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1/7/2009 12:00:00 AM

Senate Democrats Committee Appointments, Bio of New MH Committee Chair Shirley Huntley, NYT & DN Articles

Subject: Senate Democrats Committee Appointments, Bio of New MH Committee Chair Shirley Huntley, NYT & DN Articles

Senate Democrats announce Smith elected majority leader. List of committee chairs and Senate officers released.
NYSNYS News

Text of January 6 Smith press release.

Contact: Austin Shafran [email protected] 917-417-3711(m); 212-298-5585(w)

Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith Named Senate Majority Leader Selection Marks Historic Moment for New York

(New York, NY)- The Senate Democratic Conference emerged from their meeting tonight with the announcement that Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith will serve as Senate Majority Leader, securing a Democratic Majority for the first time in 43 years.


Under the leadership of Senator Smith, the Senate will move New York in a new direction, taking steps to create a more open, accountable and inclusive legislative process.


"We are one Senate, united behind the common purpose of getting New York back on track and creating a government that operates in a more efficient and transparent manner to meet the needs of all New Yorkers," said Senator Smith.

At the meeting, the Democratic Conference solidified its commitment to reform the Senate into a more functional legislative body that allows good ideas to be openly debated by all members.

"Through the appointment of committee chairs with real standing and duties and a comprehensive review of the Senate's rules of procedure, we will restore the Senate's ability to achieve the peoples' agenda," said Senator Smith.

"In the face of the worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression, the new Democratic Majority will work with the Governor and all of our legislative colleagues to revive the economy through job creation and economic development," said Senator Smith.

***

Committee Assignments:

- Senator Eric Adams: Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs. $12,500.

- Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr.: Elections. $12,500.

- Senator Darrel Aubertine: Agriculture, $12,500.

- Senator Neil Breslin: Insurance. $12,500.

- Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr.: Aging. $12,500.

- Senator Martin Malave Dilan: Transportation. $15,000.

- Senator Tom Duane: Health. $15,000.

- Senator Pedro Espada, Jr: Vice President of the Senate for Urban Policy; Vice Chair, Rules Committee; chair, Housing Construction and Community Development. $12,500. That's for the Housing chairmanship; each senator can only get one lu-lu, regardless of how many titles he or she holds).

- Senator Brian X. Foley: Ethics. $12,500.

- Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson: Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections. $12,500.

- Senator Shirley Huntley: Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. $12,500.

- Senator Craig Johnson: Investigations and Government Operations. $15,000.

- Senator Jeff Klein: Deputy Majority Leader. $34,000.

- Senator Liz Krueger: Vice Chair Finance, Chair of Select Committee on Budget Reform. (These are new posts and so the lu-lu is yet to be determined).

Senator Carl Kruger: Finance. $34,000.

- Senator Hiram Monserrate: Consumer Protection. $12,500.

- Senator Velmanette Montgomery: Children and Families. $12,500.

- Senator George Onorato: Labor. $12,500.

- Senator Suzi Oppenheimer: Education. $18,000.

- Senator Kevin Parker: Energy and Telecommunications. $12,500.

- Senator Bill Perkins: Corporations, Authorities and Commissions. $15,000.

- Senator John Sampson: Judiciary. $18,000.

- Senator Diane Savino: Civil Service and Pensions. $12,500.

- Senator Eric Schneiderman: Codes. $18,000.

- Senator Jose Serrano, Jr.: Tourism, Recreation and Sports Development. $12,500.

- Senator Daniel Squadron: Cities. $15,000.

- Senator William Stachowski: Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business. $12,500.

- Senator Toby Ann Stavisky: Higher Education. $12,500.

- Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins: Local Government. $12,500.

- Senator Antoine Thompson: Environmental Conservation. $12,500.

- Senator David Valesky: TBD.


-30-

Last night, new Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith named an array of Democratic committee leaders, now that the Democrats are the majority, finalized by a deal with several dissidents. Following is the official biography of new Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee Chairwoman Shirley Huntley from Queens, along with her responses to a candidate survey offered by the disability rights centered Democratic 504 Club. As the former ranking minority member on the mental health committee, she succeeds outgoing Republican committee chairman Senator Thomas Morahan.

