Assemblyman Peter Abbate Assemblyman

Reports to the People

2008 Legislative Session “Successful”

photo Assemblyman Abbate confers with committee members during budget process.
The Assembly achieved many important goals during the 2008 Legislative Session and remains committed to addressing the needs of working families and all New Yorkers.

The 2008 Legislative Session was remarkably successful, but more work needs to done. In a time of economic challenges and political distress, the legislature worked with Governor David Paterson to achieve a balanced and on-time budget, and helped us to enact important legislation that prevents foreclosures, saves OTB jobs, keeps guns out of the hands of criminals, and ends mandatory overtime for nurses.

I am especially proud that we in the Assembly kept our promise to improve the education our children receive, that we finally succeeded in expanding health coverage to the state’s 400,000 uninsured children, and that we dramatically increased the state’s investment in affordable housing.

Among the Assembly’s legislative achievements this session are:

  • Subprime Lending Protections

    The Assembly achieved a key goal of addressing the fallout caused by the national subprime mortgage crisis by passing comprehensive legislation (A.10817) to modify the foreclosure process agreed to with the Governor and Senate. Among the provisions is a requirement that home- owners struggling to make mortgage payments be provided a 90-day pre-foreclosure notice and be advised of any assistance available to them. The legislation clearly defines a subprime home loan and sets standards for lenders issuing them, as well as mandating that all businesses servicing loans be registered with the state.The subprime measure also establishes the crime of residential mortgage fraud to prevent against further dishonest lending that has threatened the homes of thousands of New Yorkers.
  • Ensuring Quality Education In New York Schools

    The Assembly succeeded in securing historic school funding increases in the SFY 2008-09 budget. The $21.4 billion education budget contained an increase of $1.75 billion over the previous year, including a $533 million increase in Foundation Aid for New York City. The final budget included $450 million to expand universal Pre-K across the state, a major commitment of the Assembly. The Assembly was also successful in maintaining $78 million in crucial funding to the state’s Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) programs as well as expanding aid to adult literacy education programs and libraries.
  • World Trade Center First Responder Benefits

    As a part of its commitment to ensuring adequate benefits and care for those who participated in rescue and recovery work at the World Trade Center site, the Assembly passed legislation (A.11730) that would add to the list of first responders eligible for health benefits. The result of a three-way agreement with the Governor and Senate, the measure would confer benefits on state and county corrections officers, deputy sheriffs, 911 dispatchers and first responders who worked for any period of time at Ground Zero within the first 48 hours of the attack.
photo Assemblyman Abbate addresses group during budget negotiations.
  • Increasing Home Care for Disabled Children

    The Assembly approved legislation (A.11416-A) that would increase the number of significantly disabled children who would be eligible for home-based medical care through the state’s Care at Home I/II Medicaid waiver program. The bill would change the income eligibility standards for home-based care that would otherwise be provided in a hospital or facility including ventilator-assisted respiration, gastrostomy tube feeding and continuous monitoring.
  • Improving The Safety Recall System on Toys and Other Children’s Products

    In response to recent well-publicized incidents involving recalled toys and other products for children, the Assembly passed bill (A.11316) that would outlaw the sale of recalled children’s items and mandate that retailers take steps to notify consumers of recalls. The legislation would also require firms that manufacture children’s projects such as car seats, high chairs, playpens and cribs to provide a product safety card to the consumer at the time of sale.
photo Assemblyman Abbate meets with constituents as he walks throughout the district discussing issues.
  • Protecting Students From Sex Offenders In Schools

    As a means of ensuring safe and secure learning environments for students, the Assembly passed legislation (A.11500-A) that would require the state Education Department to revoke the applicable licenses of any teacher, teaching assistant, psychologist, social worker, administrator or supervisor convicted of a sex offense requiring registration with the state Sex Offender Registry.
  • Post Release Supervision

The Assembly passed legislation (A.11764) to assist the state Department of Correctional Services and state Division of Parole to clarify the sentences of certain violent felons who were not properly sentenced to post-release supervision (PRS) at the time of their commitment to prison. The bill, the result of a three-way agreement with the Governor and Senate, rectifies recent court decisions which determined that DOCS could not add PRS to an inmate’s sentence. The legislation establishes a procedure by which DOCS may require the courts to review the commitment document and address any error regarding a PRS term. The measure is a part of the Assembly’s commitment to protecting New Yorkers from violent crime.

