Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan Assemblywoman
Reports to the People
Fall 2005

Dear Neighbor,

This newsletter will update you on my activities this year during the legislative session in our state’s capitol in Albany. It was an active session. We were able to pass legislation to strengthen the provisions of “Megan’s Law,” increase accountability for both public authorities and our school system, to create a website for consumers to compare the prices of prescription drugs and to pass a law to make hospitals keep better track of infections to ensure that a stay in the hospital helps, not hurts.

This session, part of my legislative program focused on increasing safety on our trains and buses. As you may have read, there are proposals to remove token booth clerks and institute one person train operation. I will continue to fight these proposals, which may have potentially dangerous consequences.

Additionally, I am working on legislation to combat the growing problems of identity and home equity theft.

Lastly, this coming winter promises to bring increased home heating costs. This newsletter outlines two programs designed to offer some assistance to eligible households. I urge you to look into them.

As always, my offices are here to serve you. Please do not hesitate to call, write, e-mail or drop by.

Catherine Nolan


With home heating costs expected to rise 50% this coming winter, I would like to remind our neighbors of two programs which can help with the cost of heating their homes this winter. One program is open to all and the other program is designed for senior citizens.

HEAP – Home Energy Assistance Program - HEAP is a federally funded program that assists eligible people to pay their fuel and/or utility costs. Eligible households are awarded a grant to help pay energy costs. The amount of the grant is based on household size, income and whether the applicant pays directly for heating his or her home. Persons who pay directly for gas and electricity, but not for heating, may receive a maximum of $50 per year. Persons who pay directly for heating their homes may receive a maximum of $4,000 per year. Only one grant per household is permitted.

Although there is no age restriction, to be eligible for HEAP, a household must meet certain income, residency, fuel/utility expense criteria. The monthly income limit for households with one member is $1,702 and $2,226 for households with two members.

WRAP – Weatherization, Referral and Packaging Program – WRAP is a federally funded service administered by the NYC Department for the Aging, provides low-income elderly with free home energy-related services that can lower energy bills and increase the comfort of their homes. Eligible seniors will be assisted in accessing needed social and support services. In order to be eligible for WRAP, applicants must meet the following criteria: be at least 60 years of age or older; OR be the head of household receiving Social Security Disability benefits; must reside in a dwelling of one to four units; and must be income eligible. The monthly income for households with one member is $1,702 and $2,226 for households with two members.

For additional information on either of these two programs,
please call either of my district offices.

I recently met with Borough President Helen Marshall and William Goldstein, President of the School Construction Authority (SCA) to discuss the condition of the schools in our community. My office conducted a survey of all the schools in the 37th Assembly District and I brought my concerns to the attention of the SCA. Pictured with me from left to right are RoseAnn Darche, of the Queens Borough President’s Office, Borough President Marshall, SCA President Goldstein, and Lorraine Grillo, Senior Director of Real Estate Services for SCA.

The following is a summary of some of the legislation that the
Assembly acted upon this past session.


Sex Offender/Megan’s Law – The Assembly continued its efforts to protect the public from sexual offenders by approving legislation that would:

  • provide for public disclosure of any aliases used by Level 2 or Level 3 sex offenders (A.2664/S.493-A; Chapter 318)
  • authorize hearings in absentia for sex offenders to facilitate Megan’s Law requirements (A.3758-A/S.1168-A; Chapter 684)

Vulnerable Population Notification – This bill would require law enforcement agencies to maintain a list of entities with vulnerable populations that may be notified when a sex offender is determined to pose a risk to public safety (A.2252-A/S.5753-A; Chapter 680)

Sex Offenders Banned from School Grounds – This bill would prohibit any Level 3 sex offenders placed on probation, conditional release or parole from being on school grounds or certain other facilities where children are cared for (A.8894/S.479-A; Delivered to the Governor)

Victim Notification – This bill would provide ways for crime victims to stay informed about the status of their offender by making victims aware of how to get updated information about an inmate. Under the bill, the district attorneys would be mandated to consult with a victim of violent crime on the disposition of their case and notify victims of the final disposition. In addition, the bill would require the district attorney of the county where the incarcerated inmate was prosecuted be notified of the inmate’s release (A.714-B/S.5092; Chapter 186)



Security Breach Notification – This bill would require state agencies and businesses to notify individuals of the potential acquisition by an unauthorized person of vulnerable personal information (A.4254-A/S.3492-A; Chapter 442)

