Assemblyman Steve Otis is serving in his fourth term in the State Legislature. He applies his many years of experience working on local, county, state and federal issues to be a productive lawmaker in moving a variety of legislative and budget initiatives.
Otis helped initiate the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015, a new state grant program to assist municipalities in financing needed clean water projects. With increases in 2016 and the Governor’s $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure program enacted in 2017, the municipal grant program will provide $1.8 billion in water grants through FY 2021-22, thereby creating jobs, making environmental projects possible and making these projects more affordable for local taxpayers. To date, the program has awarded over $750 million in grants supporting nearly $2.65 billion in total project costs and over 47,000 jobs. The program will receive an additional boost through the Legislature’s adoption of the Governor’s $2.5 billion increased commitment to water program spending through 2023-24, as part of the state budget enacted this year.
Otis who serves on the Assembly Education Committee, has been a strong advocate in the Assembly for increased state funding to school districts, especially for Foundation Aid, and on numerous education policy issues. As a former Mayor, he has been active on a variety of issues affecting local governments that include ways to help localities lower costs to taxpayers and become more efficient. He has also been active on transportation and consumer issues, working to increase the state’s enforcement of deceptive marketing practices and violations of do-not-call registry rules.
Assemblyman Otis has also been the lead author of new laws on a variety of topics:
legislation to make directing laser pointers at airplane cockpits illegal under state law, strengthening child labor law protections for minors working in the modeling industry, enacting rules to prevent dangerous accidents from falling soccer goals, expanding options for consumers holding annuities and increasing the state penalty for stealing a pet, which had not been changed in over 40 years.
A strong proponent of small business and buying local, Otis sponsors an annual small business conference focused on topics of interest to local retailers and entrepreneurs. He also authored a new law to increase the information available to members of Business Improvement Districts about the work of those organizations.
Otis sponsored a law to help in the identification of missing persons and the resolution of unsolved crimes. The new law, which went into effect on July 21, 2016, requires medical examiners to report information regarding unidentified remains to a US Department of Justice national missing persons database. Within a month of taking effect, the law was credited with the positive identification of a missing New Yorker. In 2017 and 2018 new legislation sponsored by the Assemblyman was signed into law to expand notice of all missing persons cases to the federal database.
In 2018 Otis sponsored Lulu and Leo’s Law, which establishes the crime of misrepresentation by or on behalf of a caregiver. The new law was named for Lulu and Leo Krim who were murdered in 2012 at the hands of their nanny who had no previous experience caring for children. Without this change, there had been no legal duty for people to be accurate when presenting credentials or references to be hired as an at-home caregiver.
In March 2016, the Assemblyman received Audubon New York’s William Hoyt Environmental Excellence Award. In 2018 Assemblyman Otis received the Nelson A. Rockefeller Award from the New York Water Environment Association for his work on water quality funding.
In 2017 the Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body AFL-CIO honored the Assemblyman for “his ongoing dedication to the labor movement and the working men and women in New York State.”
Before joining the Assembly, Otis served as Mayor of the City of Rye for 12 years from 1998 to 2009. He is the longest-serving Mayor in the city’s history and is also a former president of the Westchester Municipal Officials Association, on whose executive committee he served from 2002 to 2012.
In state government, Assemblyman Otis served as long-time Counsel and Chief of Staff to Senator Suzi Oppenheimer until his election to the Assembly. Before joining Senator Oppenheimer in 1985, Otis served as Senate Fellow and Legislative Director to State Senator Jeremy S. Weinstein from 1980 to1985.
Assemblyman Otis is also a past Chair of the City of Rye Conservation Commission and has served on the Board of Directors of the NYS Association of Conservation Commissions for 19 years. He has also served on the Westchester County Flood Action Task Force, as Vice Chair of the Long Island Sound Watershed Intermunicipal Council, Vice Chair of the Westchester County Environmental Management Council, and Co-Chair of the City of Rye’s Project Impact FEMA program. Otis has been a member of the Stewardship Committee of AudubonNY since 2009.
Otis has been effective on numerous issues affecting local government, education, traffic and pedestrian safety, emergency management, recreation, senior citizens, environmental protection, infrastructure repairs, historic preservation, property tax relief and matters of concern to women and families.
The Assemblyman serves as a member of the following Assembly Committees: Education; Local Governments; Corporations, Authorities and Commissions; Environmental Conservation; Libraries and Education Technology; and Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development. He also serves on the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force.
In addition to his regular standing committee assignments, Otis serves as Chair of the Assembly Majority Conference and as a member of the Assembly Climate Change Work Group. Otis previously served as Chair of the Legislative Commission on Solid Waste Management. He served as a member of the Assembly Work Group on Legislative Process, Operations and Public Participation, whose recommendations for improving legislative procedures were implemented by the Assembly.
Assemblyman Otis represents the 91st Assembly District in Westchester County, which includes the communities along the Long Island Sound of Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Port Chester, Rye and Rye Brook.
The Assemblyman is a graduate of Hobart & William Smith Colleges and holds a master’s degree in public administration from NYU and a law degree from Hofstra University School of Law.
Steve and his wife Martha, an executive in the book publishing business, reside in the City of Rye.