Biography

http://www.nyssenate10.com/Images/Web2008SenatorHuntley.jpg


Senator Shirley L. Huntley

          Shirley L. Huntley represents the 10th Senatorial District in Queens County. Having spent most of her life in the district she now represents, Mrs. Huntley knows very well the nature of its diverse communities.
          Shirley L. Huntley presently resides in Jamaica, NY with her husband Herbert Huntley, with whom she operates a business-Huntley Enterprises, a maintenance company. Mrs. Huntley is a very proud mother and grandmother. She has served as an effective parent leader and a community activist. Her commitment to the best education for her own children as well as for the welfare of all children resulted in her becoming involved in the public school system and in many other community projects and organizations. Mrs. Huntley was elected to Community School Board 28 in 1993 with an overwhelming number of votes. In 1996, she was re-elected for a second term and she was the Community School Board 28 President until the dissolution of the School Board in 2004. In June 2004, Mrs. Huntley was appointed to the Community Education Council for District 28 by the Queens Borough President, the Honorable Helen Marshall. She was elected President of the Community Education Council for District in July 2004.
          Senator Huntley has, over the years, gained recognition for outstanding services to the children and parents to District 28. Her persistent ability and determination has enabled her to make educational changes in her community. It is her strong conviction that public education is important to the future success of this city and its children. The collecting of information, being informed, developing civic awareness and the acquiring of a formal or technical education is necessary for socio-economic growth and development of our youth.
         Senator Huntley has membership and affiliations in a number of organizations and committees. She has also received numerous awards and honors commending her for dedicated service to the community.
          Senator Huntley was elected to office in 2007. Mrs. Huntley will focus her efforts in the areas of health care, education, and youth services.

--------------------

Democrat mascot donkey behind a wheelchair icon - The First Democratic Club in the Country Focusing on Disability Rights

photo of Shirley L. Huntley
2008 Candidate Questionnaire for State Senate and Assembly

Candidate Name: Shirley L. Huntley

Candidate for State Senate District: 10

Campaign Name: Shirley L. Huntley For New York State Senate

Campaign Address: 120-23 171st Street, Jamaica , NY 11434

Previous elected offices held: New York City Community School District 28

Previous appointed offices held: New York City Educational Advisory Committee

  1. ACTION SHOWS COMMITMENT! 
    1. While in public office/prior to this campaign, what have you accomplished in regard to advancing disability rights? This can include work towards accessible housing, transportation, employment, health care, education, and including people with disabilities in the political process?

I have met with organizations advocating people with disabilities to discuss the aforementioned categories mentioned so that the introduction of new bills will encompass laws to protect the rights of persons with disabilities. 

    1. Will you commit to only attend and/or sponsor events that are accessible to people with disabilities including providing written materials in alternate formats, providing assistive listening systems, and sign language interpreters as well as ensuring that locations are physically accessible?

As a New York State Senator, I will attend events that will promote a positive impact for all New York State citizens.

  1. GENERAL QUESTIONS: 
    1. What personal and professional experience have you had with people with disabilities in your personal life and in the workplace?
      • I had the honor of serving as primary provider and caregiver for my grandmother, mother and aunt over an extended period of time until their demise.
      • As ranking member on the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, I review data submitted by various state agencies that provide service to people with developmental and mental health issues.
      • In addition, I served as a member and chair on NYC Community District Education Council 28 and appointed by Queens Borough President, Helen Marshall to the Educational Advisory Committee to ensure quality education for all students. 
    2. Are you willing to hire and to provide reasonable accommodation (e.g. flex or part time) for staff members with disabilities?   Yes. 
    3. How will you work closely with the disability community to assure passage of vitally needed legislation through the State Legislature? What will be your strategy?

My goal is to work closely and diligently with organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for persons with disabilities by promoting legislature that will enabled them to participate in their daily routines and enhance their lives.

  1. CIVIL RIGHTS 
    1. What will you do at the State level to reverse the negative impact of recent decisions in Federal Courts which are undercutting the powers of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities in New York State?

I will review current recent decisions rendered by the Federal Courts that adversely impact the powers of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and introduce legislation at the State level that their civil rights are protected. 

