Helene E. Weinstein photo
Making a Difference in Brooklyn and Albany
December 2011

A Report to the Residents of the 41st Assembly District

This report highlights new laws we enacted in Albany to protect consumers, homeowners, vulnerable adults, victims of domestic violence and our children and community from sexual predators, landmark tax reform and important community activities.

Additionally, as your Assemblywoman, I strongly believe that my most important responsibility is to listen carefully, answer questions and help solve your problems. Along with my experienced community office staff, I can assist you with a variety of important services and help to resolve community problems. Please contact my office if you think we can be of assistance.

I would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.


Protecting Our Children and Community from Sex Offenders

Enhancing Public Safety

There is no greater concern for a parent than the safety of their children. The following new laws will help protect children and communities across the state.

School Bus Driver Disqualification
This new law expands the list of criminal convictions that will disqualify someone from driving a public school bus in New York State including first-degree sex abuse and disseminating indecent materials to a minor.

Increased Penalty for Sex Offenders
This new law will strengthen New York State’s criminal laws that relate to adults who sexually abuse children under the age of 13.

Mandatory Sex Offender Registration
Requires level 2 sex offenders to register their employment address and updates the manner in which Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) makes the electronic directory of offenders available to law enforcement.

Prostitution in School Zone
This new law increases penalties for prostitution and promoting prostitution on or adjacent to school property and in view of children.

Yeled V’Yalda
During a recent visit to Yeled V’Yalda Early Childhood Center in our district, Assemblywoman Weinstein observed one of the games used by teachers to enhance the educational experience.
Youth Anti-Violence
Responding to a rise in teen violence, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein joined Councilman Jumaane Williams, Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, and area residents at the launch of “Not In My Hood,” a youth anti-violence initiative to help teens feel they have a stake in their community. Teens had the opportunity to receive a free concert ticket after signing a one-year pledge against violence and completing at least eight hours of community service.

COJO Flatbush
Assemblywoman Weinstein congratulated Sergeant Richie Taylor on the receipt of an award at the annual COJO of Flatbush Legislative Breakfast. He is the third observant NYPD officer to be promoted to Sergeant, and currently works in the NYPD Housing Division in Brooklyn South. He previously worked in the 63rd Precinct. Pictured along with the Assemblywoman are Chaim Deutsch, President of the Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly who presented the award.

Legislative Concerns
Assemblywoman Weinstein, Councilman Lew Fidler, and Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, Vice President for Community Services for Agudath Israel of America, confer on the issue of school parity in the State’s budget at a recent legislative breakfast.
Community Concerns
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke discussed community concerns at a recent legislative breakfast.

Laws Protecting Consumers

The Assembly passed legislation addressing a wide range of consumer issues, including the following new laws:

Mail Order Prescriptions - Prohibits health insurers that provide coverage for prescription drugs from forcing enrollees to purchase covered prescriptions by mail order. Instead it allows them to use a network participating retail pharmacy at no additional charge to the enrollee. (A5502B is awaiting the Governor’s signature.)

Barring Paper Billing fees - Prohibits businesses from charging additional fees to consumers who want to receive paper-billing statements or pay by regular mail. The new law specifies that businesses would be able to offer consumers a credit or other incentive to select a specific payment option, such as a discount for making an online payment. This law took effect April 18, 2011.

Water Bill Exemptions - Allows charitable organizations to continue to provide services, by extending full or partial exemptions on water bills in New York City until September 1, 2012. Not-for-profits and other charitable groups are eligible for the exemption, including hospitals, day care centers, religious sites used exclusively for public worship and certain non-public schools.

New Citizens
At the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Swearing-In Ceremony at the Aquarium in Coney Island, Assemblywoman Weinstein congratulated two children on their achievement and welcomed them as U.S. citizens.
Health Fair
At the Midwood Active Adult’s Annual Health Fair, Assemblywoman Weinstein discussed the need to pass legislation that she is sponsoring that would improve patients’ health outcomes by establishing nurse staffing levels at hospitals and limiting forced overtime.

