Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bazzomanifesto Update 04/15/15: 11 Topics In Today's blog


1) NEWS: On Equal Pay Day, Maloney Calls for Passage of Paycheck Fairness Act and Paid Family Leave


3) PRESS RELEASE] Heroin Task Force to meet in Yorktown, Rochester, Lewiston, Albany

4) Astorino: Why My Children Are 'Opting Out'

5) Coffee’s with Legislator Catherine Borgia begin this Sunday 04/19/15


7) Reform Party to Albany: Listen to Parents and Teachers

8) Levenberg Announces Run for Ossining Town Board

9) PRESS RELEASE] State sheds 57 anti-business fees

10) : [MEDIA ADVISORY] TOMORROW, 4/16/15, 11:00am - Press Conference Opposing Poughkeepsie City Council's Anti-Second Amendment Bill


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April 14, 2015

CONTACT: Stephanie Formas, 202-225-0415


On Equal Pay Day, Maloney Calls for Passage of Paycheck Fairness Act and Paid Family Leave

Hudson Valley Women Face Largest Wage Gap in NY


Washington –  With the wage gap growing for women in the Hudson Valley, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney called for the passage of both the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act. Today, Equal Pay Day, symbolizes when, more than three months into the year, women’s wages finally catch up to what men were paid in the previous year. According to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, the median earnings for U.S. women working full time, year round were just 78 percent of U.S. men’s median earnings; however, in the Hudson Valley, women earned only 74% compared to their male counterpart, the largest gap of all districts in New York.


“More than 50 years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, the wage gap in the Hudson Valley is growing for hardworking women – we have to reverse this trend. Women in the Hudson Valley are more likely to be the breadwinners and caretakers; our families and economy suffer when women are paid less than men. We have a lot of work left to do to ensure that my daughters have full economic security and equal opportunities - it’s time for our country to stop putting up barriers to women’s economic opportunity and invest in the women and girls who will lead us into the next century.”

Maloney supports both the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would establish a national, gender-neutral paid family and medical leave insurance program.  Among its many provisions, the Paycheck Fairness Act requires employers to show that pay disparity is truly related to job performance, not gender; strengthens remedies for women experiencing pay discrimination; prohibits employer retaliation for sharing salary information with coworkers; and empowers women in the workplace through a grant program to strengthen salary negotiation and other workplace skills.


Last year, Maloney unveiled an agenda to “Expand Women’s Economic Opportunities.” His agenda focuses on policies that address the real economic needs of women and families, including equal pay for equal work, paid leave, supporting women entrepreneurs and small businesses owners, and expanding access to affordable child care.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                          

Tuesday, April 14, 2015



Lauren Passalacqua (Gillibrand), 202-774-4409

Danielle Varallo (Kirk), 202-228-3853

Matt House (Schumer), 202-224-2939

Mike Morosi (Maloney), 202-225-7944

John Doty (Nadler) 202-225-5635

Kevin Fogarty (King) 202-225-7896




Health and Compensation Programs Passed Into Law After Almost Decade Long Fight Set to Expire This Year – Participants in 9/11 Health Program Living in All 50 States and 429 of 435 Congressional Districts


Washington, D.C. – After nearly a decade long fight to stand by our first responders who answered the call of duty on September 11th, Congress finally fulfilled its moral obligation in late 2010 and provided our 9/11 heroes with the health care and financial compensation they deserved by passing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. With the Zadroga bill’s two critical programs – the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund – set to expire in October 2015 and October 2016 respectively a bipartisan group of lawmakers from across the country today introduced the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act to permanently extend these programs. Last month, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed an amendment to the Senate budget resolution that will facilitate future legislation to renew and extend the Zadroga Act.


Led by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), the bill was introduced in the Senate with 12 total cosponsors, including Senators Warren (D-MA), Blumenthal (D-CT), Sanders (D-VT), Menedez (D-NJ), Murphy (D-CT), Booker (D-NJ), Baldwin (D-WI) and Shaheen (D-NH). Led by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY), the companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives 39 total original co-sponsors, including: Israel (D-NY), Meeks (D-NY), Meng (D-NY), Rangel (D-NY), Crowley (D-NY), Serrano (D-NY), Engel (D-NY), Lowey (D-NY), Higgins (D-NY), SP Maloney (D-NY), Tonko (D-NY), Jeffries (D-NY), Rice (D-NY), Katko (R-NY), Gibson (R-NY), Clarke (D-NY), Hanna (R-NY), Slaughter (D-NY), Velazquez (D-NY), Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Pallone (D-NJ), MacArthur (R-NJ), DeLauro (D-CT), Himes (D-CT), Larson (D-CT), Esty (D-CT), Norton (D-DC), McGovern (D-VA), Connolly (D-VA), Sires (D-NJ), Courtney (D-CT), Pascrell (D-NJ), Grijalva (D-AZ), Vargas (D-CA), Cárdenas (D-CA), and Pocan (D-WI).


