Thursday, April 25, 2013

Students, Memos, and Hearings

For those wondering about the lapse in our blogging last week, we were busy chaperoning fifty-five talented, inquisitive, and just generally amazing high school students who came to Albany from across New York State to participate in the League’s Students Inside Albany (SIA) conference.  SIA is an intensive four day training experience that is designed to immerse students in the process by which public policy is proposed, enacted and changed in New York State and educate them as to how they can influence and affect this process. .  The students spent four packed days learning about New York State government, lobbying, voting, the judicial system, and the legislature, where they spent two days shadowing their legislators.  They even got to have a mock debate on the floor of the Assembly, thanks to Assemblymember  Pete Lopez.  Check out LWVNY’s website for photos of the conference.   Big thanks to all of the staff, chaperones, speakers, local leagues, legislators, and students who made this year’s SIA such a wonderful experience!

Last week also saw bill A1046 appear on the agenda of the Assembly Codes Committee, where it passed.  The bill requires that all waste resulting from the exploration, development, extraction and production of crude oil and natural gas that meets the definition of hazardous waste be subject to the same laws regarding generation, transportation, treatment, storage and disposal as other hazardous wastes.  The League put out a memo in strong support of A1046, as we have for the past couple years that the bill has been introduced and passed in the Assembly.  A1046 has moved on to the Ways and Means Committee, where we will track its progress.  The bill’s same-as, S674, is currently sitting in the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, where it has yet to see any action, even though all four members of the IDC are cosponsors of the bill.  Keep a look out for League memos and action alerts should S674 make its way onto the committee’s agenda.
This week, Assemblymember Gottfried’s single payer healthcare bill, A5389, passed in the Assembly Health Committee.  The bill has long floated around the Assembly and hasn’t seen a vote on the floor since 1992, when it was first introduced and passed in the Assembly and died in the Senate.   Nevertheless, the League has continuously advocated for the bill, knowing that a single payer health coverage program would save lives and give all New Yorkers the healthcare many so desperately need.  You can read the League’s most recent memo in support of the legislation here.
Finally, in the mist of the recent increased flurry of dialogue on campaign finance reform, the Senate Republicans have taken aim at public financing of campaigns.  In early May, the Senate Election Law Committee will hold a public hearing on the “abuses of the New York City public financing system.” 

Starting May 1, the IDC will be holding their own public hearings on campaign finance reform throughout the state.  The League, which has applauded the IDC’s comprehensive campaign finance reform proposal, will be testifying at at least one of the IDC’s hearings – check back soon for more info.

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