Legislative Update by Bronx State Senators

Bronx State Senators Jamaal Bailey, Alessandra Biaggi, Gustavo Rivera, and Luis Sepulveda, Thursday night held a Legislative Update of what went on in Albany this year. Nine-hundred and thirty-five bills were passed in the 2019 legislative session. State Senator Gustavo Rivera has been in Albany longer than the other three senators combined. Senator Rivera is the Chair of the Health Committee, Senator Bailey is the Chair of the Codes Committee, Senator Biaggi the chair of the Ethics Committee, and Senator Sepulveda is the Chair of the Crime Victims and Criminal Justice Committee.

The event started late with very few people in the audience other than staff members of the elected officials. Senator Rivera spoke first, and gave an overview of some major items such as the new rent laws, the Reproductive Health Act, and the New York Health Act to name only a few.

Senator Biaggi spoke of holding hearings on sexual harassment, which she said was the first time in twenty-seven years in the state senate. She said that of the eighty bills she introduced seventeen passed the state senate, and four were signed by Governor Cuomo. To become a law a bill has to pass both the state senate and state assembly in exactly the same wording, and then be signed by the governor. There are many bills that pass only one house or are vetoed by the governor which never become a law.

Mark Jerome of Monroe College speaks to the audience about the pleasure of hosting this legislative update.

Senator Sepulveda opened his speech with an old vaudeville line “Take my wife, Please”. He then went on to discuss how people with mental health issues wind up in jails to be wharehoused. He spoke about the Green Light Act Bill and the Jose Peralta Dream Act.

The empty room where the legislative update was held in Monroe College.

Senator Bailey wants fairness in trials or a ‘Triangle of Justice’. That means a change in the Discovery Laws, No Cash Bail, and Speedy Trials. He added about the new early voting coming to New York State, October 26th this year.

Anti-Vaccine advocate Stephanie Minaras interrupts the event.

Moderator Gary Axelbank combined like questions that were written on cards. With all the questions and very low community involvement people on the way out said that the senators did not address what the community wanted to hear. What seemed to be the highlight of this legislative update was an interruption by Stephanie Minaras an Anti-Vaccine advocate that lasted several minutes before senate staffers quieted her down without incident.

State Senator Jamaal Bailey with staffers that are called ‘The Bailey Bunch’.
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