Nearly 14 years after September 11th, 9/11 responders and survivors are still battling serious health crises resulting from exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero. More than 33,000 9/11 responders and survivors have an illness or injury caused by the attacks or their aftermath, and over two-thirds of those have more than one illness. Many are disabled and can no longer work. They are suffering from a host of chronic diseases: asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, cancer and many more, caused by exposure to toxins and carcinogens at Ground Zero. 


Responders came from all over the country to aid in the response to the attacks. And some area survivors, including area residents, workers and children harmed by the disaster, have since moved and are currently receiving care in cities and states across the country. Participants enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program for treatment currently reside in all 50 states and in 429 of the 435 Congressional Districts in the country.


“Nearly 14 years ago, we relied on our first responders to lead the rescue and recovery work at Ground Zero, in Shanksville and at the Pentagon – we cannot turn our back now when they need us most,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Just 4 years ago, Congress came together to ensure that the heroes of 9/11 – the first responders and survivors, including area residents, workers and children, who now live in all 50 states – receive the health care and compensation they deserve. I am proud to stand hand-in-hand with members from both sides of the aisle and from both chambers of Congress because it shouldn’t take another ‘Christmas Miracle’ for Congress to do the right thing and stand by our heroes.”


“170 Illinoisans are being cared for through these crucial 9/11 health programs, and those who helped lead Americans to safety deserve our continued care and support,” said Senator Mark Kirk. “This bipartisan group has stood by our heroes and Congress shouldn't hesitate to help provide vital health screenings and care to police, firefighters and EMS heroes who selflessly came to the rescue 14 years ago.”


“Alongside my New York colleagues, and a group of bipartisan Senators from states as far-flung as Illinois and Alaska, I will fight to renew and strengthen the health program that serves the first-responder heroes from 9/11,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer. “The people who rushed to the towers on 9/11 and in the days and weeks after are veterans of the ‘War on Terror,’ and in this country we take care of our veterans – no ‘ifs, ands, or buts.’”


“I’m proud to continue the work we started years ago standing up for 9/11 first responders and survivors,” Senator Baldwin said. “It is vitally important that we take action to permanently extend these programs so our 9/11 first responders and their families continue receiving the care they deserve.”


“Though September 11, 2001 remains the most momentous date for this nation in the 21st century for every American, the tragic events that day have meant a lingering, difficult reality today and every day for the first responders who face adverse health issues simply because they answered the call to duty and sought to protect their fellow man,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski.  “Extending the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is about fulfilling our nation’s moral responsibility to the first responders from Alaska and every other state who responded to the events of September 11th at substantial risk to their own safety.”


“We made a promise on September 11th, not only to rebuild, and pursue justice against those who attacked us, but to care for the injured and their families, and the first responders and volunteers who risked everything to help others in the wake of the attacks,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “Our commitment to ‘never forget’ knew no bounds or party lines when joined in unison on the steps of the Capitol back in 2001, and it doesn’t today. Those who were there at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and Shanksville continue to suffer the consequences. We must let them know they are not alone - America stands with these heroes. We must reauthorize the Zadroga Act.”


“We will never forget those we lost on September 11th, and we will never forget the strength, bravery, and resilience our country demonstrated that morning,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “And we must never abandon the brave first responders and survivors who risked everything in the days, weeks, and months following the attacks to rebuild our city and their lives. Just as they did not hesitate to answer our call 14 years ago, we cannot turn our back on them now. We must reauthorize the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.”


“With two critical programs set to expire within the next 18 months and still too many of our 9/11 responders and survivors continuing to fight serious illnesses, it is imperative that we renew and extend the Zadroga Act,” said Congressman Peter King. “We have come too far and we must continue to ensure that our 9/11 heroes receive the care they deserve.”


“We don’t leave our injured soldiers on the battlefield, and we certainly shouldn’t leave the 9/11 first responders who are at increased risk for cancer and other ailments with no funding,” said Congressman Charles Rangel. “While we can never fully express our gratitude for their sacrifices and patriotism, we can provide them the care they need and deserve. I am proud to stand alongside my dear friends and colleagues to stand up for the heroes who now most need our help."


“We have a moral responsibility to continue caring for those who honorably served our nation at a time of great need,” said Congressman Joe Crowley. “The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act has brought much-needed assistance to thousands of people and must be reauthorized to ensure that support will continue to be there. We simply can’t afford to quit on the men and women who wouldn’t quit on our country when we needed them most.”


