Reports to the

Dear Neighbor,

Many in our community have answered the call to serve in our armed forces. As a twenty year member of the Assembly's Veterans' Committee, I have been working hard to insure that our veterans, both recent and from conflicts long ago, are treated with the respect and gratitude they deserve. This newsletter outlines benefits available to veterans and their families. It also describes a new law I passed to increase the annuity available to blind veterans.

I have also been working in Albany to pass legislation to address sweatshops, ticket quotas, bus service and other quality of life issues. This newsletter outlines some of our successes so far.

I was thrilled to once again welcome the residents of the 37th Assembly District to our state capitol in Albany with our bi-annual bus trip. I am always heartened when constituents visit me in Albany.

Here at home I was very pleased that I was able to obtain funding to address the crumbling seawall at Queensbridge.

In addition to the information contained in this newsletter, my offices also have pamphlets available on other subjects. If you are interested in receiving them, please feel free to fill out the form on the back and return it to my office.

As always, my district offices are here to serve you. Please do not hesitate to call or visit them. Best wishes for a healthy and safe summer.

Catherine Nolan


I am pleased to announce that I have been successful in obtaining funds from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to assist in conducting a feasibility study of possible options to address the collapsed Queensbridge seawall.

As many of you know, access to the promenade running along the East River waterfront behind Queensbridge has been closed to pedestrians for the last several years. A combination of factors including age, water flow, storm surge and wave action in the proximity of a nearby BMT underground subway tunnel may have contributed to a 200 foot portion of the 70-year-old structure's collapse.

The US Army Corp of Engineers has completed one study of the seawall and is currently beginning the next phase which includes an engineering analysis, an environmental review and design production. This feasibility study will cost $650,000, half of which is to be funded by the federal government and half by local government.

I am pleased to announce that I have been successful in getting the MTA to agree to provide the local match required for the US Army Corp of Engineers feasibility study of possible options to address the seawall problem. At my request the MTA has agreed to use $325,000 in capital reserve funds to contribute to the seawall rehabilitation.

Working together with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congressman Joseph Crowley and Community Board #2 I am hopeful that the beautiful promenade will once again be able to be enjoyed by Queensbridge residents.

I joined with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Paul Kerzner to plant trees in Ridgewood with the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation. I was so proud to receive Goodwill Industries "Community Commitment to Astoria Award" from Goodwill's Rex Davidson, Gail Harris and Karen Means.

New York State has a toll-free telephone number for people seeking information about veterans' benefits available under state laws. By using this number, veterans can speak with regional counselors who are expertly qualified to provide information about benefits which you may be eligible for. To contact the Division of Veterans Affairs, call 1-888-VETS-NYS.

Blind Vets Bill Becomes Law

Legislation that I sponsored providing for annual adjustments in the annuity payable to blind veterans and to surviving spouses of deceased blind veterans has passed both houses of the legislature and is currently on the Governor's desk.

The bill, A.9598, provides for regular adjustments to the blinded veterans annuity in accordance with federal veterans' benefit increases so that recipients of this benefit will not see a decrease in the value of their benefit.

The bill would provide for annual increases beginning in the year 2005. This increase will be calculated using the percentage adjustment used by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in the previous year. This annual adjustment would be a minimum of 1% and a maximum of 4% per year. Additionally, this bill renders the benefit gender neutral, ensuring that both widows and widowers will be able to receive the benefit.

Thanks to the efforts of Regis Quirin and the Sunnyside Wallace Post, this annuity was recently increased, but had not been increased for several decades, thus diminishing the value of this important benefit. Before the change, this benefit was set at a fixed amount and would have lost value if it were not indexed for inflation. This new law will allow for recipients of the benefit to receive an annual increase so that the value of the benefit will remain the same and not decrease in dollars over time. The annual increase will be based on increases provided for federal veterans' benefits in the previous year.

I was honored to once again march in the Memorial Day Parade sponsored by the Allied Veterans Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale. Pictured with me are Joe Davis and Pat Toro. Marching with me at the Sunnyside Flag Day Parade were Jimmy Van Bramer, Sunnyside resident and Director of Government Affairs for the Queens Library and Joe Conley, Chairman of Community Board #2.

Protecting Soldiers at Home

To protect the financial well-being and the families of New York's military personnel while they serve our country, I helped pass the Patriot Plan. The plan:

  • Imposes a cap on installment loan interest
  • Extends eviction protections
  • Allows for the termination of car leases without penalty
  • Extends mortgage foreclosure protections
  • Extends the deadline to pay property taxes, contingent upon approval by locality
  • Protects against lapse in life insurance for non-payment of premiums
  • Prohibits enforcement of storage liens on household goods
  • Prohibits adverse credit reporting for individuals who previously obtained a stay, postponement or suspension of obligations under the Civil Relief Act.
Ensuring Our Troops Return to Good-Paying Jobs

During this time of economic uncertainty, we must help our military personnel find meaningful work upon their return home. The Patriot Plan:

  • Extends the certification period for emergency technicians on active duty
  • Waives continuing professional education requirements and automatically extends professional licenses
  • Protects soldiers who have to suspend their education, allowing them to retain credits, standings or scholarships, and the student has the option of requesting a refund or credit of tuition and fees.
Taking Care of Soldiers' Families

In the event of a war casualty, the Patriot Plan provides up to $6,000 for funeral costs. The plan also provides four years of free tuition, room and board to any SUNY or CUNY undergraduate school or an equal amount to attend any other college or university in New York State for the children, spouses or dependents of New Yorkers killed or severely disabled in the line of duty after August 2, 1990 (NYS Higher Education Services Corporation www.hesc.orgsearch site for "scholarships" or call DMNA Government and Community Affairs (518) 786-4580).

