E-Mail Newsletter – September 1, 2015

It's back to school for most elementary and secondary students this week and I wishing all a wonderful start for productive and exciting school year!

Please remember to slow down for students who are walking, biking, or taking a bus. To promote a safe, shared roadway, I joined officials from Albany County, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the New York State Police, and the AAA to talk about the "School's Open - Drive Carefully" initiative, urging drivers to look out and slow down.

I will continue to advocate for my bill that includes Pre-K students in the state reimbursement formula for student transportation - since the state only reimburses schools for kindergarten through Grade 12 transportation and not Pre-K students.

Ceremonial Bill Signing Ceremony for Craft Distillers Bill. I was truly honored to have one of only six bills chosen by the Governor for a formal bill signing ceremony in the historic Red Room of the State Capitol last week. I joined Governor Cuomo, Senator Amedore, craft distillers, and advocates in a ceremonial bill signing last week of A.7001/S.4800, which allows for farm-based distillers to sell souvenir items on premises.

The bill provides parity for the state's farm-based distillers to sell gift items, souvenirs, apparel -- items previously not permitted by law. Lifting these arcane restrictions allows for these entrepreneurial businesses to grow and create jobs. We were also joined by representatives from the Albany Distilling Company and Kings County Distilling. Both distillers are members of the New York State Distillers Guild.

Damien Center tour with Lieutenant Governor. I joined Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy on a tour of the Damien Center, in which it was announced additional funding for housing was made possible through state support.

Empire State Plaza at 50 Celebration. On Wednesday, Sept. 16 from 12 noon to 8 p.m., a celebration will take place commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Empire State Plaza, the center of New York's capital city and public space where government, culture and community converge. A day full of live entertainment featuring Shadows of the 60's: Tribute to Motown Super Groups, food, a farmers market featuring New York State products, 50th Anniversary Cake by Hannaford Supermarkets and fireworks presented by CDTA. The Celebration is part of a series of events and exhibits being held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the June 21, 1965 cornerstone laying at the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza.

Honoring veterans in Albany County. Albany County, on a monthly basis, honors veterans for their service to our community and our country. This week, Vietnam-era nurse Helen Vartigan was honored for her service. I joined Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, Albany City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar, Congressman Paul Tonko, and Assemblyman John T. McDonald III for this moving Honor-A-Vet Ceremony.

Job Opportunities: New York State has setup a new job portal entitled Jobs Express, where thousands of private and public sector jobs are listed. Visit jobs.ny.gov for more information on how to apply for these opportunities.

As always, for the latest news or for upcoming events, please visit my office online, on Facebook, on Twitter, or my Times Union blog. If you would like to reach my office, please feel free to send us a note.

Sincerely ---