“It’s essential that The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is extended so that the necessary assistance is provided to our 9/11 first responders,” said Congressman Lee Zeldin. “These brave men and women deserve the care and treatment they have earned for their selfless acts on September 11th, 2001. That’s why I co-sponsor the act and will be urging all of my colleagues to vote for it. After 9/11, we vowed to never forget; this is just one of the ways we can remember and help all of those who showed enormous amounts of courage and bravery in the aftermath of the attack on America."


“As a nation, we made a commitment to stand together and never forget the brave men and women who acted without hesitation to save thousands of lives on 9/11,” said Congressman Steve Israel. “It is our moral obligation to uphold this promise and extend the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act to ensure that these survivors continue to receive the medical treatment and support that they need and deserve.”


“Fourteen years after the 9/11 attacks, there are still thousands of first responders suffering the effects of the attacks that need our help,” said Congressman José E. Serrano. “We have a moral obligation to them for the service they paid our nation, and the James Zadroga Reauthorization Act will help ensure they continue to have access to the health care and financial support they deserve.   I am proud to join colleagues from both sides of the aisle and all parts of the nation to introduce this important legislation in support of our 9/11 heroes.”


“I believe that allowing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to expire later this year, while so many first-responders and volunteers are still struggling with the health effects of 9/11, would be disgraceful,” said Congressman Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Health Subcommittee. “Not renewing the Zadroga Act is an outrage to every first-responder, an insult to every man and woman who selflessly ran into those buildings that fateful day, and an affront to the memory of everyone who lost their lives. Congress has a moral obligation to renew this act.”


“In the days and months that followed 9/11, our first responders selflessly put their lives and health at risk,” said Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney. “With many of our heroes and survivors struggling with serious illnesses, it’s our duty to make a lifelong commitment to these men, women and children.”


“On September 11th, our brave first responders answered the call, and now, nearly 14 years after that horrible day, we must not turn our backs on the heroes who were sickened or injured while working at Ground Zero,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng. “We can never thank our first responders enough for all they did on 9/11 and all that they continue to do each and every day to keep us safe. Survivors and responders in New York and across the country continue to require critical medical care from the toxins that they were exposed to, and we must never, ever abandon them. I call on Congress to immediately renew and extend these vital programs.”


“If anything can unite Democrats and Republicans in Congress, it should be our commitment to the emergency responders who risked their lives to lead rescue and recovery efforts in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks,” said Congresswoman Kathleen Rice. “These men and women stepped up when we needed them, and they’re counting on us to do the same. They’re counting on us to come together, Democrats and Republicans from across the country, and ensure that they have the care and compensation they need, and they shouldn’t have to doubt that we’ll get it done.”


“In the aftermath of 9/11, New Yorkers joined with first responders and volunteers from across the nation at Ground Zero, working selflessly to help in any way possible,” Governor Cuomo said. “Those men and women stood up in our darkest hour, without concern for their own well-being, and we must continue to honor their service by providing the support they need through reauthorizing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.  They deserve nothing less than our full and unwavering support.”


“Our first responders were there for us on 9/11 – and every day after. We have a moral obligation to continue to stand with them and ensure that they receive the health care and support they need and deserve,” said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I’m proud to join this bipartisan coalition in support of our police officers, firefighters, medical professionals, and all of our first responders here and across the country, and thank all of the sponsors for their leadership. I urge Congress to quickly pass this vital reauthorization.”


“For almost 14 years, first responders have been dealing with the after effects of the 9/11 attacks,” said Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters. “For many, this is a fight that will never end. It is our duty to honor those who worked in the terrible aftermath by making sure that the critical programs authorized by the Zadroga Bill are renewed.”


“The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) strongly supports the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act,” said William Johnson, Executive Director of the National Association of Police Organizations. “This legislation will not only reauthorize programs to provide critical medical treatment and compensation for 9/11 heroes, but it will also honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation.  James Zadroga, a New York City Police Department Detective and member of NAPO, died of respiratory disease caused by his exposure to toxic chemicals at Ground Zero.  It is our obligation and duty to remember these heroes and ensure that survivors who risked their lives to protect us continue to receive the treatment and compensation that they deserve.” 


“In 2010, working together, we passed the 9/11 James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act, which has provided medical treatment and compensation to thousands of responders and residents who are sick from toxic exposures following the 9/11 attacks,” said Elizabeth Shuler, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer. “The programs set up under the law have saved lives. Unless Congress acts, these lifesaving programs will end next year. We can’t and won’t let this law expire.  As a country, we owe the heroes of 9/11 the care and support they need and deserve. We must pass this bill to renew and extend the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.”


