Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan
Reports to the People

Dear Neighbor,

This newsletter will update you on my activities this year during the legislative session in Albany. It was a busy year with Speaker Sheldon Silver asking me to step up in Assembly leadership to become the Chairwoman of the Assembly’s Banks Committee. This was certainly an opportunity I could not pass up. We hit the ground running with the Banks Committee by focusing on enhancing consumer protections and passing several new laws to strengthen ATM security, provide enhanced financial services checks and to maintain a competitive balance among banking institutions.

We were also successful passing legislation to address the ticket/summons quota blitz, raising the income eligibility of SCRIE, expanding the “Do Not Call” registry and most importantly the New York City School Governance package.

I am always pleased when residents of our district travel to Albany to participate in the legislative process. I was thrilled to see so many from Ridgewood, Sunnyside and Long Island City make the trip to lobby on issues of importance to them and our communities. Collectively our voices become stronger when we all participate in the legislative process.

As always, my offices are here to serve you. Please stop by.

Catherine Nolan


Shortly after this past legislative session began, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver asked me to step up in Assembly leadership to become the Chairwoman of the Assembly’s Banks Committee.

During my nine year tenure of the Chairwoman of the Assembly’s Labor Committee, I was able to pass over fifty new laws to assist working people. They include the Unpaid Wages Prohibition Act, the Nurses Whistleblower Protection Act and numerous laws to strengthen sweatshop enforcement. I am also proud that we were able to secure funding for the first ever occupational safety and health clinic in Queens and the first Jobs for Youth program in western Queens that is operated jointly by LaGuardia Community College and Jacob Riis.

Although as Speaker Silver said "My heart will always be in labor", I am pleased and proud that he appointed me to lead this powerful and important committee.

The Assembly Standing Committee on Banks is responsible for reviewing and initiating legislation that affects financial institutions that either operate in or whose actions affect New York State. The Committee’s statutory purview includes the Banking Law, the General Obligations Law, the Uniform Commercial Code, and the Personal Property Law. Entities under the jurisdiction of the Banking Law include banks, trust companies, savings banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, bank holding companies, safe deposit companies, employee welfare funds, sales finance companies, licensed lenders, licensing cashing of checks, mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, insurance premiums, finance agencies and foreign and private banks.

I intend to focus the committee’s efforts on enhancing consumer protections and maintaining a competitive balance among banking institutions. Already this legislative session, the Banks Committee hosted the New York City Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, Gretchen Dykstra, who spoke about banking consumer issues. We were also successful in passing legislation to enhance security at ATM machines. I plan on holding legislative hearings on such issues as predatory lending and ATM/bank security. I look forward to this new challenge.

photo As one of my first actions as Chairwoman of the Banks Committee, I hosted Gretchen Dykstra, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. Pictured above with me from left to right are Pauline Toole, New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, Brian Quiara, Banks Committee analyst, Teri Kleinmann, Banks Committee Counsel, Commissioner Dykstra and Benita Leigh-Lewis, Banks Committee assistant.

The following is a summary of the legislation that the
Assembly acted on this session


  • Senior Property Tax Exemption — This bill would grant 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; Passed both Houses)
  • SCRIE — This bill would increase the income eligibility for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program from $20,000 to $24,000. The SCRIE program exempts rent controlled/rent stabilized and Mitchell Lama tenants who are over 62 and are spending at least one-third of their net monthly income on rent from increases resulting from lease renewal, higher fuel costs, landlord hardships, major capital improvements and calculation of their Maximum Base Rent. 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.2694-A; Passed both Houses, delivered to the Governor)
  • Locating Missing Disoriented Adults — This bill would authorize the State Office for the Aging to develop a prompt notification and response plan for locating missing, disorientated adults, similar to the Amber Alert program for missing children. (A.3507-A/S.2833-A; Passed both Houses)


  • Sexual Assault — This bill would strengthen 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 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 would require 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 the community organizations. (A.707-A/S.557; Signed into law, Chapter 316)
  • Stalking Bill — This bill would allow stalking and other crime victims to seek a special order of conditions against a defendant who has been found not guilty of a crime due to a mental disease or defect. Currently, the law invalidates orders of protection if their target is found not guilty by reason of insanity or accepts a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease. (A.6895-A/S.2970; Passed both Houses)
  • 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. The bill would help New Yorkers who are victims of crimes related to telemarketing fraud or identity theft. (A.8136/S.3217; Signed into law, Chapter 3a)
  • Video Voyeurism — This bill would make it a class E felony to photograph or video tape individuals secretly in most private circumstances without their consent. It also would make 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 would require 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)


