Friday, November 15, 2019
Dear Friends:

I hope you and your family had an opportunity to commemorate Veterans Day over Veterans Day weekend. I was glad to attend memorable Veterans Day ceremonies in Harrison, Port Chester, Rye, Mamaroneck, Larchmont, and Yonkers. At these events, I heard many moving stories of service and patriotism, and I salute all of those who served our nation in the Armed Forces, past and present.

On Veterans Day, Monday, November 11th, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a number of bills sponsored by my colleagues and me to enhance services for Veterans and strengthen protections. One of these bills, S.5184 , empowers members of the military to vote in local school district elections. Read more about S.5184 in the section below.

Last week, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced his proposal to enact a toll on a 1.4 mile stretch of Interstate 684 that passes through Connecticut. This proposal is an inappropriate Connecticut tax on New Yorkers, and my colleagues and I have been vocal about our opposition to the proposal. According to the latest reports , it seems that the Connecticut State Legislature will look for alternative methods to fund their infrastructure goals that will not include a toll on I-684. Read more about this issue in the section below.

Over the past few weeks, I hosted several events to celebrate funding for important causes in the district and statewide. On Wednesday, October 30th, I was glad to gather with Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, notable ALS advocate Pat Quinn, and others to celebrate $200,000 in funding for the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter. On Thursday, October 31st, Untermyer Gardens celebrated the completion of the Rock & Stream Garden with $125,000 in funding I secured while serving in the Assembly.

This coming week, I am pleased to co-host three events with the Office of NYS Attorney General Letitia James in Bedford, Mamaroneck, and White Plains. Smart Seniors: How to Avoid the Most Common Scams will inform seniors on how to identify potential scams before they happen. All three events are free and open to the public. You do not need to be a senior to attend! Find out more about each of these events in the section below.

As always, please don't hesitate to reach out if there is an issue my office can help with or a community event you would like me to know about. You can call 914-934-5250 or smayer@nysenate.gov.

Kind regards,
Shelley B. Mayer
Empowering Armed Service Members to Vote in Local Elections
On Veterans Day, Monday, November 11th, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill I sponsored, S.5184/A.7293 , to ensure that military voters have the opportunity to vote in school district and library board elections.

This new law ensures that members of the military and their family members receive absentee ballots for school board, budget and library board elections. Prior to this new law, New Yorkers serving in the military could only register to receive absentee ballots for federal, state, and local elections, but not school elections.

Members of our military and their families are making tremendous sacrifices to protect our rights and freedoms. This new law empowers them with the ability to exercise one of the most fundamental rights--the right to vote.

S.5184 was signed along with a number of other bills to enhance services and strengthen protections for veterans in New York State that were passed during the historic 2019 Legislation Session. Read more about the new laws by clicking here .
Galvanizing Opposition to the New Toll Proposal for Interstate 684
Photo courtesy of Google Maps.
Earlier this month, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced a proposal to install a toll on the 1.4 mile stretch of Interstate 684 (I-684) that runs through Greenwich, Connecticut. The proposal is part of Governor Lamont's plan to generate revenue to invest in Connecticut's roads, bridges, and public transit systems.

Though I share his commitment to improving road and rail infrastructure, tolling a 1.4 mile stretch of road that is predominantly used by New Yorkers and does not have on or off exits in Connecticut, is wholly inappropriate. In addition, tolls like the one proposed for I-684 are a regressive tax on those who can least afford it. This new toll would also increase traffic on secondary roads by pushing drivers off of I-684 into surrounding communities and local roads in an effort to avoid the toll.

In response to Governor Lamont's proposal, legislative colleagues and I who represent the communities surrounding I-684 were vocal about our opposition to the toll and spoke with several media outlets about the detrimental effects the toll would have on our communities. On Thursday, October 14th, Connecticut press reported that members of the Connecticut State Legislature will look for alternative ways to fund the state's infrastructure goals that will not include a toll on I-684. I thank them for being mindful of our relationship, being good neighbors, and listening to our concerns.

