Dear Friends,


As a New Yorker and someone who has lived and spent time in Buffalo, I am devastated by Saturday’s hate-filled, racist shooting in the heart of the Black community that cut 10 innocent lives short. My heart is with their families and friends, and all those who have been impacted by this tragic event.


As EMS week comes to a close, I would like to take a moment to recognize the dedicated EMS personnel who provide critical care in emergency situations. Unfortunately, many of these workers lack access to health insurance and retirement benefits, which has led to a shortage of EMS personnel. I remain committed to fighting for these benefits and for EMS to be recognized as an “essential service.” 


Below you will find information on upcoming events - including a tenants’ rights information session being held tonight at the Don Bosco Community Center, and a healthy gardening program I will be hosting tomorrow morning at the Eastchester Public Library. We will be giving away free seeds and strawberry seedlings at the gardening event – I hope to see you there! 


As always, if there is anything my office can assist you with, email me at smayer@nysenate.gov or call (914) 934-5250. We are distributing free COVID-19 test kits Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. If you or someone you know is in need of a test, please do not hesitate to reach out or stop by to pick one up.


Warm regards,

Shelley B. Mayer
State Senator
37th District


Upcoming Events:

A Discussion With Experts

About Stabilizing Shorelines

Education Committee Meeting

On May 10, the Senate Education Committee, which I Chair, held its final meeting of the 2022 legislative session. We voted on and moved eight bills out of the committee including my bill, S.547, to reimburse reorganization studies for school districts considering consolidation. Two of the bills, S.392 and S.8924, moved to the Senate Finance Committee. I continue to advocate for schools throughout the state, and was fortunate to visit the Lexington School for the Deaf in Queens this week, and read to 3 and 4 year olds – my favorites!

Legislative Update: Emergency Evacuation

In 2019, a Yonkers apartment fire displaced 86 people. Due in large part to the incredible work of the first responders, no one was injured, but during the blaze first responders and neighbors were unable to determine who was in the building or if everyone had been safely evacuated. In response, I introduced S.240B to ensure emergency personnel have access to residents’ names and contact information so they can confirm residents have safely exited their buildings in an emergency situation such as a fire or natural disaster.

 

I am pleased to share this bill passed the Senate on May 9 as part of a fire safety legislative package. In an emergency, every second counts. First responders can most effectively do their jobs and prevent the loss of life when they can determine who lives in the building and confirm they have safely evacuated.

Legislative Update: Unemployment Assistance

Two years after the start of the pandemic, I continue to receive calls from constituents who have not heard back from the Department of Labor. This is an extremely real and frustrating issue for the people we serve. We need to change the system to get our neighbors the information and benefits they are entitled to in a timely manner.


I am pleased to share legislation (S.6828A/A.9268A) Assemblymember Chris Burdick and I sponsor to require the Department of Labor to notify unemployment assistant claimants of their approval status within 30 days has passed both the Senate and the Assembly. If signed by the Governor, it will ensure that claimants, many of whom are facing severe financial strain, receive a response concerning their eligibility for benefits in a timely manner. If a determination cannot be made within 30 days, the Department of Labor will be required to inform the claimant and provide a new estimated time frame for determination.

Legislative Update: Board of Elections Reforms

On May 17, the Senate advanced a package of legislation to target shortfalls in the current Board of Elections system. I was proud to sponsor two of the bills which aim to decrease conflicts of interest among Board of Elections' employees running for office and to ensure Boards across the state have the capacity to respond to voters and do the work with which they are charged. The integrity of our elections is critical to our democratic process.


The full legislative package is listed below: 

  • Prohibiting Conflicts of Interest: This bill, S.4542A, sponsored by Senator Shelley Mayer, prohibits conflicts of interest among board of elections employees by preventing a board of elections employee from remaining on the board of elections payroll while also running for office with an election overseen by the board at which they are employed.

 

  • Make Commissioners Full-Time Board Employees: This bill, S.8311, sponsored by Senator Shelley Mayer, requires election commissioners to be full-time employees of each county’s Boards of Elections.

 

  • Mandatory Training Curriculum: This bill, S.263, sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, requires the State Board of Elections to develop a mandatory training curriculum for election commissioners and key staff of boards of elections.

 

  • Supporting Voters While In Line: This bill, S.7382A, sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, allows for the distribution of snacks and refreshments to those waiting in line to vote.

