Reports to
the People
Fall 2003

A Message from Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry

Dear Neighbor,

I am pleased to send you this End of Session Newsletter. In this newsletter, I will inform you about the work of the New York State Legislature during the 2003 legislative session, including the passage of new laws that may have an impact on you and your family.

One of the successes of this legislative session was the passage of the state budget. As you know the Legislature overrode the Governor’s vetoes of its budget and stood firm in its commitment to the people of New York, delivering a fair, responsible budget. Regrettably, the Governor’s wrong choices were not confined to the budget. He gave more than a million tenants false hope that he would support improvements to the Rent Stabilization Laws. The bill backed by the Governor and the Senate threatens affordable housing and therefore strengthens the Assembly’s resolve to carry on the fight for tenants.

The Assembly and Senate joined together and approved a bipartisan $93 billion state budget that provides $1.9 billion in restorations to address $4 billion in cuts to education, health care, higher education and other critical programs and services sought by Governor Pataki. The Legislature’s rejection of the Governor’s proposed budget resulted from the Governor’s attempt to place the burden of meeting the state’s fiscal crisis on the backs of working families, senior citizens, local property taxpayers and others struggling to make ends meet.

The Assembly and Senate restored $1.1 billion of the $1.4 billion which the Governor cut from education, to help school districts across the state avoid cutting essential educational programs, laying off teachers and increasing local real property taxes.

The Assembly and Senate blocked another proposed cut by the Governor to the state’s health-care system by making restorations of more than $2 billion. These reductions threatened the quality of care at medical institutions and endangered 48,000 jobs in the health-care industry, the state’s largest employer. The Legislature restored $782 million for Medicaid, public health and Health Care Reform Act programs. Included in the health-care restorations are measures that would fund local health departments so they can effectively protect the public from emerging diseases like SARS and the effects of potential bioterror attacks. The bipartisan Legislature’s budget also restored the $156,000 which the Governor cut from Breast Cancer Support and Education Services, and continues adult day care and meals for seniors.

The Governor’s budget would have resulted in dramatic increases to local property taxes and greatly reduced state services. This was not a choice I was willing to make. Instead, I supported a budget that made the right choice and invested in education, seniors, healthcare, social services, public safety, economic development, transportation, and the environment.

Several new and important bills passed the Assembly this year. In this newsletter I will share with you, legislation that I have supported, and the progress we have made in passing bills that are vital to our state’s future and well-being, such as legislation to develop a high tech work force through the New York @ Work Plan; hold public authorities such as the MTA, more accountable; improve police and community relations; reform New York’s outdated Rockefeller Drug laws; improve care for adult home residents; save Early Education Programs; reduce the Governor’s proposed higher education tuition hike; protect quality and affordable health care; improve New York’s Homeland Security efforts; increase protection for crime victims; enhance privacy protection laws; and protect public health by holding polluters responsible through the clean-up and redevelopment of contaminated properties, known as Brownfields.

As Chair of the Assembly Standing Committee on Correction, I have reintroduced legislation to reform the Rockefeller Drug Laws, which the Assembly passed in June 2003 (A.7078). I have also introduced legislation to reform the treatment of inmates with serious mental health illness who are placed in special housing units in New York State Correctional Facilities (A.8849). Several public hearings on this important issue have been scheduled for October and November 2003, and January 2004.

I look forward to next year’s Session as we work together to ensure that we make further progress in passing bills that are vital to our district’s and state’s future and well-being.

As always, I appreciate the time that you have taken to review this newsletter. I encourage you to contact me with any questions or concerns that you may have. I hope that you have a safe and enjoyable year ahead, and I look forward to seeing you in the district!


Jeffrion Aubry
Member of Assembly
35th Assembly District
Committee on Correction
Sub-Committee on Airports
& Economic Development

Assemblyman Aubry Played an Instrumental Role In the Passage of the Following Legislation:


The Assembly Restores Cuts to Education

School Aid - The legislature restored more than $1 billion of the $1.4 billion the Governor proposed to cut in aid for public schools for the 2003-2004 school year. The bill ensures full funding for LADDER programs, such as universal pre-kindergarten, class size reduction and extended day programs. In addition, the bill provides a $56 million increase for building aid over the Governor’s proposal and restores funding for teacher support aid, teacher centers, libraries and public broadcasting. (A.2103-B/S.1430-B; Veto Override, Signed into Law, Chapter 62)