    1. How would you change the laws of New York State to protect the rights of its citizens with disabilities?

I will introduce bills to ensure that measures are in place to monitor, implement and enforce the right citizens with disabilities.

  1. MEDICAID 

While the State is focused on reducing the costs of Medicaid and other programs, persons with disabilities need to continue to have access to the services and supports they need and choose.

    1. Would you oppose proposals which would negatively affect eligibility, benefits, coverage, and/or access to services for Medicaid beneficiaries and eliminate the systemic bias that leads to unwanted placement in nursing homes and other institutions?

I will oppose any laws that negatively impact eligibility, benefits, coverage, and/or access to services for Medicaid beneficiaries. Neither will I support laws that implement systematic bias that leads to unwanted placement in nursing homes and other institutions. 

    1. Would you seek to promote comprehensive long term care reform that will not reduce coverage or access to services? Yes. 
    2. Would you increase rental/housing subsidies to participants in the new Nursing Facility Transition and Diversion Medicaid waiver program?   Yes.
  1. HEALTH INSURANCE 
    1. Timothy's Law was designed to end health insurance discrimination by enacting parity in coverage for people with biologically-based psychiatric disabilities. However, returning veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are not covered. Do you favor amending Timothy's Law to provide coverage for PTSD?  Yes. 
    2. Under Kendra's Law, a state-funded Medicaid grants program was established to provide medications for eligible individuals with psychiatric disabilities upon release or discharge from institutions to eliminate some of the problems associated with the Medicaid coverage gap. Do you support Medicaid Presumptive Eligibility legislation which would eliminate the standard 45 days coverage gap that blocks access to treatment?  Yes. 
    3. Would you expand Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program (EPIC) to provide the same level of eligibility and coverage to persons with disabilities under age 65? Yes.
  1. HOUSING 
    1. We are in the midst of a housing crisis. Accessible, affordable housing is in short supply. People with disabilities are being priced out of the market. Do you support the creation of a housing trust fund for persons with disabilities?  Yes. 
    2. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires housing developers to set aside a certain percentage of accessible units for persons with disabilities when federal funds are used for construction. Do you favor incorporating these provisions into State law so that the Dept. of Housing and Community Renewal can be empowered to enforce these provisions? Yes. 
    3. Visitability sets guidelines to ensure newly constructed multi-family dwellings have basic accessible/adaptable features to permit people with disabilities can visit, and for residents to "age in place," without having to move out when age and/or disability set in. Do you support incorporating the concept of "visitability" in the New York State Building Code? Yes. 
    4. What is your position on expanding DRIE (Disabled Rent Increase Exemption) to have the same income eligibility limits as SCRIE (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption)? Currently SCRIE's income cap is $27,000, while DRIE's is $18,600. Yes.
  1. VOTING ACCESS & HAVA

With the recent decision to acquire voting machines that attempt to meet the accessibility standards of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), many poling places in New York State remain inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Do you favor the elimination of provisions in Section 4-104 (1-a) of the NYS Election Law allowing waiver of polling place accessibility standards?  No.

  1. EDUCATION 
    1. Despite Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, students with disabilities face problems when pursuing higher education. These statutes do not specify how students should request accommodations or assistance in asserting their rights under the law. Will you support a fully funded office of disability services on each SUNY and CUNY campus to assist students with disabilities in securing accommodations?  Yes. 
    2. How do you propose dealing with a school district that deny civil rights to disabled students even after the State Division of Civil Rights affirms the student's rights such as to use an assist animal? Yes.
  1. TRANSPORTATION 
    1. Do you favor an expansion of accessible transportation options for people with disabilities in NYS?  Yes. 
    2. Will you support Assembly Member Kellner's proposed bill requiring NYC to transition to a 100% accessible taxi fleet?  Yes.  
    3. Do you support legislation requiring car services, and all shuttle services to purchase wheelchair accessible vehicles or otherwise ensure that they have the capacity to serve persons with disabilities?  Yes.

Date: August 3, 2008



January 7, 2009

Democrats Reach Pact to Lead the Senate

By DANNY HAKIM

ALBANY — After two months of chaotic negotiations, the fractious Senate Democratic caucus reached a deal on Tuesday night that will give the party control of the Senate for the first time in four decades.

