Assemblywoman Michele R. Titus Assemblywoman
Michele R.
Reports to
the Residents
Summer 2008

Dear Neighbor,

As your state representative, allow me the opportunity to thank you for your continued support and civic engagement toward making our community a better place to live, work and raise our family. This report describes the work of the State Legislature during the 2008 Legislative Session.

Our State Budget remains on the road to historic reforms in the way we fund education; deliver health care to the elderly and the disabled; provide tax relief for all and promote job creation.

One of the goals of the Assembly was to provide relief to working families and communities struggling as a result of the sub prime lending crisis. We now have a comprehensive measure that will provide assistance to current and future homeowners by modifying the foreclosure process, enacting a sub prime mortgage lending statute, setting standards and limits for home loans, and requiring the registration of loan providers. The legislation would also establish the crime of residential mortgage fraud.

This session, I championed legislation that will improve police and community relations and protect our communities from gun violence and sexual predators. Other significant legislation I put forth will protect our most vulnerable children and more importantly, keep families together.

As Chair of the Task Force on People with Disabilities, I look forward to my new role of ensuring New York State advances policies that allow people with disabilities full integration into every aspect of society.

In our community, I have listened to your most pressing concerns and worked hard to increase job training and placement programs; expand business and job opportunities; and ensure the community has a voice in current community projects.

Working together with our local organizations has allowed me to expand transportation opportunities for our seniors; establish one of the first teen libraries and improve recreational opportunities for our youth.

Once again, I am offering the summer reading challenge. All students that complete the challenge will receive a certificate and bookmark for their achievement. Call my office or visit my web site for a suggested reading list. Please find a completion form and calendar in this report.

Like you , I live and am raising my family here in our community. I have a vested interest in maintaining and improving on the very character and stability of our neighborhoods. I’ll keep you informed on what’s happening in Albany and how it affects you and your family. I am also here to answer your questions and assist you in any way possible. At the same time, I’m counting on your help, too. By sharing your ideas, thoughts and opinions, you’ll help me represent our community better. We all benefit by keeping the lines of communications open.

In closing, there are many summer events planned in the district- I hope to see you there!

Michele Titus

photo Encouraging smiles Assemblywoman Titus hosted the week long New York University dental van with the Principal at PS 183. Children receive free dental exams, cleanings and filings. Encouraging good oral health at a young age is critical.

Keeping the Promise to Our Children

The new State Budget increases education funding by a record $1.75 billion, with a total investment of $21.4 billion. The spending plan includes a $644 million aid increase for New York City schools, and continues the Assembly’s deep commitment to education, despite a daunting economic climate.

This budget is a realistic plan that provides important funding to our schools. The state has put forth a budget that fulfills our unwavering promise to give all children a sound, basic education. Cutting education funding for our children shortchanges kids and deprives them of the education and programs they need to compete. In order for our children to succeed we need classrooms that are not over crowded and buildings that are not crumbling.

Meeting the Commitment to CFE

The Assembly Majority made sure the 2008-09 state budget provided New York City public schools with a $622 million increase in foundation aid, and the 2007-08 school year saw a $470 million increase. The recently passed state budget also rejects a proposed 18-month lag for building aid for current projects.

Despite this record assistance, Mayor Bloomberg reduced education spending in New York City by $180 million through mid-year budget cuts. Also, the mayor proposes an additional $324 million cut in funding for the 2008-09 school year.

A state law passed last year (Ch. 57 of 2007) requires that New York City invest in New York City public Schools by increasing education spending by no less than 2 billion by 2010-2011 school year.

Building Aid

The final budget rejects the 18-month lag for New York City building aid, instead seeking to ensure that building aid estimates are more accurate and that aid is issued in a timely manner. A proposal to offset New York City operating aid with increases in reimbursable aids was also rejected.

If our children are to receive the quality education they deserve, we must ensure that they have adequate facilities in which to learn. By cutting through the red tape, we help get the money where it’s needed most, when it’s needed most.

Increasing Funding to Libraries and Other Programs

Assemblywoman Titus feels it is important that funding be provided to help public libraries and other learning centers statewide. The final budget adds $85 million for additional programs and restorations, including adult literacy education, independent living centers and libraries. The aid will also support programs that provide needed services to disabled adults.

Staying Committed to Universal Pre-K

Early childhood education is important and studies show that pre-K gives our children an advantage in student achievement, college enrollment and future enrollment.

Universal Pre-K received a total funding of $450 million, an increase of $96 million over 2007-08. This expands the number of 4-year-old children attending pre-K from 93,000 up to 121,000, bringing New York even closer to achieving Universal Pre-K.

Ensuring School Personnel Background Checks

Keeping our children safe led to the restoration of this funding to the Education Department’s Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability – which handles background checks for school personnel. The final budget includes $600,000 more for a total add of $1.1 million. This funding will assist school districts across the state in conducting fingerprinting and background checks for prospective employees of school districts and certain workers who might come into contact with students.

This historic aid should help improve our schools-as long as the city remains committed as well.

The final budget helps all of the children in my District:

  • Provides $450 million for the implementation of universal pre-K, an increase of $96 million.

  • Allocates $1.1 million for school personnel background checks

  • Adds $2 million for bilingual education and secures more bilingual teachers as part of the Teachers for Tomorrow program

  • Adds $10 million for after school programs

  • $85 million for additional programs and restoration including adult literacy education, independent living centers and libraries. The aid will also support programs that provide needed services to disabled adults.

photo Assemblywoman Titus held state hearing on bridging the gap of school to work and the need for change within our delivery of services. photo Students at PS 96 enjoy a day at the Capitol with Assemblywoman Titus.

New Gun-violence laws cannot come too soon

photo Assemblywoman Titus with Governor David Paterson.