“Congress did the right thing in 2010 when it passed The Zadroga Act. Now, Congress must act quickly to renew and extend the vital benefits for the thousands of 9/11 responders and survivors who continue to battle for their lives and welfare,” said Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO. “The New York State AFL-CIO will coordinate with 49 other state federations across the country to secure bipartisan congressional support for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. The Labor Movement remains committed to ensuring that the people who are suffering as a result of their bravery and determination continue to receive the care and support they deserve.”


“Providing for those who sacrificed their health responding to the terrorist attacks of September 11th is not a ‘New York issue’—it’s a national obligation,” said Ed Mullins. President of the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the NYPD.  “The long-term health effects that we are seeing from exposure to the deadly cocktail of toxins at Ground Zero are affecting brave people from all 50 states.  Constituents in 429 of 435 Congressional Districts are affected. As a nation, we owe it to these heroes to do everything we can to honor the sacrifices they made in carrying out their sworn duty to protect and serve on that fateful day.”


“We challenge Congress to preserve History collectively as a body of caring Americans, not a body of ideological parties,” said John Feal, 9/11 Responder Advocate.


“Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act, on behalf of thousands of ill 9/11 responders and survivors want to thank our legislative champions who today are beginning the process to extend the programs that help so many stricken by the toxins at Ground Zero,” said James Slevin, Member, Board of Directors of Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act, James Slevin, Board Member Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act and Vice President, Uniformed Firefighters Association Local 94 IAFF, AFL-CIO. “I particularly want to thank Senators Murkowski, Kirk, Baldwin and the others who may represent states far from New York and Washington but have shown today that they truly have Not Forgotten 9/11 and the thousands who came from all across the U.S. to help.”


The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act passed by Congress in 2010 helped ensure proper monitoring and treatment for thousands of men, women and children that face potential life-threatening health effects due to the toxins released at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.


Currently, over 33,000 responders and survivors across the nation have at least one illness or injury while many have multiple 9/11 conditions and are receiving critical treatment and medical care through the WTC Health Program. Over 60,000 9/11 responders and survivors are receiving medical monitoring. The program treats responders and survivors for many chronic diseases and respiratory illnesses, including asthma, sinusitis, obstructive pulmonary disease, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.


The WTC Health Program continues to be a critical lifeline for many, particularly when the number of 9/11-related cancer cases among rescue workers and responders has increased over the past decade and continues to grow. So far, there are over 3,900 certified 9/11 cancers among the responders and survivors in the Health Program - including more than 950 New York City Fire Department members that have been diagnosed with 9/11-related cancers, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since 2012, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has added several types of cancers to the list of 9/11-related illnesses covered by the WTC Health Program. Studies show that 9/11 workers have gotten certain cancers – including prostate, thyroid, and multiple myeloma – at significantly higher rates than the general population.


Over 80 NYPD and over 100 FDNY personnel have reportedly died from their 9/11 illnesses since 9/11. More Police officers have died from their injuries since 9/11 than perished on 9/11.


The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which was reopened under the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Bill, provides compensation for economic losses to 9/11 responders and survivors and their families for physical injuries as a result of involvement in Ground Zero, including breathing in toxins. Since 2013, the VCF has deemed 4,415 injured 9/11 individuals eligible for compensation.


Numerous studies have documented the health effects of the WTC attacks, which include lower and upper respiratory, gastrointestinal, and mental health conditions. These illnesses have caused major financial strains on many of those exposed who are subsequently no longer able to work and would be forced to pay the high price of health care without this federally-funded national program.


The new James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act would:


Continue the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program.  The World Trade Center Health Program administered by NIOSH would continue medical monitoring for 9/11-related illnesses for over 63,000 9/11 first responders and treatment for over 7,800 injured 9/11 survivors.  Over 33,000 responders and survivors have at least one or more medical conditions as a result of their 9/11 exposure.  Most of these conditions require chronic care. These conditions include severe respiratory diseases, chronic sinus problems, and psychological conditions such as PTSD. Over 3,900 incidences of WTC-related 9/11 cancers have been certified in program participants, including over 950 among people working for the NYC Fire Department, and more are expected.  


Continue to Provide Monitoring and Treatment for Communities Throughout the Nation. The program would continue to provide medical monitoring and treatment for responders to the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Shanksville, PA crash site who live outside the New York metropolitan area. This legislation would continue that treatment for over 7,900 injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors including responders who came to New York to provide assistance after 9/11 and those from New York who have moved out of the New York Metropolitan area. There are currently responders and survivors who are participating in the WTC Health Program from every state and from 429 of 435 Congressional Districts. 


Continue the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).  Under the bill the fund, which is scheduled to close on October 3rd 2016, would remain open and be fully funded to provide compensation for economic damages and loss for responders and survivors who were injured by exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero. To date, the Fund has determined 10,549 claimants eligible and has made compensation decisions for 4,415 injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors for over a billion dollars in compensation. More are expected in the coming years due to the delayed onset of cancer from 9/11 exposure.  But without legislation and sufficient funding, 9/11 injured responders will face having their compensation reduced by perhaps 50 percent and those who are diagnosed with cancer in future years would have NO compensation.


