Message from
Assemblywoman
Margaret Markey…
Dear Neighbors:

The regular session has ended in Albany. But New Yorkers can expect to experience continuing fallout from the extended budget process where the two branches agonized about how to make our state’s diminished financial resources best meet the most urgent needs of our people.

In the Assembly, we fought hard and succeeded in minimizing drastic cuts that had been proposed by the Governor to education, health and human services programs that our citizens depend on.

Among the many actions we took, significant money was restored to schools and colleges as well as the Tuition Assistance Program. We authorized an increase in charter schools while requiring better oversight in the future. We funded bridge and roadway construction work across the state and we approved a consolidation of state agencies to save money. See inside for other significant achievements during our recent session.

It has been a privilege to represent you in the Assembly these past two years and I hope I will continue to have the opportunity to serve you.
Sincerely,
signature
Margaret Markey


It’s scanner instead of lever:
New voting system will debut at the polls on election day
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Assemblywoman Margaret Markey and a Woodside Senior Center member try out a new vote scanner when the NYC Board of Elections demonstrated the new voting system that will replace the old lever machines beginning with the upcoming September primary day.
Assemblywoman Markey sponsors public demonstrations
When you go to your polling site on the next Election Day, you will find that the clunky old lever voting machines are gone and will instead record your vote on a paper ballot that you then run through a scanner to be recorded.
“It’s a new era for voting in New York City and everyone should exercise their right to vote.”

Assemblywoman
Markey


The change is a result of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 which mandated that voters in New York and every other state must have new voting systems in use no later than 2010.

The new equipment selected by New York, is a scanner made by Elections Systems & Software Inc. Voters have a privacy booth where they can mark their ballots and a magnifying sheet is provided for those who have vision challenges, The system also includes an AutoMARK ballot marking device which permits voters with disabilities to vote privately at every polling site using a touch screen, audio headphones, a Braille keypad and other methods.

When you scan your paper ballot the system uses an optical scanner to record your vote from the marked paper ballot. At the end of the voting day, the device automatically tallies the votes and prints out the final results for poll workers.

To help familiarize Queens voters with the new system, I arranged for the NYC Board of Elections to present free demonstrations at senior centers and public library branches in July and August. It’s a new era for voting in New York City and everyone should exercise their right to vote when Election Day arrives this fall. For additional information go to www.votethenewwayny.com.

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Board of Elections official Valerie Vasquez explains the new voting system to Assemblywoman Markey and Executive Director Matthew Ancona in a public demonstration of the process to members of the Woodside Senior Center, one of a series of demonstrations organized by Assemblywoman Markey at local senior centers and public library branches.
There’s a New Way to Vote
  1. Sign in and receive your paper ballot
  2. Mark the ballot with a provided pen
  3. Insert your ballot in the scanner
  4. Check the screen to ensure your vote has been counted


Assembly and Senate adopt my bills
providing COLA and dialysis benefits
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“My bill to provide an annualcost of living increase for thesurviving families of first responders was adopted again this year by a wide margin.”

—Assemblywoman Markey
Two of my 2010 bills have been adopted by the Assembly and Senate and they will become law when signed by the Governor.

The bill to provide an annual cost of living increase for the surviving families of first responders was adopted again this year by a wide margin in both houses. This measure will give widows and widowers of police officers and firefighters who died in the line of duty a 3% increase in benefits to help these brave families keep up with inflation.

My Dialysis Treatment Bill will give new freedom to patients who require this essential treatment.

Insurance coverage by many firms has previously required dialysis patients to pay a much higher, “out of network” fee for this treatment when they travel away from home. This new bill will require all insurance companies offering plans in New York State to pay the cost of treatments at normal rates when they are away from home.

People who need dialysis treatments already live with restrictions on their personal and working lives that most of us would find hard to adjust to. This new Dialysis Treatment Law gives them a well-deserved measure of comfort.

Legislature acts to benefit New Yorkers
As the dramatic wrangling over fiscal issues dominated public attention, the work of the legislature proceeded to produce positive results for many New Yorkers. Our achievements on behalf of workers, children, seniors and families as well as small businesses and people throughout the state will bring help to many who are struggling to cope with life and living in these challenging times.