Though the toll proposal does not seem to have the support of the Connecticut State Legislature to go into effect, the fight to stop the toll on I-684 is not fully over just yet. If you would like to send a note to Governor Lamont with your concerns about his proposed toll on I-684, you can do so by clicking here .
$200,000 in Funding for Care Services for People Living with ALS and their Families
From left:  Jeffrey Menkes, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital President & CEO; Pat Quinn, Sr.; Pat Quinn, Co-Founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; Liz Krisanda, Executive Director of ALS Association Upstate New York Chapter; State Senator Shelley B. Mayer; Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins; Kristen Cocoman, President & CEO of the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter; Edna Borge, ALS advocate, and son Marlon Borge.
On Wednesday, October 30th, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and I gathered with local ALS advocate Pat Quinn and others at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital to announce $200,000 in funding for the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter.
 
The funding will be used to support care services for people living with ALS and their families through the ALS Association’s Care Service Program. The program provides high quality and personalized direct care for ALS patients and support for their families, enabling them to have a better quality of life during the progression of the disease. More commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects motor neurons in the brain and the spinal cord. As these cells die, the person loses muscle control and voluntary movement, including ability to speak. During advanced stages of the disease, many patients are paralyzed, yet their minds remain alert.

In 2018, I sponsored a bill, S.8582 , now New York State law, which allows people to donate to the ALS Association directly through a check-off box on the corporate and personal income tax form.

Thank you to Burke Rehabilitation Hospital for hosting the event and for all it does to support people living with ALS including hosting the White Plains ALS Support Group at their facilities.
Untermyer Gardens Celebrates Completion of the Rock & Stream Garden
From left: Yonkers City Council Majority Leader Michael Sabatino; Untermyer Gardens Conservancy Board Member Edward J. Sabol; Untermyer Gardens Conservancy Board Member Elizabeth Fitzgerald; City of Yonkers Deputy Parks Commissioner Steve Sansone; City of Yonkers Parks Commissioner Anthony Landi; Founder and President of the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy Stephen F. Byrns; State Senator Shelley B. Mayer; Yonkers City Councilman Anthony Merante; and Assemblyman Nader Sayegh.
On Thursday, October 31st, the Founder and President of the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy, Stephen F. Byrns, and I gathered with other Yonkers officials to celebrate the completion of the Rock & Stream Garden at Untermyer Gardens.

In 2017, while I served in the Assembly, I secured $125,000 for Untermyer Gardens' restoration efforts. The Rock & Stream Garden is an important feature which connects the two most famous parts of Untermyer Gardens, the Walled Garden and the Temple of Love. At their peak in the 1930s, the Untermyer Gardens were among the most celebrated in the world for their horticulture and magnificent landscape. The Untermyer Gardens Conservancy has made great strides in restoring the gardens since it began work in 2011. In 2018, Untermyer Gardens welcomed over 75,000 guests. 

Thank you to Stephyn Byrns and the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy for all of your work to preserve the history and architecture of this unique space. Thank you also to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie--who has always been a good friend to the City of Yonkers--for supporting the $125,000 grant for Untermyer Gardens.
I am glad to co-host three upcoming events with the Office of NYS Attorney General Letitia James to inform seniors on best practices to avoid the most common scams.

Smart Seniors: How to Avoid the Most Common Scams

This program will prepare seniors to identify potential scams before they happen by empowering them with information so they can protect themselves from being victimized by scams and abuse. For more information on keeping yourself safe from scams, visit: https://ag.ny.gov/smart-seniors

BEDFORD HILLS COMMUNITY HOUSE
Monday, November 18, 2019 -- 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
74 Main Street, Bedford Hills, NY 10507

MAMARONECK SENIOR CENTER
Tuesday, November 19, 2019 -- 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
1288 W Boston Post Road, Larchmont, NY 10538

WHITE PLAINS SENIOR CENTER
Friday, November 22, 2019 -- 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
65 Mitchell Place, White Plains, NY 10601

All three events are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact my office at 914-934-5250 or email smayer@nysenate.gov.

STATE SENATOR SHELLEY B. MAYER | Stay Connected