Make the programs permanent.  Many of the responders and survivors have chronic WTC-related illnesses requiring long-term care. Some will have delayed onset of illnesses, especially cancers, due to 9/11 exposures. They will continue to need medical care and compensation. Making the programs permanent would be similar to legislation that was enacted providing medical and compensation benefits for workers at our nuclear facilities (EEOICPA).  


Continue to New York City’s Cost Share. The City of New York would continue to contribute a 10 percent matching cost share of the total costs of the World Trade Center Health Program.


Continue to Research New Conditions. The legislation would continue research in diagnosing and treating WTC-related illnesses.  


The current WTC Health Program and the reopened September 11th Victim Compensation Fund expire during the 114th Congress. If the legislation is not extended, these vital programs will end.


On Monday, April 13, 2015 3:21 PM, Senator Terrence Murphy wrote:

CONTACT: Matthew Slater, 518-455-3111
ALBANY, NY - The New York State Senate today announced the schedule for the first round of forums being held by the bipartisan Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction. The Task Force will meet in Yorktown, Rochester, Lewiston, Albany and additional communities to examine the issues created by increased heroin abuse that is causing hundreds of deaths in communities across the state.

The Task Force is co-chaired by Senator Terrence Murphy, Senator Robert Ortt, chairman of the Senate Committee on Mental Health; and Senator George A. Amedore, Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

The forums will provide an opportunity for Senators to solicit input from stakeholders and experts and use the information collected to develop recommendations for legislative action.

"This Task Force must tackle this dire situation head on, because kids are dying," Senator Murphy said. "We successfully included language in the budget to allow school nurses to administer the lifesaving drug NARCAN but we need to be doing more. We will work to build partnerships across the state as we determine the next steps needed to end this terrible epidemic."

"Communities across New York State are no stranger to opiate and heroin overdoses. One life lost to this dangerous epidemic is one too many," Senator Ortt said. "These forums will help us devise a comprehensive plan that provides solutions for those struggling with substance use and their families. The discussions will allow the Task Force to collect and process important information from victims, family members, law enforcement, and medical professionals in order to better our community and most importantly, save lives."

"Every day, the heroin epidemic is destroying lives in communities throughout New York State, and we need to do everything possible to address this crisis head on," Senator Amedore said. "I look forward to joining my colleagues on the Task Force to hear crucial input from medical professionals, educators, and law enforcement officials, in addition to families who have felt the devastating effects first-hand. These forums will provide valuable insight into the most effective ways to increase awareness and prevention efforts, and how to make sure treatment options are readily available for those who need them."

Lawmakers say that recent opiate statistics show a pressing and urgent need to find a solution to this statewide epidemic. Deaths in New York from opiate overdoses are increasing, with 34 suspected opiate deaths in Erie County so far this year ,13 of which occurred in just one recent week.

In New York City, the most recent statistics available showed that for the second straight year heroin deaths surpassed homicides with 420 people dying from heroin overdoses compared to 335 homicides in 2013.

The first four forums are being held this spring and will be followed by additional forums in other communities this fall.

2015 Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction Sche

Westchester County:
Thursday, April 30, 7 p.m.: Mildred E. Strang Middle School, 2701 Crompond
Rd, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
Monroe County:
Wednesday, May 6, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: St. John Fisher College Wegmans School
of Nursing Building, Room 100, 3690 East Ave., Rochester, NY 14618.
Niagara County:
Thursday, May 7, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Niagara University Dunleavy Hall,
Room 127, 5795 Lewiston Rd., Niagara University, NY 14109.
Albany County:
Tuesday, June 2, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: SUNY Albany D'Ambra Auditorium, Life
Sciences Research Building, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222
Members of the bipartisan task force include State Senators John Bonacic, Phil Boyle, David Carlucci, Thomas Croci, Hugh Farley, John Flanagan, Rich Funke, Pat Gallivan, Martin J. Golden, Joseph A. Griffo, Kemp Hannon, Andrew Lanza, William Larkin, Kenneth LaValle, Carl L. Marcellino, Kathleen A. Marchione, Jack Martins, Michael Nozzolio, Tom O'Mara, Michael Ranzenhofer, Patty Ritchie, Joseph Robach, Diane Savino, Susan Serino, James L. Seward, David J. Valesky, Michael Venditto and Cathy Young.