But that victory did not come easily — one Democratic senator even said he had to have his arm twisted and face slapped by his son to go along with the deal.

With a thin edge over Republicans — likely to be 32 seats to 30, pending the final outcome of a close Queens race — Democrats will have a tenuous grip on power and are said to be talking to several Republicans about supporting Malcolm A. Smith, a Queens Democrat. He will become the new Senate majority leader — barring a last minute defection — when the Legislature reconvenes on Wednesday.

Mr. Smith’s staff announced Tuesday night that he had struck a deal with three dissident Democrats who had refused to support him — Rubén Díaz Sr. and Pedro Espada Jr., both of the Bronx, and Carl Kruger of Brooklyn. The three men made a theatrical entrance into Mr. Smith’s office shortly before 7 p.m., joining a meeting of other Senate Democrats an hour after it began, signaling that they were ready to throw their support to Mr. Smith.

“This clearly is an historic day for all of us,” said Mr. Smith, who will be the first African-American to lead the majority party in one of the state legislative chambers.

Not that it will make for an easy alliance or for simple voting blocs in a contentious budget year. When Mr. Smith emerged from the meeting with other Senate Democrats to announce he had won the support of the caucus, Mr. Díaz bristled and began complaining to other members during the press conference.

Mr. Díaz, a Pentecostal minister, had sought an assurance that there would be no vote on same-sex marriage this year. He was arguing to the end about what discussions had taken place on the issue. Mr. Smith said no policy issues had been resolved as part of a deal, while Mr. Díaz said that the issue had been discussed and that he was comfortable with the outcome, though he would not be more specific.

Mr. Diaz said he had been persuaded by his son, Assemblyman Rubén Díaz Jr., and Assemblyman Carl E. Heastie, the new head of the Bronx Democratic Party, to support Mr. Smith.

“You want to thank anyone, thank my son and Carl Heastie,” the elder Mr. Díaz said. “My son is my son, my blood, he twist my arm, he come in, he slapped my face a few times.”

Late last year, Mr. Smith said he had reached a deal with the three dissidents, but it dissolved within days. Other Senate Democrats rejected it as overly generous; the latest deal ceded far less power to the men, who had also had talks with Republicans.

The deal reached last month would have divided the Senate’s top titles, leaving Mr. Smith as president pro tempore and making Mr. Espada majority leader. Mr. Kruger would have headed an independent finance committee with its own budget.

The deal unsettled government watchdog groups; Mr. Espada has accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in fines from election regulators for violations.

Under the new deal, Mr. Smith will be both president and majority leader. While Mr. Kruger will become finance chairman, the committee will not get special autonomy, as had been previously envisioned. Mr. Espada will be vice president of the Senate for Urban Policy and chairman of the Housing Construction and Community Development Committee. Mr. Díaz will lead the Senate’s Aging Committee.

Mr. Smith and his staff also said a number of new procedures would be undertaken to make the Senate more transparent and to give its committees real power.

They are said to still be talking with several Republicans, hoping to win their support for Mr. Smith, though they are not asking them to change parties.

“The Republicans realized that in the wake of the original Espada-Díaz-Kruger deal blowing up, the Democrats were troubled at the approach of these three guys,” one Democrat with knowledge of the negotiations said.

“They felt there’d be a wave of retirements and people moving on in February, March, April, May, and they realized now was their leverage. And when they reached across, they found receptivity, and Malcolm deserves credit for that.”

The issue of same-sex marriage was not a sticking point in the discussions among Democrats on Tuesday, several senators said. In fact, it may be moot for the near future.

Though it does not appear that a bill to legalize marriage of gay men and of lesbian couples will be voted on anytime soon, it will not be because of any bargain, senators said. With several Democratic senators opposed to same-sex marriage, there are not presently enough votes to get a bill through the Senate.

“There are still five or six votes against the bill in the Democratic conference,” said Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, who represents parts of Bronx and Westchester County. He insisted that same-sex marriage was not discussed at all among Democrats on Tuesday.