Not all of our successes involve issues that make the headlines, but, like my own Dialysis Treatment Bill, they will have an important positive impact for people who need the help of government to make their lives better.

Following are some of our 2010 legislative achievements that have already been signed into law by the Governor or are awaiting the Governor’s final action:

Saved Student Transit Fares – We provided state funding to guarantee that the student bus and subway fare program will continue so children and families can concentrate on learning, not paying extra to get to school.

Require Health Insurance Rate Ok – A new law will require that any plan by a health insurance company to increase premiums in New York state must be pre-approved by the State Superintendent of Insurance to help control unjustified rate increases.

Approved No-Fault Divorce – When this bill finally becomes law, New York State will no longer be the only one in America where blame must be part of the divorce process.

Kept State Parks Open – Some 58 state parks and historic sites which had been shut down by the Governor to cut costs were re-opened in May when agreement was reached on a method to fund them to keep them open for a regular summer season.

Promote Small Businesses – The economy will receive a boost from changes in rules and regulations for women and minority-owned businesses. This bill will create new jobs by providing better opportunities for these small businesses to grow.

Stop Exploitation of Workers – New rules will reduce exploitation and guarantee fair wages for service employees and laborers who have been shortchanged on jobs where they should have received prevailing wages for their work.

Require Autism Coverage – This bill requires accident and health insurance policies to provide lifetime coverage for screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder.

Limited Data Banking by Police – Police will no longer be permitted to keep a database record of people who are stopped by officers but not arrested or detained. Public safety concerns may not override the right of privacy for people who have not been accused of a crime.

Help for Domestic Workers – Domestic workers, including nannies, housekeepers and companions for the elderly, will benefit from this bill which sets minimum requirements for pay, a day of rest, and protections under the state disability law.


Child Victims Act moved to the Senate this year
Six years ago I first introduced the Child Victims Act in the Legislature to help get justice for victims of childhood sexual abuse and expose pedophiles who continue to prey on children. It has been adopted three times in the Assembly.

This year I looked forward to seeing the bill come to the State Senate, where it is sponsored by Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson. Though the bill had been re-introduced in the Senate each year since I first introduced it, it had never been brought up for Senate debate until this year.

With the Assembly expected to once again adopt the Child Victims Act after the Senate acted, Senator Hassell-Thompson made a vigorous case for the bill during a Senate committee hearing. So it was very disappointing that the unanimous opposition of the committee’s minority members prevented the bill from moving forward this year.

The Child Victims Act will provide the opportunity for victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek the only possible justice for the crimes committed against them ---- and it will expose predators who continue to abuse children and those who knowingly shield them from accountability for their illegal and immoral actions.

Public support for the bill has continued to build over the past six years. There have been demonstrations, press conferences, petition drives and post card campaigns. Over the past year alone, thousands of grass roots New Yorkers signed an on-line petition and sent more than 62,000 messages to individual members of the Assembly and Senate to say they want it to become law.

Though we are disappointed in the outcome this session, Senator Hassell-Thompson and I are committed to fight to make the Child Victims Act a law in the year ahead.


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Comptroller visits Queens – New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli greeted Assemblywoman Markey on a recent visit to Queens.
Increase income limit for
Mitchell Lama residents
Residents of Woodside’s Big Six Towers and other Mitchell-Lama developments throughout the city got good news from Albany when the Governor recently signed into law a bill to expand the program by increasing the income limit for participants.

Mitchell-Lama was created in 1955 to provide affordable rental and cooperative housing for New Yorkers, with income limits for residents to ensure it would continue to serve the middle income families. While the economy has changed, the income level for the program has been in place since 1996. This increase in the income threshold will ensure that working individuals and families can continue to live in the city.

Queens Turkish Center – I was pleased to greet Oguzhan Turan, Executive Director of the Turkish Cultural Center, in Albany earlier this year. He spoke with legislators about the Sunnyside-based non-profit organization and its mission to be a forum of international cultural exchange.
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Assemblywoman Margaret Markey
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