MMA Signed into Law; Highlights From the 109th

Here are a few highlights I’d like to share with you and your family.

MMA bill signed. Last week, legislation legalizing mixed martial arts (MMA) was signed into law by Governor Cuomo. As you may recall, I opposed the bill – given my concerns regarding the health impact of brain trauma suffered from repeated blows to the head and links to CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). I am grateful, however, that because of the long-standing opposition of mine and others. All professional fighters (including boxers) will now be covered by health insurance (along with disability insurance in certain instances).

I spoke with WTEN’s Ayla Ferrone regarding my concerns with MMA as well as how the research continues to evolve, as concerns are raised about brain trauma.

An overlooked but significant aspect of the bill is that amateur level MMA fights will now be regulated. Under previous law, New York State officials did not oversee amateur MMA, which meant there were no safety guidelines, such as pre-fight physical examinations, or ambulances and physicians on site.

Guilderland State of the Town. Guilderland Town Supervisor Peter Barber gave his first State of the Town at the Funny Bone comedy club in Guilderland. He was joined in presentations by the Guilderland Chamber, Tim Wiles, director of the library, and Marie Wiles, Guilderland schools superintendent.

And although it took place at a comedy club in Crossgates Mall, it is no laughing matter as the Town, the library, and the schools, are on solid financial footing, particularly in light of increase state funds approved in the budget. It was refreshing to hear such optimism from all our town leaders -- all moving in the right direction under the leadership of Supervisor Barber and town board members.

Nurses safe staffing. Last week, I joined colleagues with the New York State Nurses Association in support of safe staffing. The Safe Staffing bill establishes nurse to patient ratios by unit. No nurse can be assigned responsibility for more patients than the specific ratio. The ratios set a floor, not a ceiling. Hospitals would be required to make a staffing plan that addresses changes in patient acuity by staffing as patient needs dictate.

Support Rapp Road Historic Society. Last week, I attended a terrific event in support of the Rapp Road Historic District at Kiernan Plaza, which was sponsored and hosted by SUNY Polytechnic Institute Founding President Alain Kaloyeros.

Earth Day and upcoming cleanups. This weekend marks Earth Day and here is a listing of activities that look to improve our environment. Additionally, the City of Albany has a number of cleanup efforts scheduled this month as well, which can be found here.

Internships available through Albany County. The Albany County intern job training program has been created to provide opportunities to Albany County residents. The focus is on high school and undergraduate students, between the ages of sixteen (16) and twenty-two (22) who have had difficulties obtaining a job due to the lack of training and/or experience. Albany County’s initiative to create flexible work opportunities for individuals to receive on the job training will provide candidates the skills necessary to compete at minimum for an entry level position. Click here for details.

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 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 ---