New York City School Governance - This bill creates a Community District Education Council in each community district, comprised of eleven voting members and one non-voting member. To increase parent participation, nine of the voting council members will be parents, selected by representatives from parent-teacher associations. Two of the voting members will be appointed by the borough-president and the non-voting member will be a high school senior appointed by the school district superintendent. The community councils will continue to possess the current powers of community school boards and increase their role in community involvement. The duties of school based leadership teams which includes the development of comprehensive educational plans, are also specified in the legislation. (A.9113/S.5788; Signed into Law, Chapter 123)

Defense and Indemnification of Parents - I introduced this bill which seeks to amend the education law in relation to providing defense and indemnification of parents (duly elected or selected by or appointed to a parents’ association, parent-teachers’ association, or school-based management team) serving in certain authorized positions in New York City community school districts, in suits by community board members or superintendents or school principals (A.8853-A/S.5528; Passed Assembly).

Regulation of Private School Bus Drivers - This bill would apply the safety regulations of the state commissioner of education that presently apply to public school district school bus drivers, to private school bus drivers (A.1082/S.392; Signed into Law, Chapter 270)

SUNY/CUNY Tuition - The legislature reduced the Governor’s proposed $1,400 SUNY tuition increase by $450 per student. The legislative budget agreement also restores nearly $80 million in support for SUNY, CUNY and community colleges and provides appropriations for improvements to SUNY and CUNY facilities. (A.2103-B/S.1430-B; Veto Override, Signed into Law, Chapter 53)

TAP - Tuition Assistance Program: The legislature restored $262 million in funding for TAP, and maintained the maximum student award for TAP at $5,000, or 100 percent of tuition. The legislature rejected the Governor’s proposal to force students to defer one third of their TAP award until after graduation, which would have forced students into greater debt, or out of school. The Legislature also restored funding to the Educational Opportunity Programs, which help thousands of college students to pay for textbooks, provide counseling, tutoring, and other services. (A.2103-B/S.1430-B; Veto Override, Signed into Law, Chapter 53)


The Assembly Increases SCRIE Income Eligibility

SCRIE — This bill increases the income eligibility for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program from $20,000 to $24,000. The bill raises the income eligibility exemption to ensure that low-income seniors who benefit from moderate cost-of-living increases in pensions or Social Security will not be forced out of their apartments. (A.6348-A/S.2696-A; Signed into Law, Chapter 382)

Senior Property Tax Exemption — This bill gives local governments the option to raise the maximum income eligibility limit for a 50 percent senior citizens real property exemption from $21,500 to $24,000. (A.8930-A/S.5592; Signed into Law, Chapter 512)

Adult Home Resident Protections - This bill would establish protections for adult home residents who are vulnerable to mistreatment and neglect. The legislation would require background investigations of all current adult home owners and operators and authorize the Department of Health to include in their annual inspections, a review of the nursing home operator’s character and ability. It would also conduct a criminal background search on individuals seeking to operate an adult care facility. The bill would also increase penalties of up to $10,000 for facilities that provide inadequate care, and give the state attorney general increased powers to prosecute crimes in adult homes and require deaths, attempted suicides, and suspected felony crimes to be reported within 24 hours. (A.8689; Passed Assembly)


The Assembly Extends Enforcement of Child Support Orders

Child Assistance Program Extension - This bill extends the enforcement of child support and combined child and spousal support orders by the Department of Taxation and Finance from June 30, 2003 to June 30, 2005. (A.7480/S.1824; Signed into Law, Chapter 88)

Child Support Enforcement - This bill extends the penalty of suspending driving privileges to parents who fail to make child support payments from June 30, 2003 to June 30, 2005. (A.7481/S.1820; Signed into Law, Chapter 87)

Education Programs for Welfare Recipients - This bill would expand access to basic education programs for welfare recipients. It also would require local districts to count the time spent in adult literacy, English-as-a-second-language and high school equivalency programs toward a recipient’s overall work requirement. (A.6503; Passed Assembly/S.4626; Rules)

Non-Recurring Lump Sum - This bill allows public assistance recipients who receive a nonrecurring lump sum to utilize the income towards resources, such as buying an automobile or saving for post-secondary education tuition. The bill aims to help public assistance recipients to invest in ways that will enhance their ability to secure employment. (A.6341-B/S.5442; Signed into Law, Chapter 373)


The Assembly Passes Smoking Ban

Smoking Ban - This bill prohibits smoking in all indoor workplaces, including restaurants and bars. The bill aims to dramatically reduce serious health risks of secondhand smoke to which many employees are exposed. The smoking ban became effective on July 24, 2003 (A.7136/S.3292; Signed into Law, Chapter 13)