  • Do-Not-Call List — This bill would authorize 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. The bill would discontinue the CPB’s practice of maintaining a data base of names and numbers in order to comply with the federal registry requirements, which only records numbers. The bill would notify a greater number of vendors across the country of consumers who do not want to be solicited over the telephone, and it also would provide consumers with more control over the calls they receive. (A.8986/S.5484; Signed into law, Chapter 124)
  • Pre-Need Funeral Issues — This bill would make provisions in the law to protect consumers when making pre-need funeral arrangements permanent. The legislation would continue protections in the general business law that require all money used to purchase funeral merchandise to be held in trust in an interest bearing account and extend for four years provisions that prohibit funeral directors from accepting any consideration from an insurance company for the promotion of an insurance policy that is payable at the death of the insured for burial or funeral expenses. (A.9063/S.5637; Signed into law, Chapter 105)


  • School Aid — This bill would restore 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. Specifically, the bill would ensure full funding for LADDER programs, such as universal pre-kindergarten, class size reduction and extended day programs. In addition, the bill would provide a $56 million increase for building aid over the Governor’s proposal and restore funding for teacher support aid, teacher centers, libraries and public broadcasting. (A.2103-B/S.1430; Veto override, Chapter 62)
  • New York City School Governance — This bill would create 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. Under the bill, 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.5688, Signed into law, Chapter 123)


  • Joint Legislative Committee on Preparedness — The resolution would establish the Temporary Joint Legislative Committee on Disaster Preparedness and Response. This joint legislative committee, comprised of Assembly and Senate members, would work in a bipartisan way to ensure the state has a coordinated and comprehensive strategy to prevent, prepare and respond to any disaster. (Assembly Resolution 897, Senate Resolution, 1911; Passed both Houses)


  • DWI .08 — This bill would seek a crackdown on drunk driving in New York State by reducing the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level at which persons are deemed to be driving while intoxicated from .10 percent to .08 percent. The 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 would increase the fines for operating a truck on a street that is not part of a designated truck route. Under the bill, violators would face fines of up to $2,000. (A.1433-A/S.1505-A; Signed into law, Chapter 203)


  • Patriot/Merit — This bill would provide new and enhanced benefits to New York State military personnel that will minimize the disruptions that military activation may cause in their lives and the lives of their families. This legislation would establish a family liaison office at the Department of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA); require at least one library in every county to designate a computer for the use of family members of those called to active duty; direct DMNA to negotiate bulk telephone service rates for persons in military service; provide facilities in armories for teleconferencing between active duty personnel and their families; allow students to remain in the same school district if a parent relocates due to being called to active duty; help veterans transfer their military training and experience to civilian jobs; and extend the certification period for emergency medical technicians who have been ordered to active military duty.

    The bill would also waive continuing professional educational requirements to armed forces personnel who are on active duty; establish a hotline to provide information on the Persian Gulf syndrome, Agent Orange, Hepatitis C and other war-related illnesses; establish the Military Enhanced Recognition, Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) scholarship program that makes scholarships available to the military personnel who are legal residents of New York State and to their children when a soldier has died, been declared missing or permanently and severely disabled during active duty in a combat theater or combat zone of operations on or after August 2, 1990.

    In addition, the bill also would establish a New York State supplemental burial allowance program to help defray the cost of burial of a resident who died in combat. (A.9110/S.5679; Signed into law, Chapter 106)


Ticket/Summons Quota (A.7476) — This legislation would expand the provisions of current law which prohibits the imposition of a ticket quota to also prohibit quotas for summons or arrests. I first introduced this bill last year in cooperation with the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association. The numerous stories of people receiving summons was the impetus for the legislation passing both houses of the legislature this year. Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed this important bill.

ATM Safety (A.8442) — This bill would amend the state’s banking law in relation to security measures at ATM’s by extending the amount of time that banking institutions must retain ATM surveillance recordings from thirty to forty-five days. Current law states that banking institutions must retain ATM surveillance recordings only for thirty days. Considering, however, the number of ATM scams designed to steal consumer’s ATM cards and PIN numbers, banking institutions should retain potentially valuable video evidence for longer time in order to improve consumer’s financial safety. Extending this video retention period would help to combat ATM fraud by allowing consumers to account for errors in their bank statements before video evidence of the fraudulent activity is discarded. This bill passed both houses of the legislature and is currently awaiting action by the Governor.