On Tuesday, April 14, 2015 9:00 AM, "Rob Astorino, Westchester County Executive" wrote:

Contact:  Bill O'Reilly, 212-396-9117 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Statement from Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino on
This Week's 'Common Core' Testing in New York

 April 14, 2015

Today, Sheila and I join over 100,000 parents across New York in opting our children out of the Common Core tests, as is our right.
Our kids deserve better than Common Core, an experiment conceived in secrecy with no public hearings or testing. There are no consequences for opting out. The scores will not affect student records.
We support higher standards for our kids, but that's not Common Core, despite what we've often been told.
The standards are of "poor quality."  Those aren't my words; those are the words of the Math and English Language Arts content experts on the validation committee. But their concerns were expunged from the final record.
Also ignored are experts' concerns that:
  • The standards are developmentally inappropriate in the early grades
  • No K-12 teachers were involved in writing the standards
  • High-stakes testing as the sole assessment for both student and teacher performance is both unfair and wrong
I share these concerns, as well as the concern that this is education policy guided at the federal level and not the local level as historically has been the case.
As parental concerns and frustrations continue to fall on deaf ears, the numbers opting out of the tests will continue to grow.
The Governor, Legislature, Education Commissioner, and Board of Regents must restore local control of our schools. Common Core needs to be replaced with better standards developed with input from teachers and parents and vetted and tested in a fully transparent process.



On Tuesday, April 14, 2015 12:08 PM, Catherine Borgia wrote:

With Your Westchester County Legislator
Catherine Borgia
Do You Have Suggestions? Ideas? Concerns?
Coffees with Catherine Borgia
Sunday April 19, 2015
Starbucks Coffee
107 N State Rd, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510
Saturday April 25, 2015
The Black Cow Coffee House
4 Old Post Rd S, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520

Saturday May 2nd 2015
D’ouro Portuguese Café
123 Main Street, Ossining, NY 10562
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On Tuesday, April 14, 2015 2:26 PM, Assemblyman Steve Katz wrote:

Contact: Tara Keegan, 845-628-3781,
            Assemblyman Steve Katz (R,C-Yorktown) has signed on to sponsor Assembly Bill 6025, better known as the Common Core Parental Refusal Act. The bill would require school districts to make parents aware that they have the right to opt their child out of the high-stakes tests that compose the Common Core curriculum. The bill also ensures that no punitive action can be taken against the child, teacher or school for refusing to take the test.
            "To put it simply, the high-stakes testing model has failed," Katz said. "Parents have the right to spare their children from these tests, and we are working to ensure that everyone involved doesn't get punished for asserting this right. We have the unique opportunity here for a people's repeal of the Common Core high-stakes testing. If we come together as a community and as a state, we can show Albany that we will always stand up for our children, our teachers and our schools."
            The Common Core Refusal Act has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Education and is currently awaiting action. For information on how to opt out of this year's Common Core tests, visit Additional information on the website includes the Assembly Minority APPLE Plan, which would put a full stop on Common Core implementation (, and a petition that concerned New Yorkers can sign in support of a repeal of the controversial teacher evaluation reforms added to the budget this year (

On Tuesday, April 14, 2015 2:36 PM, New York State Reform Party wrote:

The New York State Reform Party  
Press Release
Contact:  Bill O'Reilly, 212-396-9117

New York--Apr. 14...The New York State Reform Party, which was specifically created to replace Common Core in New York schools with better education standards and to institute term limits for all state officials, today called on Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature to begin mapping out a new plan for education improvements in New York.
"More than 100,000 parents from across the state are speaking out loudly and clearly this week by withholding their children from the experimental Common Core exams," said Reform Party Chairwoman Marie Smith. "This is a crystal clear statement to Mr. Cuomo and state legislators: You better start listening to the New York State parents, teachers, and students on the front lines dealing with the negative consequences of Common Core. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss laid out a blueprint for education reform in their campaign for Governor and Lt. Gov. last year, and their ideas should be the foundation from which to begin."
The New York State Reform Party was created following the 2014 gubernatorial election where it received more than 50,000 votes as the "Stop Common Core Party." The name was subsequently modified to expand its base of support. Common Core is an experimental program that was not tested before being implemented in New York classrooms. The Reform Party also believes it's unfair to base half of a teacher's annual evaluation on a single test, especially an experimental one.
The 2014 Astorino/Moss Education Reform Plan is below:
  1. STOP Common Core and replace with better standards and curriculum developed by New York educators, with feedback and input from local teachers and parents, and greater control at the district level (one model could be the "Lost Standards" that were being developed by former Regent Saul Cohen's team from 2008-2010 before being scrapped in favor of Common Core and the federal money that came with it). Main reasons for Common Core opposition:

  1. The standards are experimental, conceived in secrecy with no public hearings on the draft standards, and never tested.  
  2. Few, if any, K-12 teachers were involved in writing the standards.
  3. It is considered by many to be developmentally inappropriate in the early grades and not based on well-researched child development knowledge.
  4. It is education guided at the federal level - not the state and local level.
  5. It actually lowers standards according to many experts, including Dr. James Milgrim and Dr. Sandra Stosky - the two content experts on the Common Core validation committee who refused to affirm the standards.