Taxpayer Gifts for Heart Disease Prevention - I introduced this bill which provides for taxpayer gifts for heart disease prevention and education, and establishes the Heart Disease Prevention and Education Fund. Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, affecting 20 million people and killing 720,000 annually. This bill gives taxpayers an easy way to contribute to heart disease research with the use of a check off box on tax return forms. Contributions will go directly to the establishment and mission of the "Heart Disease Prevention and Education Fund". (A.6896/S.2668; Passed Assembly)

Gutka Sales Restriction - This bill prohibits the sale of gutka to minors, but allows it to be purchased by adults from tobacco businesses. Gutka is a smokeless tobacco product legally imported from India. Its chewing gum form is sweet and can contain three to four times the amount of nicotine as a cigarette and unhealthy additives like magnesium carbonate. (A.4789-B/S.2887-A; Signed into Law, Chapter 549)


Timothy’s Law - This bill would require health insurance companies to provide a level of coverage for the treatment of mental illnesses, emotional disorders and alcoholism and substance abuse that is comparable to the coverage currently provided for other physical ailments. (A.8301; Passed Assembly/S.5329; Rules)


The Assembly Passes Rent Control Extender

Eight Year Rent Control Extender - This bill extends rent regulations until June 15, 2011, for rent-controlled apartments. The bill would also allow housing units to be deregulated upon vacancy if the legal regulated rent exceeds $2,000, even if the actual rent paid is less than $200. This measure would also allow an owner who charges rent that is less than the legal rent to increase the rent to the legal rent when the lease is renewed. (S.5693; Signed into Law, Chapter 82)

Rent Regulation Extender - This bill would extend existing rent-regulation laws from June 15, 2003 to June 15, 2008 and eliminate "high rent" vacancy decontrol, a provision that has allowed 84,000 units in New York City to be removed from rent regulation. The measure also extends the rent and eviction protections to Mitchell-Lama developments occupied on or after January 1, 1974 and to tenants living in former federal Section 8 housing projects. The legislation would affect rent regulations in 51 municipalities throughout the state that have rent protections, including New York City, Albany, Buffalo and various cities, towns and villages in Albany, Erie, Nassau, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Westchester counties. (A.2716-A/S.2954; Passed Assembly)


The Assembly Passes Measure to Extend Support of Minority And Women Owned Businesses

Minority-and-Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) - This bill extends the provisions of Article 15-A until 2018, and requires that the Urban Development Corporation be added to the list of state agencies that must comply with the article’s provisions. Article 15-A of the Executive Law was enacted in 1988 to ensure that a fair share of state contract dollars are spent with businesses that are owned and controlled by minorities and women. This bill would require state agencies, authorities and departments that expend $2 million a year in state contracts, to submit biannual studies to the Legislature, Governor, the Department of Economic Development and the Office of General Services regarding the progress of small business and MWBE businesses in securing state service and construction contracts. (A.9057/S.2697-A; Delivered to Governor 9/18/03)

NYC Sales Tax Increase - This bill allows the City of New York to increase its sales tax by one-eighth percent from June 1, 2003 to May 31, 2005. (A.8388/S.4968; Veto Override; Signed into Law, Chapter 63)

Clothing/Foot Wear Tax - This bill reinstates the state and local sales tax on clothing and footwear items that cost under $110 during the period of June 1, 2003 to May 31, 2004. The bill would also authorize a sales tax exemption on clothing and footwear under $110 during two seven day periods: Tuesday, August 26 to Monday, September 1, 2003 and Monday, January 26 to Sunday, February 1, 2004. (A.2106-B; Veto Override, Signed into law, Chapter 62)

Temporary Personal Income Tax Increase - This bill sets a new personal income tax rate of 7.5 percent in Tax Year 2003 for income of $100,000 or more for single taxpayers, $125,000 for head-of-household taxpayers and $150,000 for married filing jointly taxpayers. The new imposed rate drops to 7.375 percent in 2004 and to 7.25 percent in 2005. The bill also imposes a new rate of 7.7 percent on all income of taxpayers with an earned income of $500,000 or more for 2003, 2004 and 2005. The new rates will be completely phased out in 2006. (A.2106-B; Veto Override, Signed into Law, Chapter 62)


The Assembly Passes Do-Not-Call List Legislation

Do-Not-Call List — This bill authorizes the state Consumer Protection Board (CPB) to transfer telephone numbers from the state’s "do not call list" to the data base maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) so that a nationwide “do not call registry” is established. (A.8986/S.5484; Signed into Law, Chapter 124)