Nostrand Avenue
At a recent meeting with representatives of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Assemblywoman Weinstein raised concerns about the impact on residents and merchants from the planned Rapid Transit Bus system to be implemented on Nostrand Avenue next year.

This past session, I sponsored new laws to better protect domestic violence victims.

One law updates the definition of domestic violence to include the crimes of stalking and strangulation ensuring that victims of domestic violence are not arbitrarily precluded from services (Ch. 11).

Another law closes a loophole to ensure that abusers convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors are barred from legally purchasing firearms (Ch. 258). Names of these abusers will be transmitted to the federal background check system used before allowing the purchase of firearms.

Under another law I sponsored (Ch. 9) orders of protection will be effective at the time of sentencing, resulting in orders of protection being in place for a longer period of time.

Additionally, a new law I wrote protects victims of domestic violence who have fled their homes because of abuse and who need to maintain the secrecy of their location. It establishes an address confidentiality program in the Secretary of State’s office (Ch. 502).

CB #17 Civilian Patrol
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein set up an organizing meeting with the Flatbush Shomrim, a successful neighboring civilian safety patrol, to provide guidance to Community Board 17 as they establish a similar patrol in East Flatbush. In addition to guidance, Flatbush Shomrim pledged the donation of equipment and startup funds to ensure the new patrol’s success.
9/11 – 10 Years Later
Assemblywoman Weinstein spoke with Valeriy Savinkin, President - September 11th Family Group and taped video remarks in front of the Coney Island monument to be broadcast at their 10th Anniversary commemoration event. The group provides support to victims and families affected by the tragedy.

Reduce the Clutter in Your Mailbox in One Easy Step

Under federal law, you have the right to opt out of “pre-approved” or “prescreened” solicitations for credit or insurance. If you no longer wish to receive these offers, you may opt out by calling 1-888-5OPTOUT or visiting You may choose to opt out for five years or permanently, and may opt back in at any time. Your request must be processed within five days, but it may take up to sixty days before you stop receiving pre-approved offers. Assemblywoman Weinstein’s Office can help you process your request.


Iranian Divestment

After a suspected attempt by the Iranian government to carry out a terror plot on U.S. soil, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein joined Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Michael Miller, President of the JCRC of NY, the UJA Federation of NY, and colleagues to announce landmark legislation they are sponsoring to bar companies that invest in Iran’s energy sector from doing business with New York State or local governments.

In support, Weinstein stated, “For our nation’s safety, as well as our allies throughout the world, including Israel, we cannot allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. By divesting the State from any business with companies whose actions further Iran’s pursuit of nuclear arms, we are doing our part to make the world a safer place.”

PS 119
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein joined students at Public School 119 as they marched to commemorate International Peace Day, created to promote peace and stop violence. The march held special significance for the school, which this past summer was the scene of the tragic murder of 15- year-old Dequan Mercurius.

A Victory for Middle-Class Families,
A Victory for Fairness

Just last week the legislature returned to Albany for a special session, negotiating and passing a comprehensive job growth and tax reform plan.

The bipartisan agreement reached by the Legislature and the Governor is a huge victory for New Yorkers. It requires millionaires and billionaires to share in the fiscal sacrifice, provides much-needed tax relief to low- and middle-income families, closes the budget gap, so that we have the revenue to allow us to continue delivering crucial services in education and health care. and gives the state essential funding for infrastructure projects that will create jobs.

The new tax code includes a new high-income tax bracket for households earning more than $2 million per year that will raise nearly $6 billion in revenue over the next three years, and includes an annual middle-class tax relief worth $690 million in each of the next three years. Overall, some 4.4 million taxpayers - more than 99 percent of all filers - will benefit from a tax cut thanks to this agreement.