Wireless Telephone Directory – This bill would prohibit the disclosure or use of a wireless cell phone number for the purpose of creating a wireless directory without the permission of the owner (A.7180-A;/S.2963-A; Chapter 655)

Do Not Call List – The legislation would provide protections against abuses of the current Do Not Call Law, which allows telemarketers to call consumers when there is an established business relationship. Under the new law, telemarketer calls to consumers where a business relationship exists would be prohibited when a consumer requests not to be called (A.7710/S.4180; Chapter 214)


Public Authority Reform Act – This bill would enact the “Public Authority Reform Act” which would increase accountability, deter misconduct and reduce waste and inefficiency at the more than 730 state and local public authorities and affiliates. Under the bill, a statewide independent inspector general and independent budget officer would be created and each authority would be required to appoint a central procurement office to monitor procurement lobbying contracts (A.9007/S.5927; Passed both houses)


Comptroller’s School District Accountability Plan – This bill would establish better fiscal accountability for school districts by requiring districts to adopt several reform measures aimed at improving oversight of district financial records. Included in the bill are provisions requiring voting members of school boards to complete a training program within the first year of their term, establish an internal audit function and audit committees, and require that the external auditor be selected through a competitive process (A.6082-B/S.5050-A; Chapter 263)


Cervical Cancer Prevention – This bill would expand the Breast Cancer Advisory Council to include responsibility for cervical cancer. The bill would require the council to raise public awareness about the causes of cervical cancer, what preventative steps can be taken against the disease as well as the available diagnostic procedures, treatments and insurance coverage (A.8827/S.5713; Chapter 430)

Hospital Infection Disclosure – The bill would require hospitals to collect, maintain and report an infection rate for specified surgical procedures to the State Department of Health (DOH). Under the bill DOH would be required to establish a statewide database of hospital infection information and also report to the governor and the legislature various trends and developments occurring in hospitals operating in New York State (A.8698-A/S.5086-A; Chapter 284)

Internet Drug Pricing – The bill would require DOH to establish and maintain a database on its website enabling consumers to compare the retail drug prices of pharmacies. The website database would contain 150 of the most prescribed drugs and be searchable by zip code and other factors (A.5403-A/S.1936-A; Chapter 293)


Hit and Run Drivers – The bill would crack down on hit and run drivers by increasing penalties for leaving the scene of an accident that results in a death from a class E to a class D felony, raising the maximum prison sentence up to seven years. The measure also would increase penalties for offenses involving physical injury from a class B misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor for a first time offense, and from a class A misdemeanor to a class E felony for repeat offenses (A.3327/S.4584; Chapter 49)


Patriot Plan – This bill would ensure that survivors of eligible public employees who die while on active duty in the armed forces receive the same death benefit and health insurance as survivors of all others who die while working as public employees. The legislation also would reimburse survivors the cost of premium payments for $250,000 worth of life insurance that is provided to members of the militia during active service through the Service Members General Life Insurance Program (A.8291/S.5436; Chapter 105)

Life Insurance Benefit Increase – The bill would match a federal law that raised the maximum cap on service members’ general life insurance (SGLI), which is available to the men and women of the state’s militia, from $250,000 to $400,000 (A.8856/S.5799; Chapter 681)

The following is a list of some of the bills that I have sponsored in the
Assembly during this past legislative session.

NYC Transit Passenger Safety Act (A.3654) –

This bill would enact the NYC Transit Passenger Safety Act by providing for minimum staffing levels on trains operated in passenger service in the NYC transit system. It would require at least one train operator and one conductor on each and every passenger train. The presence of trained conductors and operators on subway trains operated by the NYC Transit Authority is particularly essential to the safety of passengers when emergencies arise while trains are in tunnels under bodies of water or on bridges, when trains are composed of many cars and during periods of heavy passenger volume. This legislation passed the Assembly but was not acted upon by the Senate.

Home Equity Theft Prevention Act (A.7667-a) –

This legislation would help to protect homeowners from deed theft scams which result in the loss of their homes and the equity they have built up. The Home Equity Theft Prevention Act is designed to insure, foster and encourage fair dealing in the sale and purchase of homes in foreclosure or default; to prohibit representations that tend to mislead; to prohibit or restrict unfair contract terms; requires various forms of notice to homeowners; requires licensing of repeat home equity purchasers. This bill seeks to address the growing problem of deed theft and home equity theft scams. Many homeowners who are in default or who are facing foreclosure are being approached by persons or businesses that promise to help them “save” their homes. Unfortunately, many of these promises are actually scams which manipulate homeowners into transferring the title of their property. This bill passed the Assembly but was not acted upon by the Senate.