“And I certainly don’t know five or six Republicans who are going to vote for it,” Mr. Klein added. “Everybody understands that.”

Jeremy W. Peters contributed reporting.

Senate Dems Seal Deal To Take Majority

New York Daily News   January 6, 2009

The Senate leadership deal is officially done, and Queens Democrat Malcolm Smith has finally landed the 32 votes he needs to be majority leader of the Senate, putting the chamber back into Democratic hands for the first time in 43 years.

The Democratic takeover of the Senate means a whole new cast of characters running the show.

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith announced a number of committee chairmanships this evening, and every one of the 32 Democrats has one - including Sen. Hiram Monserrate, who did end up with the Consumer Protection Committee after all.

Smith did say, however, that Monserrate's chairmanship is one of the things that is "under consideration" as he and counsel Shelley Mayer consider the legal options of how to deal with the new senator's pending felony assault charge.

Smith said each member had been asked to submit his or her top two picks and then he tried to award committees based both on the preference and strengths of the respective lawmakers.

What we don't know yet is who will be the members of Smith's leadership team, which is where all the big lu-lus are. With the exception of Sen. Jeff Klein, who is the deputy majority leader ($34,000 lu-lu), Smith said those announcements will be made within a week.

As temporary president of the Senate (remember that post and the position of majority leader are not going to be separated, as was agreed to in the first Gang of Three deal), Smith gets a $41,500 lu-lu. The vice preisdent pro tempore gets $34,000, and so on.

So far, no Republicans have been given any chairmanships, despite all of Smith's talk of bipartisanship. When the GOP was in control, only Sen. Carl Kruger had a committee chairmanship (Social Services), and that was a Joe Bruno contract.

The committee list appears in full after the jump.

- Senator Eric Adams: Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs. $12,500.

- Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr.: Elections. $12,500.

- Senator Darrel Aubertine: Agriculture, $12,500.

- Senator Neil Breslin: Insurance. $12,500.

- Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr.: Aging. $12,500.

- Senator Martin Malave Dilan: Transportation. $15,000.

- Senator Tom Duane: Health. $15,000.

- Senator Pedro Espada, Jr: Vice President of the Senate for Urban Policy; Vice Chair, Rules Committee; chair, Housing Construction and Community Development. $12,500. That's for the Housing chairmanship; each senator can only get one lu-lu, regardless of how many titles he or she holds).

- Senator Brian X. Foley: Ethics. $12,500.

- Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson: Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections. $12,500.

- Senator Shirley Huntley: Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. $12,500.

- Senator Craig Johnson: Investigations and Government Operations. $15,000.

- Senator Jeff Klein: Deputy Majority Leader. $34,000.

- Senator Liz Krueger: Vice Chair Finance, Chair of Select Committee on Budget Reform. (These are new posts and so the lu-lu is yet to be determined).

- Senator Carl Kruger: Finance. $34,000.

- Senator Hiram Monserrate: Consumer Protection. $12,500.

- Senator Velmanette Montgomery: Children and Families. $12,500.

- Senator George Onorato: Labor. $12,500.

- Senator Suzi Oppenheimer: Education. $18,000.

- Senator Kevin Parker: Energy and Telecommunications. $12,500.

- Senator Bill Perkins: Corporations, Authorities and Commissions. $15,000.

- Senator John Sampson: Judiciary. $18,000.

- Senator Diane Savino: Civil Service and Pensions. $12,500.

- Senator Eric Schneiderman: Codes. $18,000.

- Senator Jose Serrano, Jr.: Tourism, Recreation and Sports Development. $12,500.

- Senator Daniel Squadron: Cities. $15,000.

- Senator William Stachowski: Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business. $12,500.

- Senator Toby Ann Stavisky: Higher Education. $12,500.

- Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins: Local Government. $12,500.

- Senator Antoine Thompson: Environmental Conservation. $12,500.

- Senator David Valesky: TBD.

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics

*      *      *      *      *      *

For further information on this issue, contact:

Barbara Crosier

Vice President, Government Relations

Cerebral Palsy Associations of NYS

90 State Street, Suite 929

Albany, New York 12207

Phone:  (518) 436-0178

Fax:  (518) 436-8619

E-mail:  [email protected]

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