  1. Develop more accurate measures of student, teacher, and school performance, reducing reliance on high stakes assessments, with a more balanced, portfolio approach.  

  1. Reform Board of Regents by creating an elected 13-member board (regional districts electing their own representative to the Board).
    1. This reform would shift the power away from the Assembly Speaker and to the people.

  1. Governor appoints Education Commissioner who must be confirmed by the Board of Regents with a majority vote.
    1. This reform would shift more responsibility for education to the Governor who is accountable to voters every four years.  His or her pick for Education Commissioner would work with the Board of Regents to determine education policy in NYS.

  1. Increase availability of vocational training in schools for careers in carpentry, coding, mechanics, electrical, etc.
    1. In recent years, schools have moved away from vocational training.  This is a mistake as many students not interested in college would benefit greatly from learning a skilled trade and be ready to enter the workforce upon graduation from high school.

  1. Increase coordination between community colleges, local school districts, and local industry so students can be properly counseled on the present and future availability of jobs -- the types of jobs, their pay and benefits, and the skills needed to do these jobs.

  1. Increase Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in schools.
    1. There is a growing gap in the number of hi-tech jobs and careers and the number of Americans qualified and trained to do these jobs.  To solve this, there needs to be a greater emphasis on STEM in schools.

  1. Create three new diplomas
    1. Career and Technical Education (CTE)
    2. STEM Regents
    3. Academic Regents
      1. Offering more choices to students and parents empowers a young adult's motivation to utilize his or her talents and interests.

  1. Ensure full funding for special education services

  1. Increase life skills training in schools
    1. Nutritional literacy instruction in Middle School
    2. Financial literacy instruction in High School

  1. Provide more school choices for parents of children in schools determined to be failing.  
    1. Once accurate measures of school performance are determined, allow parents in schools that have failed for consecutive years other school options for their child.  Options can be a different public school or charter school.  Last option could be voucher to be used for private or religious school.

  1. Pass the Education Investment Tax Credit.
    1. Governor Cuomo failed to deliver on his promise.  The EITC would allow for more scholarships to private schools and more funding for public and private schools.

  1. Create a new marketing campaign to encourage greater parental involvement in their child's education.
    1. Teachers will say, the best students are the ones with the most involved parent(s).  Greater parental or guardian involvement needs to be encouraged.

  1. Combat the problem of chronic absenteeism in New York schools.
    1. The first step to a good education is being in the classroom.  Chronic absenteeism is a serious problem that leads to all other sorts of issues for the child and the community.

  1. Begin foreign language instruction in elementary school.
    1. While mastering the English language will remain the priority, study of a foreign language is a critical step in building a well-rounded and global student.  Starting in the early grades takes advantage of a child's greater capacity to more easily learn a language as the brain is developing.


                            Contact:  Dana Levenberg (914) 391-2303
Levenberg Announces Run for Ossining Town Board
(April 12, 2015) Dana Levenberg, l8-year resident of Ossining, announced her candidacy for one of the two open seats in this year’s Ossining Town Board election in November. Levenberg currently serves as trustee on the Ossining School Board and has been an active member of the Ossining and Briarcliff communities.
Levenberg first moved to the Village of Ossining in 1997. After an extensive search of Westchester communities, she and her husband Stephen purposefully chose to relocate from Manhattan to their home in the heart of downtown. Ossining offered everything  they were looking for: a safe community to raise their family, including her two sons, one an Ossining High School graduate now at Brown University, and the other a junior at OHS in the science research program; a community that embraced all different types of people; a community that would come together to help neighbors and friends; and, a community with wonderful natural resources with easy access to hiking, biking, and unique retail establishments along the banks of the beautiful Hudson River.
After moving to Ossining, Levenberg quickly became involved in Ossining and Briarcliff. She joined the Briarcliff Nursery School Board and held many leadership positions in the Ossining School’s PTAs because she knew how critical parent involvement in her children's education was to their success.
Levenberg also co-founded the Ossining Micro Fund with Westchester County Majority Leader Catherine Borgia. Together, they started a program to help local residents by offering interest-free loans to qualified individuals and families with one time obstacles to overcome. In the past 10 years, the Micro Fund has helped over 70 local community members with over $70,000 in small loans.  Levenberg still actively serves as president.
In 2008, Levenberg began her work in NYS Assemblywoman Sandy Galef’s District office in Ossining. She has spent the past seven years working hard for the people of Ossining and Briarcliff, as well as the surrounding communities represented by Galef. Through these experiences, she has gained insight into how to advocate for the residents of Ossining and Briarcliff by working closely with officials from the Town and Villages and state agencies to help resolve issues both large and small.
Levenberg believes it is critical to protect the environment and the town's physical and cultural assets and infrastructure, work to keep taxes in check and within the tax cap, work closely with schools so all students may reach their potential, and help promote job growth  and attract appealing businesses to the town. She also understands the necessity of working closely with those with divergent opinions, and hopes to encourage more participation in government so all feel well represented. Levenberg has worked with former opponents on the Ossining School Board, sharing her ideas and listening closely to theirs. She would bring the same approach to the Ossining Town Board because every opinion is valuable in contributing viable solutions to challenges.
 “I am humbled by the support I have received from friends and communities members," said Levenberg following her Campaign kick-off fundraiser on April 10th. "I look forward to meeting with residents of the Town as well as the villages to hear their concerns and share my ideas to make good things happen in the Town of Ossining and be a positive force for a positive future."