Employee Exposure to Toxic Substances (A.8014) — This bill would require that employers, in their records of employees who handle or use toxic substances, identify which toxic substance employees handled or used. I sponsored this legislation with Senator George Onorato. It passed both houses of the legislature and it currently awaits the Governor’s review.

Health Test Notification (A.5408) — This legislation would add a new section to the public health law to require laboratories to notify patients regarding when the results of medical tests or laboratory work were made available to the health care practitioner who ordered the test. Delays in receiving test results and, therefore, an appropriate diagnosis, allow diseases which are easily treated in their early stages to progress unnecessarily, thereby threatening patients’ health and lives. This bill deals with these life-threatening issues by requiring that patients be notified when their health care provider has received their lab results. This bill passed the Assembly, but was not acted upon by the Senate.

Public hearings are an important part of the legislative process. As a member of the Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee, I participated in a public hearing to investigate the impact and issues involved with the MTA’s potential acquisition of private bus companies serving Queens.

Financial Services Checks (A.7966) — This bill would expand the New York State Banking Department’s authority to obtain criminal history record checks of the persons it fingerprints when initially certifying, licensing or registering such persons, or the entities they represent, to provide financial services. By doing so, the Banking Department will be able to determine whether such persons have criminal records that would otherwise disqualify them from providing financial services. Only persons who have not met rigorous character and fitness standards should be permitted to obtain a license to conduct financial transactions. This bill was signed into law.

Apparel Workers’ Protection Act (A.8018) — This legislation would protect workers who work in the apparel industry by authorizing the Commissioner of the Department of Labor to publish on the Internet a listing of those persons or entities investigated by the Department or the Special Task Force on the Apparel Industry and found not to be in compliance with the law. Any retailer, manufacturer or contractor seeking verification of the registration status of a manufacturer or contractor shall be provided with reference to this web listing. The bill also empowers inspectors from the Special Task Force to evacuate and close any premises deemed to be in serious violation of the applicable fire code. In spite of serious efforts to eradicate sweatshops, workers continue to be victimized by unscrupulous apparel industry employers. This legislation is intended to alert retailers, customers and the marketplace generally, to those who have violated the protective laws of our state. This bill passed the Assembly but was not acted upon by the Senate.

Pay Equity (A.6252) — This legislation is aimed at prohibiting employers from paying women less money than their male counterparts for equal or comparable worth. The bill would clarify provisions of the state labor law as they relate to the payment of disparate wages for work based on differences in gender. Present law prohibits unequal pay for the same work. Under the terms of this bill, those performing comparable work would have to be paid equally. It is unjust that women are paid significantly less than their male counterparts for work of equal or similar responsibility and skills. Pay equity benefits not only women, but society and the economy as a whole. This bill passed the Assembly but was not acted upon by the Senate.


Sunnyside residents and United Federation of Teachers members Pat Pam and Barbara Glassman made the trip to Albany to discuss education funding for our local schools.
Ridgewood resident and Steamfitter Local 28 member Tom Bornemann is an Albany veteran, making the trip up yearly to lobby for issues concerning working families. Pictured above with me from left to right are Richard Knice, recording secretary for Local 28, Charlie Saunders, Queens PAL representative and Tom Bornemann.

Housing advocates from Ridgewood and Sunnyside met with me in Albany to discuss housing issues.

I was happy to meet with the Friends of the Queens Library in Albany. Among those pictured above with me are Long Island City resident George Stamatiades, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Queens Library, Jimmy Van Bramer, Director of Queens Library Community Affairs, George Ghulman and Rich DelGiorno of Ridgewood and Filquezmena Demaisip of Sunnyside.
Long Island City and Sunnyside residents and DC 37 members traveled to Albany to lobby against the Governor’s proposed budget cuts. Pictured above with me are Donna Gibson, Christine Thompson and Margaret Karacsony.

I met with the leadership of the Uniformed Firefighters Association to oppose the closing of Engine Company 261 in Long Island City. Pictured above with me from left to right are James Slevin, Vice President and Stephen Cassidy, President.
Students from Grover Cleveland traveled to Albany to see government up close in action. Pictured above with me are Assemblymembers Audrey Pheffer and Marge Markey.


My district 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. Both offices are open Monday through Friday from 9am until 5pm.

61-08 Linden Street, Ridgewood, NY 11385 (718) 456-9492
45-25 47th Street, Woodside, NY 11377 (718) 784-3194