Ephedra Ban - This bill prohibits the sale of ephedra, a dietary supplement that has been linked to many serious health problems, including increased blood pressure, abnormal heart beat, stroke and death. (A.6921/S.3294-B; Signed into Law, Chapter 385)

Assembly Passes Aubry’s Legislation to Reform New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws

I introduced this bill to reform New York’s Rockefeller Drug laws which was passed in the state Assembly, and is awaiting action in the state Senate. This bill would enact the Drug Reform, Drug Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2003. It makes sentence changes that would increase possession thresholds required to meet Class A-I and A-II felony sentences from 4 to 8 ounces and from 2 to 4 ounces, respectively. This provision would not apply to major drug traffickers. The bill would also increase penalties for major drug traffickers from 15-to-25 years to life to 15-to-30 years to life. This legislation also would impose a five-year minimum sentence for offenders who carry a loaded handgun while selling or attempting to sell drugs. In addition, the bill would provide prosecutors, in all cases involving eligible defendants, the first chance at deciding whether low-level, non-violent drug offenders may be diverted from a potential prison term to drug treatment. Only after this initial prosecutorial determination has been made would the judge be empowered to make a decision on treatment. (A.7078; Passed Assembly)

Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision - I introduced this bill which enacts and enters New York State into the "Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision," to control and regulate the interstate movement of probationers and parolees released into the community through the cooperative efforts of member states. (A.851-A/S.5202-A; Signed into Law, Chapter 688)

Treatment of Inmates with Mental Health Illnesses Confined in Special Housing Units (SHU’s) - I introduced this bill to address the increasing incidence of serious mental illness among inmates in New York State Correctional Facilities. Currently, approximately 12 percent of the prison population, (approximately 8,000 inmates) is affected by serious mental illness. Assembly public hearings on this bill are scheduled for October and November 2003 and, January 2004. (A.8849; Referred to Assembly Ways & Means Committee)


The Assembly Passes Measure to Strengthen Penalties for Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault - This strengthens the provisions of the Sexual Assault Reform Act of 2000 (SARA) by closing gaps in the law with more effective safeguards and tougher penalties. Its provisions include stronger protections for individuals who are sexually assaulted by their spouses, the creation of the sexual assault forensic payment program and the setting of effective penalties for forcible touching and persistent sexual abuse. (A.9116/S.5690; Signed into law, Chapter 264)

Sex Offender Notification - This bill requires that under the Sexual Assault Reform Act, when a released sex offender resides in the community, a photograph of the offender be included in any notification made to community organizations. (A.707-A/S.5571; Signed into Law, Chapter 316)

Crime Victim Counseling - This bill would authorize the use of crime victim assistance funds for financial counseling for elderly and disabled victims of fraud or economic crimes. This bill would also help New Yorkers who are victims of crimes related to telemarketing fraud or identity theft. (A.8136/S.3217; Signed into Law, Chapter 391)

Community Policing - The Assembly passed a police community relations legislative package, which aims to provide law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to serve their communities effectively, and includes legislation that would help police departments compensate employees with certain language skills (A.5367); impose reporting requirements and certain restrictions on "no knock" search warrants (A.8848); prohibit racial or ethnic profiling by police agencies and require the collection of data regarding traffic stops and "stop and frisk" incidents. (A.6989); and authorize the attorney general to investigate and prosecute police misconduct (A.6488).

Video Voyeurism — This bill makes it a class E felony to photograph or video tape individuals secretly in most private circumstances without consent. The bill also makes it a felony for a photographer or an accomplice to distribute these photographs or video tapes, and bans anyone from knowingly disseminating such unlawful images. The bill also requires criminals who repeatedly commit video voyeurism crimes be charged with a class D felony and face up to seven years in prison. (A.8926/S.3060-B; Signed into law, Chapter 69)


The Assembly Passes Measure to Extend Filing Deadline for 9/11 Victims’ Lawsuits

9/11 Victims’ Law Suit Extension - This bill extends the time period for filing of wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This bill effectively postpones the deadline for lawsuits by an additional six months, until March 11, 2004. (A.8021/S.4285; Signed into Law, Chapter 114)

18-B Attorney Fees - This bill increases fees for attorneys appointed by a court to represent individuals who are unable to afford their own legal representation. The bill replaces the $40 per hour fee for in court legal work and $25 per hour fee for out of court work rates, with a $60 per hour fee for misdemeanors, and a $75 per hour fee for felonies, with a cap of $2,400 and $4,400, respectively. (A.2106-B; Veto Override, Signed into Law, Chapter 62)


