Kevin Parker Tag All blog entries tagged as Kevin Parker http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/latest Wed, 26 Mar 2014 10:40:06 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb NY Senator Goes Bill Happy During Slow Session http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/06/06/ny-senator-goes-bill-happy-during-slow-session http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/06/06/ny-senator-goes-bill-happy-during-slow-session Democratic State Sen. Kevin Parker, of Brooklyn, isn't interested in hearing about a dysfunctional Legislature mired in corruption and inaction. He's been busy introducing bills — lots and lots of bills.

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Parker introduced 43 bills on May 16 — the Senate's last day of unlimited bill introduction.

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The 43 bills run the gamut of legislative matters:

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  • S.5442 would require the state parks commissioner to create a New York Abolition and Civil Rights History Trail.
  • S.5523 would create a pilot program for social impact bonds designed to lower recidivism in juvenile justice programs
  • S.5386 would require creditors to inform debtors that written communications are available in large print.
  • S.5446 would allow same day voter registration and voting.

Last month, Bill Mahoney of The New York Public Interest Research Group estimated that the Legislature is on track to duplicate their performance from last year when they passed the fewest bills two-house bills since 1914.

And Mahoney says that, as of now, the Legislature is still on pace to perform just as badly.

"With eight session days to go in 2012 (the year with the fewest 2-house bills since at least 1914), they had passed 139 bills. With eight session days to go in 2013, they have passed 123," said Mahoney.

Mahoney notes that there is still time for bills to gain passage in a second house as 432 bills gained passage in a second house in eight days last year. "They are, however," said Mahoney, "currently running behind last year's pace."

It seems that a number of major legislative proposals including ethics reform, public financing of campaigns, reform of marijuana possession laws, The DREAM Act, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's women's equality legislation are likely to be jammed up in the Senate for one reason or another.

Members of the Independent Democratic Conference are being lobbied hard by a number of interests since they have publicly supported a number of these issues but have been unable to bring them to a vote. IDC leader Sen. Jeff Klein has to agree with Republican leader Sen. Dean Skelos on what comes to the floor for a vote and Skelos vehemently opposes public financing of campaigns and the abortion plank of the women's agenda.

It is likely that Republicans and the IDC will be eager to pass as many other bills as possible to deflect from criticism on failing to act on other major pieces of legislation.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Thu, 06 Jun 2013 15:09:45 +0000
SUNY Downstate Focus of Senate Budget Debate http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/03/27/suny-downstate-focus-of-senate-budget-debate- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/03/27/suny-downstate-focus-of-senate-budget-debate- Keeping the SUNY Downstate Hospital in Brooklyn solvent was a major focus of the budget debate in the Senate last night. The budget bill as passed calls for the financially troubled institution to come up with a "sustainability plan" by June. Sen. Kevin Parker and a number of his colleagues from Brooklyn don't feel that is enough.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said earlier this year that Downstate is losing $8 million a year and needs over $150 million to survive another year.

Parker introduced a hostile amendment to the budget health bill that would have given Downstate $150 million and required the legislature have oversight over any restructuring plan. The amendment was ruled out of order and Democrats did not have enough votes to overrule.

The current budget language requires SUNY to submit a sustainability plan by June and implement it in two weeks. It also loosens up the bidding process on contracts so the school can save money.

Sen. Gustavo Rivera questioned Sen. John DeFrancisco at length about the budget language on SUNY Downstate. Sen. Daniel Squadron also spoke passionately about preserving the hospital.

Parker, Rivera and Squadron voted against the budget bill. But perhaps the most impactful statement against the bill came from a legislator who voted for it.

Sen. Marty Golden who is a member of the Republican majority read a statement decrying the budget, saying, "I do not consider these budget negotiations over." Golden noted there was more work to be done on SUNY Downstate and talked about needing to find a solution to help the institution.

Golden's colleagues Sens. John DeFrancisco and Sen. Kenneth LaValle both mentioned that Golden was on top of them regarding the hospital LaValle went so far as to compare Golden to a tick on the issue which drew some laughter from the generally tired and cranky crowd. Golden said that the budget, could "break up families" and "destroy homes," and then he voted for it.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Wed, 27 Mar 2013 04:18:38 +0000