Assemblyman
Peter
Abbate
Fall 2004

Reports to the People

Assembly Committed to
Helping Working Families

The Assembly has fought diligently to help working families keep more of their hard-earned dollars and improve their quality of life. The Assembly developed and passed meaningful legislation to better the lives of New Yorkers.

The Assembly has led the way in responding to our moral and legal obligation to provide a high-quality education to every child in New York State. Our five-year plan, in addressing the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, ensures all school districts in the state have sufficient resources to provide a sound, basic education.

The Assemblyís plan is the only plan that actually addresses all the courtís requirements for a solution, as well as helping provide funding for:

  • universal pre-K, full-day kindergarten and after-school/ extended-day/school violence prevention programs;
  • enhanced facilities and smaller class sizes;
  • aid for programs tailored to disabled children and to students with limited English proficiency;
  • library materials, textbooks and instructional technology; and
  • professional development programs for teachers.

The Assembly has fought for initiatives to improve the lives of New Yorkers by creating new jobs, better pay, safer streets, and a greater accountability in the use of taxpayer dollars Ė helping New Yorkís working families keep more of their hard-earned money, including:

  • a minimum wage increase to $7.25 an hour;
  • a pay equity law that ends wage discrimination against women;
  • election reforms to increase public participation and accountability;
  • an anti-terrorism package that focuses on prevention;
  • Timothyís Law, which requires insurers to include mental health coverage;
  • a fair plan for improving bus service, including express buses, in Brooklyn; and
  • regulations to ensure a safe home for those in adult care facilities.

The Assembly passed these initiatives to better the lives of New Yorkers. It is important that these measures Ė saving taxpayer dollars, protecting our loved ones and improving the quality of life in the state Ė become a reality for our families.


EDUCATION

Since my first year in office, our community has received billions of dollars from tax revenue from Albany. Iíve successfully secured more than $3.7 million for new and innovative programs in Community School Districts 20 and 21, including installing new heating systems in three schools. Students who have attended the following schools have benefited from these funds.

P.S. 48
P.S. 105
P.S. 112
P.S. 121
P.S. 160
P.S. 163
P.S. 176
P.S. 180
P.S. 186
P.S. 200
P.S. 204
P.S. 205
P.S. 229
P.S. 247
I.S. 96
I.S. 187
I.S. 227
I.S. 259


COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS

Iím glad to report that Iíve helped fund more than $3.5 million for community groups who provide programs and services for our children, youth and families that help improve the overall quality of life in our neighborhoods. Community groups like the St. Rosalia-Regina Pacis Neighborhood Improvement Association, Bensonhurst Jewish Community House, American-Italian Coalition of Brooklyn, Heartshare Human Services, Maimonides Medical Center, and Agudath Israel of America, to name a few, have received funds that benefit us all.


PUTTING OUR TAX DOLLARS
TO WORK IN OUR COMMUNITY

As your Assemblyman, Iíve always made it a top priority of mine to ensure that our hard earned tax dollars are brought back into our community. Whether itís for educational programs in our schools, supplying much needed funds for our senior centers, caring for the elderly and frail, funding youth, cultural and community organizations, or for any quality of life improvement, Iíve always done my best to meet the needs of our neighborhoods, and Iíll continue to work on behalf of the people of Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Boro Park and Dyker Heights to ensure that we get the funds we deserve.

In addition to my work in Albany, my two district offices have helped more than 7,500 people with all sorts of problems. Iím happy that my staff and I have played a role in cutting red tape and getting things done for the people of our community.

I look forward to continuing my commitment to you, the people I represent, by bringing the resources of government back to our community in the future.


SENIOR CITIZENS

Through my initiatives, Iíve secured nearly $500,000 for our local senior centers, for the care of the elderly, and annual senior picnics, all to ensure that our senior citizens live their later years in a manner they deserve. Those attending the senior centers listed below have benefited from these funds.


AMICO (American Italian Coalition

Narrows Senior Center

Our Lady of Guadalupe Senior Club

Bensonhurst Senior Center

St. Athanasius Golden Age Club

St. Finbarís Golden Age Club
St. Francis Cabrini Senior Center
Dyker Heights Senior Club
St. Bernadette Golden Age Club
Regina Pacis Senior Center


INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORTATION

Iíve also successfully secured more than $2 million for important community programs and capital projects that have helped make our streets safer by:


installing traffic lights installed at dangerous intersections;

removing truck traffic from streets they are illegally traveling on;

repaving many streets and sidewalks throughout our community;

improving our parks and playgrounds; and

getting trees pruned or removed throughout our community.

LEGISLATIVE BRIEFS

Eliminating Hidden Fees
on Gift Certificates
and Gift Cards

Legislation that I supported to protect consumers from hidden fees and undisclosed conditions that have become common with gift certificates and gift cards has passed both houses of the Legislature.

Many consumers are not aware that all gift certificates and gift cards are not created equal. Certain companies impose hidden fees that nibble away at the face value of gift certificates and gift cards after certain spans of inactivity.

The new legislation would require vendors and retailers to eliminate any retroactive fees and prohibit them from collecting monthly service fees until after a gift certificate or gift card goes unused for 13 months (A.10333-B). Another measure requires vendors to disclose the terms and conditions of a gift certificate or gift card at the time of purchase (A.10334-A).

The attention around this issue has prompted two large sellers (Starbucks and Blockbuster) of gift certificates and gift cards to eliminate fees on their own accord. Unfortunately, many other companies are keeping them, and in some cases, increasing fees.

As gift certificates and gift cards become an increasingly popular alternative to hand-picked gifts, companies look for more ways to impose fees and increase profits. This practice has to end and this legislation will be set to protect consumers.

Bill Toughens Penalty for Public Lewdness

The Assembly passed a bill designed to combat public lewdness, a class B misdemeanor, and help deter more serious crimes from developing (A.9855). The bill extends the probation period from one year to up to three years for offenders.

Public lewdness is a serious offense and should be punished accordingly. By extending the probation period, courts can decide the proper punishments for offenders Ė especially repeat offenders.

Courts often require treatment as part of the probation process to reduce repeat offenses and deter more serious offenses. A significant number of sex offenders admit to having committed acts of public lewdness earlier in their lives. With the probation period extended, offenders can be required to undergo a far more extensive treatment program.

Requiring an extended period of probation is the best way to ensure that treatment is successful and more serious crimes are avoided in the future. It will help to make our communities safer.

Both Prevent Child Abuse New York and the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault support this measure. The Senate has approved the measure, and it is now up to the governor to sign it into law.

ďPublic lewdness is a serious offense and should be punished accordinglyĒ


Assemblyman
PETER ABBATE

District Offices
8500 18 Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 236-1764
6419 11 Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11219
(718) 232-9565


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