A Report to the Residents of the 41st Assembly District

Dear Neighbor,

This report highlights the adoption of a balanced State budget, enactment of new laws and the passage of important legislation during the 2009 legislative session.

Despite these tough economic times, with assistance from the federal economic stimulus package, we were able to plug the biggest budget gap in our State’s history – allowing us to target our resources more wisely toward education, healthcare and the needs of New York’s families.

We succeeded in reforming the outdated and ineffective Rockefeller Drug Laws. We adopted legislation that prevented the MTA from making dramatic service cuts and huge fare and toll increases, rejected the MTA’s plan to impose tolls on the East River bridges and mandated important reforms of the authority’s operations and governance.

Here in Brooklyn, I continue to work hard to meet the needs of my constituents.



Computers for Youth Center
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and Assemblyman Alan Maisel joined Friends United Block Association President Gardy Brazela at the opening of Friends United Youth Center’s computer lab. The funding for the computers was made possible through a $50,000 state grant directed by Assemblymembers Weinstein and Maisel.

New Bathrooms for Senior Center
Assemblywoman Weinstein joined Sharon Retkinski, Director of the Kings Bay Senior Center, and Center members at the ribbon cutting for their new bathrooms. The renovations were made possible through capital funding from the Assemblywoman.
Safer Streets
Teachers and young students from Yeled V’Yalda’s Headstart program celebrated the installation of a new traffic light at East 78th Street and Ralph Avenue that was the result of the joint efforts of Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and Councilman Lewis Fidler.

Honors 9-11 Hero
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, Councilmembers Michael Nelson and Matthieu Eugene joined family members and friends at the 9-11 Hero Portrait Unveiling of the late Abe Zelmanowitz, who selflessly gave his life while attempting to rescue a coworker during the tragic events on September 11th, 2001.

Welcomes Local Students to Albany
Assemblywoman Weinstein welcomed the PS 206 School Chorus to the Assembly Chamber. They came to the Capitol to perform as part of the Arts-In-Education school music week.

Consumer Credit Fairness Act

Assemblywoman Weinstein’s Consumer Credit Fairness Act which passed the Assembly, ensures that persons who are sued in consumer credit transactions receive the benefit of fair procedures free from abusive practices by debt collectors.

Weinstein’s bill would stop companies from buying debts for pennies on the dollar and then engaging in abusive collection practices, filing lawsuits with flimsy or little information and obtaining default judgments often utilizing improper “sewer service”. When a consumer discovers a lawsuit in time to defend it, they almost always win.

Highlights include: shortening the statute of limitations to three years from current six years; special procedures and notice to the consumer before a default judgment can be entered; and requiring debt buyers to disclose the details of debts they are seeking to recover.


Graduation 2009
Every year Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein presents a Community Service Award and U.S. Savings Bond to a deserving graduate at each local public and private school. Assemblywoman Weinstein presents awards to deserving graduates from P.S. 208 (top), P.S. 206 (left), and I.S. 381 (right),.

School Governance for NYC
More Parental Input, Transparency & Accountability

The Legislature passed legislation that would help provide parents with an ability to be heard and be more involved in their children’s education, restore the role of District Superintendents and provide the public with greater transparency while preserving accountability.


The state budget continues the Assembly’s commitment to the “Contract for Excellence” for the 2009-2010 school year, ensuring schools will not have to reduce spending on allowable programs, including class size reduction, after-school programs and full day kindergarten and Pre-k.

The budget provides nearly $8.5 billion in state funding for New York City schools, restoring a $362 million cut; restores $10.6 million in funding for libraries; and provides $40 million for Teacher Centers and restores Adult Literacy Education.

Higher Education

CUNY and SUNY are vital for New Yorkers. That’s why this budget increases funding beyond last year for CUNY and SUNY - providing 1.9 billion overall to help keep affordable college education within reach for all families.

The budget rejected $49.9 million in proposed cuts to TAP; restored $3.6 million for CSTEP, EOP, HEOP and SEEK programs; rejected a base aid cut for full-time students at SUNY and CUNY community colleges; and restored $25 million to SUNY hospitals, including SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Participates in National Read Aloud Day
Assemblywoman Weinstein read Eric Carle’s modern classic, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” during National Read-Aloud Day at the Paerdegat Library.
Lev Bais Yaakov Anniversary Dinner
Assemblywoman Weinstein has long been supportive of all public and private schools in her district. Recently, the Assemblywoman attended Yeshiva Lev Bais Yaakov’s 12th Anniversary Dinner where she presented Executive Director, Rabbi Shmiel Deutsch and Dinner Honoree Yitzchak Widroff with a congratulatory Proclamation, as Councilman Lewis Fidler looked on.