I was happy to assist the Salvation Army's Borden Avenue Veterans in receiving a $10,000 donation from Phelps Dodge Corp. Pictured with me are Alfred Peck, Director of Social Services for the Salvation Army of Greater New York, Anne Williamson, Manager of Water Quality Programs for Phelps Dodge, Soren Suver, Site Representative, Phelps Dodge and Ron Casey,Chairperson of the Veterans Committee of Community Board #2 and Chairperson of BAVR's Advisory Committee.


Ticket Quota Bill Passes Both Houses

I introduced a bill in the Assembly last session to expand the quota penalty provisions to apply to prohibiting quotas for arrests or summonses. I am pleased to report that this legislation has passed both houses of the legislature and is currently before the Governor for his signature.

Last summer the news was saturated with stories of people being issued summonses for minor infractions of arcane laws, such as the pregnant woman given a ticket for resting on the subway stairs. In addition, there have also been reports from the PBA of retaliatory transfers that may have occurred when police officers did not comply with ticket quotas. Tickets were being issued at alarming rates for very minor infractions when a warning would have been more productive. When summonses are handed out constantly, suspicions are raised that revenue enhancement and not sound policing is the reason.

I am hopeful that this new proposed law will prevent some of the ridiculous summonses that have been issued and will allow the police to use their professional judgment rather than arbitrary quotas when issuing summonses.

I have been working on legislation with Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to address ongoing banking issues. Also pictured is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Trooper Exam Bill Passes

Legislation I sponsored to provide an opportunity for those serving in our armed forces to take the New York State Trooper exam soon after they return from overseas duty has passed both houses of the legislature and is currently before the Governor for his signature.

The bill, A.9580, would require the superintendent of the State Police to accept applications for the state trooper position every six months per calendar year during periods of United States military conflict to accommodate members of the United States military who are recently returned from deployment abroad, and who are otherwise qualified to take the exam.

The New York State Trooper Exam is generally given every three years. Currently, there are members of the armed forces who were eligible to take the exam in March but have been deployed overseas and were not able to take the exam. If not for this new law, they would have had to wait three more years for the opportunity to take the exam. This new law recognizes the sacrifices of these brave soldiers and affords them the opportunity to take this exam soon after they return home.

The Long Island City YMCA visited me in Albany to lobby for funds. Pictured with me from left to right are Michael Keller, Executive Director, Luilly Andrade and Kendall Charter.

Apparel Workers Protection Act Becomes Law

As the past Chairwoman of the Assembly's Labor Committee, I am continuing my work to crack down on sweatshops. I am pleased to report that legislation I sponsored, "The Apparel Workers Protection Act" has been signed into law by the Governor.

The bill, A.8018, authorizes the Commissioner of the Department of Labor (DOL) to publish on the Internet a listing of those persons and entities investigated by DOL or the Special Task Force on the Apparel Industry and found not to be in compliance with the law. In addition, the new law also gives the Special Task Force the ability to immediately close an apparel factory if a serious violation exists.

The strength in this new law is the newly granted powers to the Special Task Force to immediately close any premises deemed to be in serious violation of applicable fire codes. Since Special Task Force inspectors are trained to recognize fire hazards they should have the authority to act upon the discovery of a serious fire violation, potentially saving lives.

Publishing information relating to sweatshop violations on the Internet is a practice utilized successfully by the United States Department of Labor. It is current practice for retailers, manufacturers and contractors to contact the Department of Labor to confirm the registration status of manufacturers and contractors they are considering for contract. This new law now requires that upon such a confirmation request, DOL will also provide a reference to the Web site so that the inquiring entity will be able to check on violation history.

In spite of serious efforts to close sweatshops, workers continue to be victimized by unscrupulous apparel industry employers. The new law is intended to alert retailers and customers to those who have violated the protective laws of our state. I am very pleased that this important legislation was signed into law. It will go a long way in helping to close down sweatshops.

Speaker Sheldon Silver welcomed the contingent of 37th Assembly District residents to the State Capitol in Albany. It was wonderful to have Sunnyside in Albany for the Day. Pictured with me are Luke Adams, Executive Director of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, Diane Ballek, President of the 108th Precinct Community Council and Roel Van Der Kooi. I was thrilled to introduce our group on the floor of the Assembly Chamber. Ridgewood was well represented by Gerard Tate. Assemblyman Jeff Aubry welcomed Queensbridge’s Elizabeth McQueen to the floor of the Assembly Chamber. I was proud to present Woodside’s Alice Cardona with an Assembly resolution commemorating all of her hard work on behalf of the Queens Latino community.

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Please detach and mail to Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan • 61-08 Linden Street, Ridgewood, NY 11385


My two district offices are open Monday through Friday from 9AM – 5PM. Please feel free to call, stop by, write or even e-mail your questions, problem or ideas.

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