416 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215 • 718-788-7221 • 1414 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, NY 11226 • 718-940-0641
Room 422 LOB, Albany, NY 12248 • 518-455-5377 • Email: brennanj@assembly.state.ny.us
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I showed my support at a press conference with Speaker Silver and many other members of the Assembly for legislation to place a moratorium on hydrofracking in New York State (see article below).

Free Flu Shots for Neighborhood Residents!
Park Slope office • 416 7th Avenue
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 • 10am – 12:30pm
Call to reserve your shot: 718 788-7221

Cortelyou Road office • 1414 Cortelyou Road
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 • 10am – 12:30pm
Call to reserve your shot: 718 940-0641

Flu shots will be administered by a registered nurse.
Quantities are limited. You must reserve to receive a shot.

Many thanks to Maimonides hospital for making this opportunity available!




Protection for Mass Transit Funding

I was the sponsor of legislation called “The Locked Box” bill, A6766c, which prohibits the State budget director from diverting taxes collected for the express purpose of funding mass transit to other purposes. The Assembly and Senate have passed the bill and discussions are underway with the Governor about signing this into law. The purpose of the bill is to prevent raids by the State on dedicated mass transit funds, which have occurred several times in the past few years and cut funding for the MTA by about $240 million. As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions which oversees the MTA, I know the importance of these funds to protect fares and services.

If the bill becomes law, only with legislative approval can these monies be used for a different purpose, and then only if accompanied by a diversion impact statement which must spell out the details of how much money is being diverted and its impact on the MTA’s service as a result.

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Second Avenue Subway Tunnel breaks through to the F train on 63rd Street in Manhattan! I attended the tunnel-boring breakthrough with outgoing MTA President Jay Walder. Legislation I am sponsoring would protect mass transit funding.

State’s New Hydrofracking Proposal a Grave Danger to
NYC Water Supply and the State’s Environment

Hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, is a drilling technique that has been used to extract natural gas from shale rock formations such as the Marcellus Shale formation found in a large section of upstate New York. Fracking uses high-pressure water and a mixture of chemicals, many toxic, to shatter the rock and release methane, which is the principal component of natural gas. In 2005, the federal government exempted fracking from the Clean Water Act, which means that even though some of the chemicals used in this process are known carcinogens, the gas companies do not have to disclose the chemicals they use.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed new regulations that will allow hydrofracking. Allowing this technology to proceed poses serious dangers to the New York City water supply and I am opposing what the state is doing. Recently I sponsored a meeting with local activists to discuss ways to address this issue.

Those regulations have been released for public comment. You can read them and submit comments on the plan until December 12 at the DEC website: www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/77353.html. There will be a public hearing on fracking on Wednesday, November 30 from 6 to 9 PM at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street in Manhattan. I urge you to attend.

The Assembly has passed two bills with my strong support to address this issue. They are:

Ethics Reform

The Legislature passed a major overhaul of the ethics law to deter corruption and provide greater accountability from legislators and state officials. The law contains four significant parts:

ETHICS OVERSIGHT

The new law establishes an independent Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) with broad powers to investigate wrongdoings in both the legislative and executive branches of government, ensures compliance with their financial disclosure requirements; and oversees lobbyists while holding them to a higher disclosure standard.

ENHANCED DISCLOSURE OF ALL INCOME AND CLIENTS

This law requires that a public official disclose the name of any clients or customers providing compensation of at least $10,000 who are lobbyists, persons receiving contracts, grants or member items from the state or persons or entities that have a matter before a state agency. It requires disclosure of such clients when referred by a public official to his or her firm. It requires the posting of financial disclosure forms on JCOPE’s public website and removes the provisions in current law that make income and asset categories of value confidential.

PENSION FORFEITURE FOR CONVICTED FELONS

For the first time, any public official who violates the public’s trust and commits a felony related to their job as a public official faces the possibility that the court can reduce or remove their right to receive their pension. Factors such as the severity of the crime, monetary loss suffered by the state or locality, and needs of dependent children, spouses and domestic partners would be taken into consideration during the court’s deliberation.

OTHER PROVISIONS

The law also requires lobbyists and their clients to disclose the name, compensation and subject of transactions with any statewide public official, legislator, state employee, state officer or legislative employee who has a “reportable business relationship” with them.

It requires the State Board of Elections to clarify the requirement regarding independent expenditures that expressly identifies a political candidate or ballot proposal. And finally, it increases the penalty for failure to file a campaign statement required by the Election Law from $500 to $1,000 and creates a new $10,000 penalty for failing to file three or more statements throughout the course of an election cycle.

Millionaire’s Tax

The Assembly has introduced legislation to continue the current top tax rate of 8.97% for people whose income is greater than $1 million (A7802).

Why is this legislation so important? I am sure you were as upset as I was to see the City lay off 700 school aides and parent coordinators. But budget cutbacks are continuing. The City has just informed all agencies they must take another 2% cut now and prepare for a 6% cut for next year.

The expiration of the millionaire’s tax means the State of New York will lose revenue of $700 million this year, $2.5 billion in 2012, and $800 million in 2013. If the tax were to continue for just one more year, the State would have no deficit and could provide substantial additional aid to the City of New York next year to assure funding for vital services like education, health care, senior centers and much more.

This is why I and many of my colleagues are continuing to fight to extend the “millionaire’s tax.”

Rent Laws Expanded

I am proud to announce that the Legislature passed the first expansion of the rent laws, including protections for tenants, since 1993. Along with extending rent regulation, the new law:


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I am pictured here with Bazah Roohi, the founder and Executive Director of the American Council of Minority Women.


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Jim Brennan a rock star? No, not really. I joined the Flatbush Avenue Development Corporation and the Cortelyou Road Merchants Association to celebrate the annual Flatbush Frolic this year.

Making Our Communities
SAFER
Guide Available on Keeping Safe

The office of Public Advocate Bill deBlasio has produced a guide with safety information following a string of sexual assaults in our neighborhoods. I am a co-sponsor of this guide along with many other public officials.

“How You Can Help Prevent Sexual Assault and Harassment” provides a list of safety precautions and information on free services that will escort straphangers from public transportation to their home in the later hours of the evening.

The guide can be downloaded from the Internet at http://advocate.nyc.gov/safercommunities. My office can provide you with a copy if you prefer.


Assemblymember
Jim Brennan’s
Important Phone Numbers & Websites
A new printing of this guide is available in our district offices or can be downloaded from our website at
http://assembly.state.ny.us/member_files/045/20110830/index.pdf

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I honored Kensington resident Vincent Padovano on his 100th birthday with a proclamation at his home.