 

  • Prohibit Commissioners from Holding Office: This bill, S.7442, sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, prohibits election commissioners and deputy commissioners from holding a publicly elected office. 

 

  • Pay Raise for Election Inspectors: This bill, S.823A, sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger, increases compensation of election inspectors to $300 and coordinators to $350 in New York City. It also sets minimum pay rate of $300 per day and increases pay for training sessions from $25 to $50.

 

  • Reforming the NYC Board of Elections: This bill, S.6226E, sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger, reforms the New York City Board of Elections by reducing its size and delegating more authority to an Executive Director who will be chosen following a nationwide search. The bill also requires the NYCBOE to develop personnel policies with the City’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services in order to ensure that staff hired and promoted by the NYCBOE are qualified. 

 

  • Model Poll Worker Training Program: This bill, S.5800B, sponsored by Senator Leroy Comrie, requires the State Board of Elections to establish a poll worker training curriculum and a "train-the-trainer" program that emphasizes professionalism, confidence, and comfort in serving a diverse electorate.

 

  • Full Time Employee Minimums: This bill, S.6684A, Senator John Mannion, requires every board of elections to employ a minimum of four full time employees and two additional employees for every twenty thousand active registered voters above forty thousand active registered voters.

 

  • Appointment Requirements: This bill, S.8289, sponsored by Senator Jim Gaughran, requires the legislative body responsible for appointing election commissioners to hold a public hearing before commissioners can be appointed. 

 

  • Requirements for Commissioner Qualifications: This bill, S.8292, sponsored by Senator John Mannion, requires a Board of Elections commissioner to meet certain qualifications set by the State Board of Elections before his or her appointment.

 

  • Removal of Commissioners: This bill, S.8337, sponsored by Senator Rachel May, allows the State Board of Elections to the remove a local election commissioner an affirmative majority vote of duly confirmed commissioners of the state board of elections for incompetence, misconduct, or other good cause, provided that prior to removal, such election commissioner is given a written copy of the charges against them and have an opportunity to be heard in their defense.

 

  • Splitting Shifts Among Inspectors and Clerks: This bill, S.424A, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, allows poll clerks to work split shifts with adjusted compensation to reflect the reduced hours worked.

Climate Action Council Hearing in Peekskill

On May 12, the Climate Action Council, established under NY’s historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), held one of 11 statewide public hearings on its Draft Scoping Plan to address the climate crisis at the Paramount Hudson Valley Theatre in Peekskill. This in-person hearing in Westchester was not originally included in the public hearing schedule. However, we knew that the voices of our constituents in Westchester and Hudson Valley should be heard during this critical discussion, so we petitioned the DEC and NYSERDA to get this hearing added to the calendar. And it was. 


I was proud to co-sponsor and vote for the CLCPA, also called the Climate Act, which passed in 2019. In Westchester, there are communities at great immediate risk from climate change for a variety of reasons, including the threat of storms and flooding. It is essential we rethink our approach to suburban districts, like ours, to address these risks. 


I believe that addressing climate change presents real opportunities for meaningful economic growth in all our communities, especially if we increase the percentage of union jobs in this sector that will lead to real careers. We ought to be proactive and progressive in this effort, and not just defensive while we transition to the new economy. Good paying new jobs will be created, and we should be at the front of that effort.


Consolidating the various mandates of the CLCPA into a single vision and including all stakeholders – and seizing the opportunity to create meaningful economic growth – is work the Climate Action Council should pursue. I encourage them to do so.


To submit comments, visit climate.ny.gov. The public comment period closes on June 10. 


In conjunction with the Climate Action Council, the Climate Justice Working Group is seeking input on the "Disadvantaged Communities Criteria" and will hold six public hearings. Comments will be accepted through July 7.

School Funding Summit

On May 6, I was honored to attend the Rural Schools Association, the

Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association and Long Island Education Coalition’s School Funding Summit in Long Island. I discussed the legislative achievements that we fought so hard to achieve, and the challenges faced by our schools in the days and months ahead.

Blood Drive at New Rochelle Public Library

Thank you to everyone who donated to the blood drive I co-sponsored with the American Red Cross at the New Rochelle Public Library.  Together, our efforts led to 84 lives that were potentially impacted – a terrific accomplishment. If you are able to donate, please consider making an appointment at an upcoming blood drive near you.


222 Grace Church Street, Suite 300
Port Chester, NY 10573

Phone: (914) 934-5250
Email: SMayer@nysenate.gov

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