  • Domestic Violence Prevention

    In order to assist all domestic violence victims in escaping abuse and developing a sense of control over their safety, the Assembly passed legislation (A.11707) allowing all victims the right to seek a civil order of protection through the state family court system. The bill’s passage will add New York to a list of 35 states which allow couples in dating or intimate relationships to obtain a civil order of protection against an abuser.
  • Assisting New York’s Growing Veteran Population

    To assist the growing number of New Yorkers returning from active military duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Assembly passed a package of bill aimed at providing additional services, job training and educational programs to the state’s veterans.
  • Windfall Profit Tax on Big Oil Companies

    The Assembly passed a comprehensive legislative package to address the rising cost of oil, which has affected residents and drivers throughout New York. Among the bills approved was a measure (A.11590) to recapture lost tax revenue currently being withheld by large oil companies. Funds would be redirected to the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which helps low and moderate income New Yorkers, including elderly residents living on fixed-incomes obtain home heating oil. The legislation, which could generate as much as $406 million in revenue, contains provisions prohibiting oil companies from passing along additional costs through price increases. Another bill (A.11588) would help drivers already absorbing the shock of rising gasoline prices by fighting “pump jump”. The bill would mandate that gasoline pumps dispense the accurate amount of fuel the consumer is charged for by the filling station. The Assembly energy package also includes a bill (A.11589) to reduce the amount of fuel used by state agencies by requiring that all new light-duty vehicles purchased—except police and emergency vehicles—be alternative fuel vehicles.
photo Governor Patterson signs important legislation into law during this year’s legislative session.
“We worked hard with the governor and with our colleagues in the Senate to enact a timely state budget that meets the needs of working families while at the same time taking into account the economic challenges we face.”

Assembly Passes Comprehensive Energy Strategy
Aimed at Giving New Yorkers Real Reform

The Assembly passed a series of comprehensive, innovative initiatives aimed at implementing meaningful, long-term solutions to New York’s rising energy costs.

The package includes measures to:

  • recapture lost tax revenue currently withheld by big oil companies and redirect it toward the low-and moderate-income Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP);

  • implement consumer protections by improving the accuracy and efficiency of pumps that dispense fuel and labeling the energy efficiency of tires;

  • increase competition among service station dealers by allowing the sale of unbranded motor fuel and making information about prices readily available to consumers

The measures the Assembly acted on continue the Assembly Majority’s long-standing commitment to working families. The Assembly Majority is putting forth comprehensive, effective energy legislation aimed not only at providing more relief, but at ensuring that the steps taken translate into direct savings for consumers and are not simply yet another windfall to fatten already bloated oil company profit margins.

Other provisions of the package would require state agencies to use clean-fuel vehicles and report on their fleet fuel efficiency. In addition, the Assembly is expected to act on two legislative resolutions calling on Congress to increase HEAP funding, take action against gasoline price gouging, and create an excess profits tax on companies guilty of gouging consumers. The federal revenue generated would be dedicated to the creation of innovative, renewable energy technologies.

Working to Ensure that Medical Care
Continues In Our Community

For the last three years, I had been working with Councilman Vincent Gentile, State Senator Marty Golden and other prominent local leaders trying to ensure that our community has a well run facility to handle medical cases. Unfortunately, the people who were running Victory Memorial Hospital led the institution down a path thatresulted in its takeover this past July by the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.

It is shameful that Victory had to close its doors, but our community has averted a crisis by having Downstate step in. The hospital has a 24 hour urgent care unit, an ambulatory surgery facility and a number of other clinics at their 92nd Street location. Additionally, the nursing home is still serving the needs of our community’s senior citizens.

Below you’ll find a copy of a letter I received from William Guarinello, former Chairman of the Victory Memorial Board of Trustees, thanking me for my efforts in trying to keep Victory’s doors open. Also to acknowledge the efforts of Jerry Kassar, I’ve included an excerpt from his article that appeared in the July 5-11, 2008 edition of the Brooklyn Spectator.

Letter from William Guarinello and Brooklyn Spectator Article


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