Protecting Disenfranchised Overseas Voters

In March, 2011 Governor Andrew Cuomo signed my bill, A 5698, which would increase the period between the governor's proclamation of a special election and the date of that election. The bill unanimously passed both houses and would help ensure that every ballot is counted in special elections, including those cast by citizens who have moved overseas and military personnel. The provisions of the bill allow county boards of elections additional time prior to special elections, extending the time by at least 40 days. This is important because in previous elections, there has not been sufficient time allowed to mail ballots overseas, allow individuals to vote and then return them to the United States in enough time to have their votes counted. This caused thousands of voters to be disenfranchised simply because they lived out of the country. As the Chairperson of the Assembly's Election Law Committee, I am glad to be able to act promptly when issues such as this are brought to the Committee's attention.

Preserve Rent Regulation for NYC

I was proud to stand along side Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and other Assembly colleagues at rallies this month to defend rent regulated tenants and urge for the extension and expansion of rent regulation in New York City. Rent regulation protects 1.6 million low and middle income New Yorkers from losing their homes. With New Yorkers still suffering from the economic downturn, it's crucial we ensure that already cash-strapped tenants aren't forced out of their homes due to skyrocketing rents. Strengthening rent-regulation laws and putting oversight mechanisms in place to protect tenants from unfair rent hikes will help New Yorkers battle one of their greatest hardships - using a large majority of their income for rent - and will help keep these tenants in their homes.

A recent Assembly report found that more than 10,000 rent-regulated apartments are lost each year because of loopholes in the rent laws, such as vacancy decontrol and major capitol improvement increases. The current rent laws are set to expire on June 15th, and I am calling for those laws to be extended and expanded.

Support Our Libraries, Support Our Shelves

Libraries can be one of the most important resources in a community, but for many years their budgets have been cut so severely that they're often unable to offer the kind of programming and hours that the community needs. There are three libraries in my district, the Brooklyn Heights branch at 250 Cadman Plaza West, the Carroll Gardens branch at 396 Clinton Street at the corner of Union Street and the Pacific library at 25 Fourth Avenue at Pacific Street. In the face of budget reductions all libraries have cut the hours they are open to the public, which makes it harder for residents to access books and other resources. As a former librarian, I support public libraries and advocate for them during budget negotiations.

One way to support the branches of the Brooklyn Public Library is through the library's "Support Our Shelves" campaign, which runs through June 1. In addition, Friends groups can be vital to supporting the work of the branch libraries. The Brooklyn Heights and Pacific libraries have had active Friends groups for years, and the Carroll Gardens branch has a newly chartered Friends group which invites community participation. If you're interested contact Nina Guralnick, the group's President. The Friends of Carroll Gardens Library is holding a book sale to fundraise for the branch on Saturday, May 14, 2011 from 10 AM- 4PM.

Reading to children at the Brooklyn Heights branch library from "The Story of Ferdinand" as part of "Read Across America" which is a national event sponsored by the National Education Association. This year the event honored the 75th anniversary of this special book about Ferdinand, the bull.

My office is once again offering bone density scans, courtesy of Long Island College Hospital. The scans can help determine whether you are at risk of osteoporosis. The event will be at my district office at 341 Smith Street on Friday, May 13, 2011 from 10 AM - 1 PM. Scans are by appointment only - please call my office at 718-246-4889.
Office of Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman
341 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 246-4889
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