.
The most recent public hearing focused on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) revised supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement. This document will be used to manage the process of well permit issuance for high volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale and other areas in New York State.
An outspoken leader against hydrofracking, Assemblywoman Schimel questioned DEC Commissioner Joe Martens about the experience and training of the companies and subcontractors applying for the drilling permits. She also voiced her dismay over the short public comment period and the DEC’s decision to fast track the review process despite widespread concerns about hydrofracking. To view Assemblywoman Schimel’s comments at the public hearing please visit her website at http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Michelle-Schimel/.
Always willing to help keep our main streets beautiful, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel pitched in at a spring cleaning effort in Port Washington, which was sponsored by Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington.
Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel is looking for talented college students to intern in her District Office during their summer break. To join the Schimel team, please send a cover letter and resume to the Assemblywoman’s District Office at 45 North Station Plaza, Suite 203, Great Neck, New York 11021. For additional information, please contact her Chief of Staff, Emily Frankel, at (516) 482-6966.