Thursday, January 5, 2017

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State legislature returns to Albany with area lawmakers setting their agendas

ALBANY – The state legislature returned to Albany on Wednesday for the start of the 2017 year with the Assembly maintaining its strong Democratic majority and the Senate holding its Republican lead.

Republican Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R, East Fishkill) maintained his opposition to Democratic initiatives.

“Until we get back to a free enterprise mindset, we are going to continue to suffer,” Lalor said. “We can throw all the money you want at colleges and all the money you want at primary education, it is a not going to change the fact that more than 100,000 New Yorkers every year are escaping New York State, largely for better economic conditions.”

Republican Assemblyman Karl Brabenec (R, Deerpark) believes property tax reform is needed among other priorities.

“I think Uber and Lyft, the ridesharing services, we need to make that a reality this year; ethics reform we need to push hard, Brittany’s Law, also we still need to focus on education, what are we going to do about Common Core, the curriculum,” Brabanec said.

Democrat Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D, Forestburgh), a registered nurse, continues her push to legislate so-called “safe staffing” of healthcare services.

“California has done it, Australia has done it and there is a lot of fear about the cost of safe staffing, but in reality, they have seen an increase in profits around three percent in those areas,” she said.

Gunther, who chairs the Assembly Mental Hygiene Committee, also wants to see better wages for direct support staffers of those with mental disabilities.

 


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