Legislative Update from Albany

Early this month, the Assembly, Senate and Governor Paterson came to an agreement on a budget deficit reduction plan. In addition, you might be interested to know about other legislative initiatives passed during the special session.

Public Authorities Reform: The Assembly passed a groundbreaking bill to reform New York State’s public authorities. Under this new legislation, the state would have increased oversight of public authorities, including increased financial disclosure, senate confirmation of certain authority appointments, compliance with existing minority and women-owned business law and whistleblower protections.

Energy Efficiency Incentives: Legislation passed by the Assembly would create a Municipal Sustainable Energy Loan Program, thus allowing municipalities to operate the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. Under the PACE program, counties, cities and towns can apply for federal funds to issue as loans to homeowners and businesses for making energy efficient repairs. The PACE program will not only benefit those making the repairs, but also developing solar, wind, geothermal and fuel cell industries in our state.

COBRA Extension: A state law passed this summer extended COBRA benefits from 18 months to 36 months, but inadvertently disqualified a group of individuals. The Assembly passed a law to amend this loophole, and now that group of individuals is also eligible extended benefits. For more information, you can call the New York State Department of Insurance at 1-800-342-3736.

DWI Legislation: Penalties are now more severe for those who drive drunk in New York State. Legislation passed by the Assembly and signed into law now makes our DWI laws the toughest in the country, increasing penalties and requiring the installation of ignition interlock devices for those convicted of drunk driving.

Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman and the NYPD’s 84th precinct teamed up on Saturday, November 14th to provide residents at a Brooklyn Heights co-op with free personal electronics registration. When police recover stolen personal electronics, registered devices can be returned to the owner. In addition, electronics registration can be an effective tool in recovering lost or stolen property.

Those interested in registering personal electronic devices should contact their local police precinct for more information.

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Millman Coordinates Turkey Deliveries to Six Local Organizations

Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, Assemblywoman Millman and Fairway Market partnered to deliver 40 frozen turkeys to six community organizations yesterday.

"I would like to thank Fairway Market for helping me bring Thanksgiving cheer to these much-deserving community organizations," said Millman. "This year, the need is greater than it has been for quite some time. I encourage those more fortunate citizens to think of their neighbors who might need a little assistance this year. My Brooklyn office also is a collection site for a food and toiletries drive to benefit the Family Justice Center, which assists victims of domestic violence."

The following organizations received donated turkeys:

The YWCA of Brooklyn, located at 30 Third Avenue, which has been an integral part of the community since 1888, provides safe and affordable housing to women and offers programs for survivors of domestic violence, a child development center, breast cancer screening and education programs and leadership services for women and girls.

The Raices Times Plaza Senior Center, located at 460 Atlantic Avenue, offers services to low-income seniors, including case assistance and a social adult day center.

The Prospect Park YMCA, which has been serving the community for over 113 years, offers 138 affordable housing units, eleven after-school programs that serve more than 1,000 children daily and exercise and aquatic facilities.

The HOPE Program of Brooklyn, located at One Smith Street, offers job readiness instruction, internships, computer training, GED classes, meals, clothes and emergency grants to people in need. Their job training program has been cited as a national model for its effectiveness.

CHIPS, Christian Help in Park Slope, located at 200 4th Avenue, is a soup kitchen run by volunteers that feeds 70,000 meals annually to people in need and provides temporary shelter to 2,000 individuals a year.

The Eileen C. Dugan Senior Center, located at 380 Court Street, provides senior citizens with a place to gather informally for a nutritious meal and social, recreational and educational activities.

Apply for the Neighborhood Heating Fund at Millman’s Brooklyn Office

Starting December 9th, 2009, my office will be a center for processing applications for the Neighborhood Heating Fund, a program sponsored by National Grid and administered by Heartshare Human Services. Under this program, qualified applicants may receive a one time grant of up to $200 off their National Grid bill. (Households may only apply for one grant per season). The program is first come, first served and will end when the funds run out. The application is a simple one page form, which staff in my office can help you fill out. Applicants will need to show identification for themselves and everyone in their households, income information for everyone in their household AND a current National Grid bill. Heartshare will verify all of the information.

Office of Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman
341 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 246-4889
millmaj@assembly.state.ny.us