This year, as in past years, Assemblywoman Weinstein secured special funding in the state budget for senior citizens, social services, school and youth programs to provide recreational, educational, cultural and social services in our community. Additional funding was obtained for after-school tutoring, early literacy, arts, school technology, equipment upgrades, sports, anti-violence, multicultural and intergenerational programs.

Improving Access to Health Care
Making Health Insurance More Affordable
Assemblywoman supported three new laws that will make health insurance more affordable and improve access to health care for New Yorkers. The new laws will:

       Expand COBRA for Employees to 36 Months – Increase the period for employees who lose their jobs to continue their health insurance COBRA from 18 to 36 months.

       Insure Dependents through Age 29 – Require insurers to allow unmarried children through age 29 - regardless of financial dependence – to be covered under a parent’s group health insurance policy.

       Managed Care Reform – Implement reforms that help consumers receive the care they need while cutting some of the red tape that results in inappropriately delayed or denied claims.

Protecting Neighborhoods
Curbing Mortgage Fraud

A significant issue due to the spike in foreclosure filings is the maintenance of abandoned property. Property is often abandoned in a foreclosure action, going into disrepair and becoming an eye sore and nuisance for the rest of the neighborhood. The problem is compounded when multiple homes are foreclosed upon in the same neighborhood and can decrease property values in the surrounding areas.

Assemblywoman Weinstein’s bill A8917A, which passed the Assembly, requires lenders to maintain foreclosed properties, helping protect neighborhoods from blight and making sure tenants who live in foreclosed properties have livable conditions.

The bill also allows all distressed homeowners to benefit from consumer protection laws and foreclosure prevention by expanding 90 day pre-foreclosure settlement conferences to all home loans, including condominiums and co-ops.

Rockefeller Drug Law Bill Signing
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein joined her Assembly colleagues as Governor David A. Paterson signed into law sweeping reforms of the Rockefeller Drug Laws.

Rockefeller Drug Laws

As part of the 2009-2010 state budget, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein helped pass long over-due reform to the 35-year-old Rockefeller Drug Laws to allow more options for treatment for many lower-level, non-violent drug offenders—but maintains maximum penalties for violent drug offenders and drug kingpins.

These reforms restore judicial discretion to mandate treatment for lower-level drug offenders as a potential alternative to a lengthy state prison sentence.

“Judicial discretion has always been one of the core principles for which the Assembly has fought. With the expansion of drug courts and other options to treat addicts, we are moving toward dealing with the underlying problems of drug offenders – giving them the opportunity to get treatment and reduce recidivism in New York,” said Assemblywoman Weinstein.

Annual Avenue D Lighting
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein joined Terrence LaPierre, President of Avenue D Merchants Association and community leaders at their Annual Avenue D Holiday Lighting Ceremony. The lighting project co-sponsored by the Assemblywoman helps beautify Avenue D making it a more welcoming destination for shoppers during the holiday season.
Distributes Food for Passover
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein joined Leonard Petlakh, Executive Director of the Kings Bay YM-YWHA, assembling food packages during the Annual Passover food distribution event held in conjunction with Met-Council at the Kings Bay YM-YWHA.

Thanksgiving Dinner
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein joined local pastors for their Annual Thanksgiving dinner, held at Our Lady Help of Christians. Pictured with the Assemblywoman (l. to r.) are Pastor Eugene Pappas of Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church, Pastor Peter Rayder of Our Lady Help of Christians Church, Professor Steve Rzonca of St. John’s University, Reverend Robert Afful – Diocese of Ghana, Pastor Ron Weinbaum of the Kings Chapel and Deacon Michael Troy – Our Lady Help of Christians.

Preserving & Protecting the Environment

Assemblywoman Weinstein supported a comprehensive package of bills which passed the Assembly aimed at preserving New York’s natural resources. Highlights include: limiting the levels of greenhouse gases that can be emitted statewide to help prevent global warming within our state; requiring manufacturers of electronic devices to develop equipment recycling programs and preventing them from imposing recycling fees; and investigating the widespread sale and usage of industrial strength pesticides in urban areas.