Health Test Notification (A.1173) –
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.

Committee on Personal Security (A.1297) –

This bill would establish the Committee on Personal Security within the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) board to monitor and provide continuous oversight over issues affecting crime and personal security in the transit system. The committee would consult with the staff of the Transit Authority and the NYC Police Department to continue and expand crime reduction progress. This legislation, by creating a new committee to monitor personal safety and security, and by requiring the attendance of a representative of the NYPD at every MTA committee meeting, will ensure that the city of New York and the Transit Authority monitor and report on transit crime statistics. This bill passed the Assembly but was not acted upon by the Senate.

Industrial Business Zones (A.8774) –

This bill is designed to create an industrial business zone boundary commission that shall have the authority to designate, amend and repeal the boundaries of industrial business zones in the city of New York. The bill would allow the city to offer a tax credit for eligible business relocation costs, geared to the number of full-time employees when a business relocates into the zone. The zones will provide industrial and manufacturing firms with an incentive to make long-term investments to start and expand their business in New York City. This bill will help us retain and attract industrial and manufacturing businesses and therefore jobs. This bill was signed into law.


As the Chairwoman of the Assembly’s Banks Committee, I have been working on ways to combat the growing problem of identity theft. I recently held a joint public hearing with the Committee on Consumer Affairs to examine this serious issue. We heard testimony from District Attorney Richard Brown as to the extent of the problem in Queens. I am working closely with his office to come up with strategies to crack down on this consumer abuse.

Visa Card

One way to combat identity theft is to keep a close eye on your credit reports. As of September 1, New Yorkers can get a free copy of their credit reports to ensure that their information is correct, and their identity protected. Under the federally mandated Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act), residents can obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union). Monitoring credit activity is an excellent way to protect against unauthorized activity on your accounts. With free credit reports, you can easily monitor balances, payment history, account status and help prevent becoming a victim of identity theft.

Additionally, to further protect consumers, legislation that requires public and private organizations to notify customers when their private information has been breached, was signed into law. Under this new law, business and government will be legally obligated to immediately notify consumers whenever a security breach takes place so that customers can take action to protect their identities. In instances where 5,000 or more New Yorkers are affected by data theft, the State Attorney General, Consumer Protection Board and the Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination will be notified as well. This vital tool will prevent the illegal use of stolen information and set a national standard of how to provide better protection to our citizens through prompt notification.

Discover Card

Credit reports are reviewed by banks, and by loan and mortgage officers to determine the qualification level to purchase a home or car or get a student loan. More and more, credit reports are becoming part of other review processes. Many employers review the credit reports of candidates before making a job offer. Therefore, being informed with up-to-date credit information is critical.

Since residents can obtain a free report from each of the credit reporting agencies, you can compare by requesting all three reports at the same time, or you can space them out over the course of a year (once every four months) to monitor any recent developments. Be aware of commercial, unofficial offers for “free” credit reports, as they often contain hidden charges and commitments.

With more and more relying on your credit report, make sure you are in control of your personal financial records. To order your free credit report, visit or call (877) 322-8228.

As Chairwoman of the Assembly’s Banks Committee I recently co-sponsored a public hearing to examine the serious problem of identity theft. Pictured with me are Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Chairperson of the Assembly’s Consumer Affairs Committee and Hon. Richard Brown, Queens District Attorney.
I have been working closely with the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association to ensure safety throughout our mass transit system. I have been working on several pieces of legislation in Albany to address the potentially dangerous proposals to take away token booth clerks and to institute one person train operation. There is no substitute for human presence in our subway system. Pictured with me are the hard working members of the Transport Workers Union Local 100 who visited our state capitol to lobby against these proposals.
It has been a pleasure to work with members of AARP and the group “New Yorkers for Responsible Lending” to ensure that taxpayers use caution with respect to the usage of Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs). RALs are short-term loans secured by the taxpayer’s expected tax refund. They are not cost free and must be repaid in full. I have introduced legislation (A.1366) to address the numerous consumer complaints regarding RALs. The purpose of the legislation is to provide full disclosure of the terms of the RAL and a warning that the full amount must be repaid even if the refund is not in the anticipated amount. Because RALs are short-term loans that last only about two weeks, fees for these loans translate into triple digit annualized interest rates. These additional fees add up and the consumer often is not aware of their total cost until they receive their depleted refund check. Hopefully, with full disclosure, consumers will realize that it is more beneficial to wait for their refund to come directly from the IRS.

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