Other components include:

Night Out Against Crime
At the 63rd Precinct’s Night Out Against Crime, Assemblywoman Weinstein spoke with Councilman Jumaane Williams and Joseph Auerbach, Public Affairs Officer for the Flatlands Ambulance Corp. about issues facing volunteer ambulance companies in New York State.
Hurricane Irene
In the days following Hurricane Irene, Assemblywoman Weinstein surveyed damage and was able to identify a large number of downed trees in our district. The matters were promptly reported to the proper agencies that quickly responded, removing fallen trees and branches and restoring electricity. In the Fraser community, Assemblywoman Weinstein was able to promptly report a fallen tree that had taken down power lines and blocked traffic. The NYC Parks Department was soon on the scene to remove the tree and debris.

Block Party
Traffic and quality of life concerns were expressed by Audrey Julien, President - East 40th Street Block Association during their annual Block Party.

Protecting Neighborhoods
and Homeowners – Foreclosure Prevention

To help protect homeowners from unfair and illegal foreclosure practices and to protect neighborhoods, Assemblywoman Weinstein, as Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee has sponsored new laws to protect homeowners and held public hearings on Mortgage Foreclosures in New York to examine the impact of the foreclosure crisis on individuals and communities. At a hearing this November, testimony quantified the effect of foreclosed homes on neighborhood property values. Homes can often remain vacant for long periods of time during a foreclosure process, lowering housing prices in the surrounding areas. This has caused a ripple effect in some communities, causing other homes to be abandoned and making it more difficult for families seeking to sell their homes. According to a recent study presented at the hearing, “A single foreclosure can reduce prices of homes within 250 feet by 1-2% and 3 foreclosure filings within 500 feet of a home can depress its sale value by about 3%.”

Read Aloud
Munro Leaf’s “The Story of Ferdinand” was the official selection of this year’s National Read Aloud literacy program. At a Paerdegat Library program, Assemblywoman Weinstein read the classic children’s tale to the young students.
Good Shepherd Sports
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein throws out a first pitch to a young Little Leaguer at the Opening Ceremony of the Good Shepherd Sports Program season.

District 22 Visits Albany
During a visit to the Capitol, concerned parents representing School District 22 joined Assemblywoman Weinstein for an informative question and answer session.
Honors Graduate
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. This year’s PS 198 recipient dropped in with her parents to thank the Assemblywoman.

New Law to Help Families Cover the Cost of Autism

New York is the twenty-ninth state to require health insurance coverage for conditions relating to autism spectrum disorder. Every day, thousands of New York families are faced with the challenge of caring for a child diagnosed with autism, and every day many of those same families worry that their child’s medical treatment may not be covered by their insurance.

That’s why I sponsored a new law that will require insurance companies to cover the costs relating to the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism.

Under this new law, children who have autism may be diagnosed earlier, and thus be able to begin treatment at an earlier age, improving their quality of life. Receiving treatment at an earlier age will help insurance companies save money in the long run. (The law takes effect on November 1, 2012 and applies to insurance policies issued or renewed after that date).

Harry Maze Park
After community members voiced strong concerns, Assemblywoman Weinstein directed state funding for the installation of lights to enhance safety for Harry Maze Park and the surrounding neighborhood. Hazel Martinez, President - Four-in-One Block Association and a number of local residents gathered to thank the Assemblywoman for her work.
Veterans’ Day
Assemblywoman Weinstein joined the administration, parents and students at Public School 206 to recognize and honor military veterans and those currently serving during a special ceremony organized by the school.

Washington Cemetery Vandalism
Shortly after headstones were found to have been vandalized at Washington Cemetery in Brooklyn, Assemblywoman Weinstein joined Council members David Greenfield and Michael Nelson, the JCRC of NYC and local residents to condemn the disturbing act and call on the public to assist in the capture and conviction of the vandals.

Helene Weinstein’s Community Office
3520 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11229 • (718) 648-4700
Monday–Thursday: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. • Friday: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Please call or stop in if you have a problem or a question!
We speak English, Creole, Russian and Yiddish.