New Senior Arts and Crafts Room
Glenwood Senior Center members celebrated the opening of their new Arts and Crafts room. Janelle St. Hill, Center Director thanked Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein for the renovation funding.

COJO Breakfast
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein presents an award to Assembly colleague Assistant Speaker Rhoda Jacobs on behalf of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush at their Annual Legislative Breakfast. Joining in the presentation were Rabbi Yechezkel Pikus, Executive Director of COJO of Flatbush, Moshe Zakheim, COJO President, and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz.
Russian-American Heritage
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein joined Councilman Michael Nelson in honoring the contributions of Russian Americans at the New York City Council's City Hall Heritage Celebration. Here they congratulate Tony Award winner Kiril Kulish, young star of the Broadway Show “Billy Elliot.” Also, on hand was Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny and Councilman Dominic Recchia.


Unemployment Relief

New Yorkers have been hit especially hard by the economic downturn, with growing numbers of unemployment claims. The budget directs federal stimulus funds to aid unemployed workers by increasing unemployment benefits by $25 per week; continuing extended unemployment benefits through December 31, 2009, granting eligible applicants a total of 59 weeks of benefits; and paying 65 percent of COBRA premiums for nine months for eligible workers.

Honors Local Pastor
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein presented an Assembly Proclamation to Bishop Michael Mitchell and First Lady Vivienne Mitchell of New Life Tabernacle Church during their anniversary Celebration for their service to the community.
Do-Not-Call Registry
Prerecorded Telemarketing Calls

Legislation passed the Assembly sponsored by Assemblywoman Weinstein which helps protect consumers from unsolicited telemarketing sales.

Prerecorded telephone solicitations such as telemarketing sales calls would become subject to the Consumer Protection Board’s Do-Not-Call law guidelines. This will ensure that the Board is able to enforce the law against the increasing number of telemarketers that use prerecorded calls.

P.S. 119 Awards Ceremony
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, Nieuw Amersfort Community Association President Steve Yamin and Treasurer Gilbert McLean are joined by the “Official Student Photographers” at the P.S. 119 Graduation Awards Ceremony. During the event, Assemblywoman Weinstein presented an award to a deserving graduate.

Nottingham Association
Assemblywoman Weinstein sponsored a Red Cross Emergency Preparedness program at a Nottingham Association meeting to help residents learn how to stay safe and informed in case of a disaster.

Addressing Neighborhood Concerns
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein held a meeting between representatives of the Sheepshead/Nostrand Tenant Associations and the United States Postal Service to help address mail delivery problems at Sheepshead-Nostrand Houses.

Kings Bay Youth
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and Kings Bay Youth Organization (KBYO) President Louis Spina joined the KBYO Basketball Division Coaches and players in celebrating much needed renovations at the KYBO on Coyle Street. The renovations were made possible through a $72,000 state grant directed by Assemblywoman Weinstein.

Health Care

The legislative budget reversed some damaging cuts in health care, restoring approximately $1.3 billion to protect the most vulnerable patients and ensure New Yorkers have access to quality health care. We rejected $381.6 million in cuts to hospitals and $195.6 million to nursing homes; rejected $49.9 million in cuts to the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program; rejected proposals to eliminate the Worker Retraining Program; and rejected across-the board cuts to home and personal care.

In addition, the 2009-10 budget, begins permanent health care reimbursement reforms and investments that will lead to $1.6 billion in savings this year and billions more in future years.

Recognizes Distinguished Community Leaders
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein is joined by Morgan Gabriel, Chair of Community Board #17 Block Associations Committee in presenting an Assembly Citation to Hazel Martinez, President of the Four-in-One Block Association for her service to the community at Community Board 17’s 1st Annual Block Recognition ceremony.

Passover Sanitation Meeting
Assemblywoman Weinstein met with Department of Sanitation officials, Rabbi Israel Hirsch of Khal Shaarei Shalom, and Mr. Leiser Blau, President of Congregation Beth Moshe Shmiel, also representing Rabbi Tuvia Rottenberg, to discuss concerns relating to the Passover holiday.
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
*Appointments are necessary.
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