The Assembly Passes Legislation to Bring NYS in Compliance with HAVA

Help America Vote Act (HAVA) - Florida’s dysfunctional voting system took center stage during the November 2000 presidential elections and ultimately led to a new federal law to overhaul the nation’s voting standards. To bring New York State into compliance with the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) and be eligible for up to $230 million in federal funds, the Assembly approved legislation that would modernize and improve the election process in New York State. (A.9061/S.5617; Signed into Law, Chapter #244)


The Assembly Passes Brownfield Legislation

Superfund/Brownfield Legislation — This bill refinances and reforms the state’s Superfund Program and creates a new Brownfield Program to clean up contaminated industrial and neighborhood sites and return them to productive use. The bill provides community organizations with access to $15 million each year through the new Brownfield Opportunity Areas Planning Program that provides grants for neighborhood planning and Brownfield site assessments, as well as technical assistance grants so these organizations could participate in the Superfund and Brownfield cleanups. At the Assembly’s urging, to increase participation, municipalities will receive 90 percent of eligible clean-up costs and will be allowed to keep any profit realized from the sale of rehabilitated property. More than $168 million is still available in this program. (A.9120/S.5702; Signed into Law, Chapter 1)


The Assembly Passes Legislation Reducing Blood Alcohol Concentration Level

DWI .08 — This bill aims to reduce drunk driving in New York State by lowering the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level at which persons are found to be driving while intoxicated from .10 percent to .08 percent. This measure took effect on July 1, 2003. (A.2106-B/S.1406-B; Signed into Law, Chapter 62)

New York City Truck Routes — This bill increases the fines for operating a truck on a street that is not part of a designated truck route. Under the bill, violators will face fines of up to $2,000. (A.1433-A/S.1505-A; Signed into Law, Chapter 203)

USA Team Tennis
New York Junior Tennis League
Early Morning Indoor Winter Program
Free Tennis Instruction for Children Ages 6-18
November 8-9, 2003 – March 2004
The Early Morning Winter Program is geared towards beginners to intermediate players. Loaner tennis racquets and balls will be provided. You may register at the tennis facility of your choice during the hours of the program (see listing below for locations and hours). Instructors will conduct drills, games and whenever possible, oversee match play. There will be opportunities for players to compete in tournaments. The program ends with a culminating tournament – the L.H. Hartman Cup on April 4, 2004. If you need additional information, please contact the New York Junior Tennis League at 718-786-7110, ext. 157.

USTA National Tennis Center
Flushing Meadows Park, Flushing
Saturday and Sunday: 6am-8am

Bay Terrace Tennis Center
212-00 23rd Avenue, Bayside
Saturday: 5:30am-7:00am

Cunningham Tennis Center
196-00 Union Turnpike, Fresh Meadows
Sunday: 6am-8am

Alley Pond Racquet Club
79-20 Winchester Blvd., Queens Village
Call NYJTL for day and time.

Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities, Inc.
33-16 108TH Street
Corona, NY 11368/(718) 651-0096
Provides recreational, educational, cultural and health promotion activities for the community.

Lefrak City Youth and Adult Activities Association, Inc.
97-30 57th Avenue
Corona, NY 11368/(718) 472-8582
Provides services for community youth and adults. The program has educational and recreational components that offer young people alternatives to deviant behavior. Cultural activities and local in-state field trips are also provided.

Queens Borough Public Library-Latch Key
Enrichment Program
East Elmhurst Library
95-06 Astoria Blvd.
East Elmhurst, NY 11369/(718) 424-2619
Lefrak City Branch 98-30 57th Avenue
Corona, NY 11368/(718) 592-7677
The Latch-Key enrichment program is an after-school program, which provides enrichment as well as supervision for many school age children while their parents are at work.

Dominico-American Society of Queens, Inc.
35-54 98th Street
Corona, NY 11368/(718) 457-5395
Offers educational assistance to low-income immigrants, including English as a second language instruction and training in citizenship and civic classes.

South Asian Youth Action
54-05 Seabury Street
Elmhurst, NY 11373/(718) 651-3484
Serves youth from Bangladesh, Guyana, India, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka and Trinidad. The mission is to promote self-esteem, provide opportunities for growth and development, and build cultural, social and political awareness.

New York State Assemblymember Jeffrion Aubry
District Office
98-09 Northern Boulevard
Corona, New York 11368
(718) 457-3615
fax: (718) 457-3640
Legislative Office
526 Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12248
(518) 455-4561
fax: (518) 455-4565

My offices are here to serve you.
If you have a question, problem or idea, please do not hesitate to call or drop by and we will do our best to try to assist you.