On Tuesday, April 14, 2015 4:41 PM, Senator Terrence Murphy wrote:

CONTACT: Matthew Slater, 518-455-3111
YORKTOWN, NY - Earlier today State Senator Terrence P. Murphy joined Governor Cuomo in announcing the repeal of 57 so-called "nuisance fees" as part of the 2015-16 State Budget. By eliminating these fees, the State has taken an important step toward cutting the red tape which keeps New York ranked as the least business friendly state in the nation, they said.
"As a small business owner I have been nickeled and dimed by the State time and again," Senator Murphy said. "If we are serious about growing successful businesses New York State cannot reasonably expect new enterprises to be able to afford unnecessary fees. These repeals are an important first step for businesses here in the Hudson Valley and across the State to be able to survive and thrive."
As Chairman of the state's Administrative Regulatory Review Commission, or ARRC, Murphy is charged with reviewing the fees and regulations imposed by state agencies. The repeals announced today will save nearly $3 million annually for New Yorkers, according to the ARRC.
John Ravitz, executive vice president and COO of the Business Council of Westchester said, "One of the top priorities of the Business Council of Westchester is to cut regulations and fees that deter businesses from coming and growing in Westchester.  We commend Senator Murphy for his efforts to reduce these burdens and applaud his efforts of creating a business friendly environment that will nurture jobs and economic success." 

Jennifer Maher, chairwoman of Putnam County Chamber of Commerce said, "It is so refreshing to have an advocate for the business community in the halls of Albany like Senator Murphy. New York State must continue to find ways to reduce the oversized bureaucracy that crushes the chances for a business to succeed. The repeal of these fees is an important first step in that mission."
            The list of fees which were cut in this year's budget included an annual savings of $2.6 million from fees associated with the Department of State, $243,000 from the Department of Labor, $95,000 from the Workers' Compensation Board, $40,000 from the Department of Agriculture and Markets, $0,000 from the Department of Transportation and $1,000 from the Department of Environmental Conservation.
"I will continue to fight for my fellow business owners and revitalize the American Dream here in New York," Murphy said. "Everyone should have the opportunity to succeed and fulfill their dreams without the overreaching hand of big government getting in their way. Today is an important step toward that ultimate goal."

On Wednesday, April 15, 2015 10:11 AM, Chris Covucci wrote:

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor 
Chris Covucci at 845-309-2654

FOR TOMORROW, April 16th at 11:00 AM
New York State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I - East Fishkill), Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik, Poughkeepsie City Council Minority Leader Lee David Klein and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association will be holding a press conference to stand up against the City Council's anti-Second Amendment proposal that would hamper the ability of citizens to defend themselves in their homes.

The City Council's proposal would create unnecessary gun storage requirements that would severely limit a homeowner's ability to defend against a criminal intruder. The bill is unconstitutional according to Supreme Court precedent set in Heller v. District of Columbia, by essentially rendering the homeowner's gun useless for self-defense. It is typical feel-good gun control legislation that does nothing to take illegal guns off the streets.

WHO: Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik, Poughkeepsie City Council Minority Leader Lee David Klein, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Vice President of Legislative Affairs Jacob Reiper
WHAT: Press Conference Opposing Poughkeepsie City Council's Anti-Second Amendment Bill
WHEN: TOMORROW, April 16th at 11:00AM
WHERE: Poughkeepsie City Hall Grounds, 62 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie, NY
CONTACT: Chris Covucci at 845-309-2654

Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Fishkill with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..

April 15, 2015 11:35 AM, "Rob Astorino, Westchester County Executive" wrote:

Contact:  Bill O'Reilly, 212-396-9117 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE







TIME: 3:00 PM

PLACE: 623 FIFTH AVENUE  (entrance on 50th)

Bazzo 04/15/15

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