We must put a stop to the gun violence! Parents must take a stand to protect our children. My colleagues and I have worked together to ensure that safety remains our priority. As a result, the Assembly has put together several pieces of legislation that will not only help put a stop to the violence but also regulate new laws in hopes of keeping our community one step safer.

Last month Governor Paterson advanced measures to address the growing and deadly threat of gun violence in New York State. His actions come after the Assembly’s passage of several vital gun-safety bills that will help keep guns out of the hands of children, help law enforcement officers track down illegal guns, and ban advanced weaponry used to kill police officers.

I’m heartened to see that the governor shares the Assembly’s position on the need for better gun-safety measures, and I encourage him to look to our legislation to guide his efforts. I also strongly urge the Senate to get on board and pass a gun-safety bill that will better protect our families and communities from the tragedies that result from guns finding their way into the wrong hands.

New laws are only one step - join me and other concerned families as we take back our community and save the lives of our children - Act Now!

photo Assemblywoman Titus joins with the community in recognizing Jacques Leandre, President of the Rosedale Jets Sports Association and the entire coaching staff, for their exceptional commitment to our children at their Annual Father’s day celebration in Brookville Park. photo Assemblywoman Titus is joined by Senator Malcolm Smith, Senator Huntley, and Assemblyman Scarborough and Councilman Weprin in awarding Barbara Brown, President of the Eastern Queens Alliance, the NYS Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators’ Assemblywoman Cummings 2008 Award in Albany.

Titus expands opportunities for Minority and Women Owned Businesses (MWBE)

Assemblywoman Titus has been in the forefront on legislation that will improve the laws governing minority and women owned business enterprises (MWBE). Titus advanced legislation that passed in the Assembly to establish an advocate office for minority and women businesses along with a package of other bills aimed at providing training, enforcement and increased opportunities for qualified businesses. Titus concurs with the Governor’s recent charge to commence a disparity study within the industry. In the meantime, Titus remains committed to assisting businesses and the new Export Center does just that.

Assemblywoman Titus secured funding to establish the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s Export Center. In the community, we will now have our own business incubator. This is an opportunity for new entrepreneurs in the district to benefit from being so close to JFK airport. Small businesses will have a one stop support system to grow their business and in turn grow our community.

Titus Secures Grant to
Provide Senior Transportation

During the Ocean Bay Community Development Corp. Senior informational seminar, Assemblywoman Michele Titus presented the community with a Legislative Grant that will be used to purchase a senior van. “Many seniors are left isolated- this free service will help seniors move around Rockaway to accomplish their day to day errands, from grocery shopping to a trip to the bank. As the new Chair of the New York State Task Force on People with Disabilities, I am also proud that the van will be handicap accessible. I am thrilled to work with Ocean Bay CDC to provide this very much needed service for our seniors.”

Titus appointed Chair of Assembly
Task Force on People with Disabilities

Assemblywoman Michele Titus hosted the Assembly’s annual Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day (LDAD). One of the main priorities of the day was to pass a comprehensive package of legislation aimed at improving the lives of people with disabilities. We tackled many important issues through our LDAD legislative agenda. In order to improve voter access, the Assembly package included legislation to:

  • Require polling locations to comply with the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (A.244).

Every polling site will have new accessible machines-

  • Require that wherever possible, polling places be located along public transportation routes (A.7103).

  • Require that Braille ballots be produced for blind or visually impaired voters who request them (A.7196).

In order to increase safe, accessible and affordable housing, the Assembly package included legislation to:

  • Establish the “Access-New York” registry, a detailed listing of accessible and adaptable housing for people with disabilities through the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (A.7107).

  • Authorize savings from the Nursing Facility Transition and Diversion waiver to be reinvested in housing subsidies for certain participants (A.7109).

  • Ensure the safety of people with disabilities living and working in high-rise buildings by requiring such structures to adopt emergency evacuation plans that specifically pertain to the disability community (A.7105).

  • Expand housing availability for people with disabilities, ensuring that housing programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance comply with Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (A.7138).

Other bills included in the Assembly package:

  • Establish the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Disabled Riders Council. (A.10734).

  • Require ATMs to use both audio and visual systems of relaying messages to customers (A.73).

  • Require counties to maintain a registry of residents with disabilities for the purpose of locating, evacuating and providing shelter for them during a disaster situation (A.958).

  • Require both full and self service gas stations to provide full service to people with disabilities with a valid New York state handicapped parking permit at the self-service price, between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm (A.5954).

  • Clarify the scope of protections against discrimination on the basis of disability in services provided by public entities (A.6303).

  • Require public officers and bodies to provide interpreters for the hearing impaired at public hearings under certain conditions (A.7106).

  • Require the Department of Health to promulgate rules and regulations concerning hard of hearing patients and others (A.7137).

  • Simplify the application process for the Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) program by providing for an income limit similar to that currently used for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program (A.7244).

  • Waive the state’s sovereign immunity to liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and certain other federal acts (A.7653).

Assemblywoman Michele R. Titus’
Summer Reading Challenge

“We pledge to read together for at least 15 minutes each day during the months of July and August. For each day we read together, we will mark the attached calendar with a checkmark .”

When you have marked 40 days on this calendar, you have earned an Excellence in Reading Certificate. Fill out the form and return it to Assemblywoman Michele R. Titus.

New York State Assembly Excellence in Reading Certificate Information Form
Child’s Name


Parent or Guardian Name



Number of Days Completed

Favorite Books

To receive your certificate, please have your parents complete the form and send it with the attached calendar to: Assemblywoman Michele R. Titus
19-31 Mott Avenue, Room 301
Far Rockaway, New York 11691

Click here to print the Summer Reading Calendar and Information Form