Tuesday, August 1, 2017

NYS Senate Summer 2017 Update

My New York State Senator, Liz Krueger [D-28th District], sends each Constituent an update, and I just received her Summer 2017 Update. During my time as an Elected Official, I carried Liz's Primary Petitions on the Independence Party line.

Dear Friend, The 2017 legislature session was particularly frustrating, given the context of what I believe our state needs to be doing to protect New Yorkers from the impacts of damaging policies emerging under the Trump administration. This is a time when New York should be leading efforts to protect the rights of New Yorkers and ensuring that access to basic services is protected.

Unfortunately, the Senate majority coalition refused to allow votes on a host of critical issues impacted by current and potential federal policy changes, including reproductive rights, protecting immigrants, protecting immigrants, addressing climate change, and ensuring access to health care.

This report will first offer an outline of the ways I believe New York can and should be resisting the Trump agenda. I will then discuss other legislation impacting our State that came up - or should have come up - during the 2017 legislative session.

Here are some of the Bills she supports that are interesting:


She believes New York State Legislators need to be looking for alternatives to address the State's Healthcare needs since we cannot rely on Federal Assistance. She has been a long Co-Sponsor of State Assembly Richard N. Gottfried's [D-75th District] and State Senator Gustavo Rivera's [D-33rd District] New York Health Act (A4738/S4840), which would create a Single-Payer system in New York. She believes a Federal Single-Payer model would have been a better solution than the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and in the current climate it is clearly time for New York State to take the initiative in offering New Models for ensuring Access to Care. The New York Health Act has passed the Assembly and has 31 Co-Sponsors in the Senate, but the Republican/Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) Majority Coalition has refused to allow it to come to the Senate floor for a Vote.


As the Trump Administration renounces the Paris Climate Agreement and other efforts to fight Global Warming and ensure a Livable Planet for Future Generations, it is more important than ever that States take the lead in Environmental Policy. The New York State Climate and Community Protection Act (A88287/S6617) would require the State to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from all sources to zero by 2050. That would demand a near Total Decarbonization of our Economy, and would put New York among the World Leaders on forceful Climate Action. The Bill also requires the State to get at least 50% of its Electricity from Clean Energy by 2030.

This important Legislation passed the Assembly in June, but the Republican/IDC Majority Coalition Blocked consideration of the Bill in the Senate. The Senate Leadership also refused to allow consideration of The Fuel Divestment Act (S4596), Liz's Legislation to require the State Pension Fund to divest from the top 200 Oil, Gas, and Coal Companies.

Voting Rights

As the Trump Administration attacks Voting Rights through Investigation of mythical Large Voter Fraud, New York needs to be Expanding access to Voting. Turnout is embarrassingly low in many Elections, and part of the reason is that we have more Restrictive Voting Laws than much of the Country.

We need Laws and Procedures that Encourage, rather than Discourage, Voting. The Senate Democratic Conference has proposed a number of Reforms to Open up our Electoral Process.

Among these Proposals are:

The Voter Empowerment Act (A2278/S3304: This Bill would allow for Online Creating or Updating of Voter Registration: allow People to Register or Change their Party Affiliation up to 10 days before an Election; permit Pre-Registration for 16 and 17 year-olds, among other Reforms. A number of Provisions of this Bill have also been introduced and enacted in Standalone Bills.

Same-Day Registration: In New York, allowing Same-Day Registration requires Both a Constitutional Amendment (A2090a/S2478) and enacting Legislation (A6161/S3245).

Early Voting: This would allow Eligible Voters to cast their Ballots before Election Day. (A2064/S2950) would establish a 12 Day Early Voting period ending the Sunday before Election Day.

Voting by Mail: Liz sponsored Legislation (S4085) to authorize a study of the feasibility of Voting by Mail and allow for a Pilot program. Voting by Mail has been implemented successfully in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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