Robin Schimminger was born in North Tonawanda, New York, on September 17, 1947. He graduated from Cardinal O'Hara High School in the Town of Tonawanda and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Canisius College in Buffalo where he was inducted into the DiGamma and Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Societies. Mr. Schimminger also studied at Ireland's William Butler Yeats International School of Literature and the University College, Dublin. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the New York University School of Law, where he was awarded the Jack Kroner Medal. He was subsequently admitted to the New York Bar.
Before his election to the State Assembly in 1976, Mr. Schimminger was elected twice (1973 and 1975) to the Erie County Legislature where he served as chairman of the Public Health Committee.
Mr. Schimminger was named the first chairman of the new Assembly Standing Committee on Small Business in 1985 in recognition of his accomplishments as chairman of the former Subcommittee on Small Business from its inception in 1980 through 1984. He continued to chair the Small Business Committee until 1997, at which time he was named to chair the Assembly Standing Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry. He has sponsored and played key roles in enacting numerous measures strengthening the state's economic development policies, improving its tax and regulatory climate, modernizing workforce training programs, enhancing coordination of the state's economic development efforts, and encouraging the development of new businesses and the creation of new jobs.
Assemblyman Schimminger also demonstrated his commitment to job growth and economic development with his Omnibus Procurement Act, which maximizes the opportunity for in-state firms to do business with New York State. His Linked Deposit Program, an innovative low interest loan program for small and medium-sized businesses which has been singled out for national recognition by the U.S. Small Business Administration, has been credited with keeping or creating thousands of jobs in New York State.
Mr. Schimminger has also served as a member of the joint Legislative Commission on Government Administration (formerly the Commission on Economy and Efficiency in Government), which he previously chaired. In that capacity, he originated and developed legislation establishing a framework of safeguards against fraud, waste and abuse in state government which ultimately became the landmark Internal Audit and Control Act. The statute, which requires that modern accounting and auditing procedures be employed to safeguard the public's state tax dollars, is now also being used as a model by local governments across New York State.
Among Mr. Schimminger's many other legislative accomplishments are the "toxic torts" law changing the statute of limitations in toxic exposure cases, and laws reforming the insanity defense, requiring first aid for choking information to be posted in restaurants, and outlawing voyeuristic videotaping of individuals in private situations. He also authored the "'Under 21' Driver's License" to aid in reducing alcohol sales to minors. His Equal Access to Justice Act works to discourage arbitrary and capricious actions by state agencies by allowing individuals of modest means, small businesses and not for profit corporations to recover the legal costs of fighting state fines and actions found to be without substantial justification.
Mr. Schimminger also authored a "smart growth" law encouraging the reuse of existing facilities and sites for business relocations and expansions; the Revised Model Trademark Act, modernizing New York's outdated trademark laws; and legislation strengthening an individual's right to authorize organ donation, thereby increasing the number of New Yorkers who may benefit from "the gift of life." In all, Mr. Schimminger has nearly 400 laws to his credit.
In addition to chairing the State Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry, Mr. Schimminger serves on the Codes, Health, and Ways and Means Committees in the State Assembly. He is the Assembly Chair of the Western New York State Legislative Delegation. He is also a member of the Western New York Regional Economic Development council. Mr. Schimminger is a member of the Council of State Governments (CSG), serving as co-chair of the Eastern Regional Conference Eastern States / Eastern Canadian Provinces Committee.
Mr. Schimminger has also served on the boards of numerous civic, community, educational and cultural organizations. He is a co-founder of the Buffalo Dortmund Sister City Committee.
Married to the former Melinda Downey, Mr. Schimminger resides with his wife in Kenmore, New York.