Category Archives: Carl Marcellino

Sen. Marcellino’s Letter to MTA Chairman and CEO

Dear Chairman Lhota:


On August 1, 2018 a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train from Penn Station to Port Washington derailed on the Queens side of the East River tunnels. This is the second train that has derailed in that area in the past two weeks. Thankfully, no one was injured in either incident, but riders had to endure yet another round of service cancellations and delays.


Any derailment is dangerous and life threatening. It puts the ridership, employees and the greater public’s well-being in jeopardy. Two derailments in the same spot, in a two-week period, are unacceptable and calls into question the overall safety of the system.


Every individual who uses the trains or puts a loved one on a train on a daily basis deserves to know what is being done to prevent the next accident; an accident that may cause loss of life, injuries and substantial property damage. What is the plan, both long term and short term, to address these types of derailments? Is maintenance on the tracks and trains being neglected? What changes were made at the location of the most recent derailments between the July 21st incident and today?


The welfare of the ridership should always be the number one goal of the system. Recent events have called that commitment into question. I look forward to a timely response so I can share with my constituents what the MTA and LIRR are doing to give every rider the confidence that they will arrive at their destination safely.


Thank you in advance for your immediate action on this most serious safety issue.


Carl L. Marcellino


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Senator Marcellino’s Bill to Ban the Practice of ‘Pet Leasing’ Passes Senate

Senator Carl L. Marcellino announced that his legislation which would prohibit the leasing of dogs and cats for ownership has passed the Senate . Pet sellers in New York State have been leasing pets for years; however the sponsors of this legislation doubt if this practice is ethical and humane.


According to a report by the ASPCA, pet sellers allow a consumer to make monthly payments and require consumers to buy out their leases at the end in order to keep their pets. Almost all puppies sold in pet shops were born in deplorable, inhumane puppy mills, but with price tags between $1,000 and $5,000, each pup represents a big payday to the retailers who traffic in this cruelty.


But it’s not only the dogs who are victimized. Pet sellers are teaming up with private lenders to offer love-struck shoppers, who might balk at the high cost of their dream puppy, the option to make low monthly payments over a fixed period. In the small print, however, these agreements pad the initial price with fees and a big balloon payment at the end of the term, costing the unwitting buyer double or sometimes triple the original cost of the pup.


Even worse: the purchaser almost never realizes that they do not actually own the pet until the final payments are made years down the line. This practice not only deceives the consumer, it uproots the pet from their family and places him or her in danger of being relinquished to an already overburdened and overcrowded shelter in the event of a missed payment.


“Pets are a vital part of the family for many people across our state. Bringing a dog or cat home is both memorable and exciting. At that moment of purchase, the focus is on the animal, not the fine print in the contract. Imagine the bewilderment of some customers when they find out months later they do not actually own their new pet, but instead, are locked into a rent-to-own scheme. This bill will protect both consumers and pets from this kind of shady operation,” said Senator Marcellino.


“Our pets are our family. We wouldn’t lease our children or grandparents—why would we lease our pets,” said Libby Post, Executive Director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation. “Plain and simple, this comes down to greed and the ability to prey on vulnerable people who are looking for a dog or a cat at a pet store. We would ask folks to come to shelters—we don’t have any predatory lending, just reasonable adoption fees for dogs and cats that are looking for their forever homes.”


The bill is carried in the Assembly by Assemblyman Titone.


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Senate Passes Bill Ensuring Safety of Millions Student School Bus Riders

Measure Puts School Buses on Same Footing as School Buildings to Better Protect Children and School Personnel


The New York State Senate passed legislation (S8234), sponsored by Senator Carl L. Marcellino to help improve the development of school bus safety and security and better protect millions of students and personnel who ride the bus to school in New York every day. The bill would help enhance safety standards on school buses by improving the coordination of policies and procedures within the school district, and put those policies and procedures on par with similar measures already in place for school buildings.


Senator Marcellino, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, said, “When a child leaves home and gets on the school bus, no parent should have to worry if their child is safe. It is our responsibility to do everything that we can to put their well-being first. This bill will do just that.”


The legislation expands the duties of district chief emergency officers so that they could assist in the coordinated development of policies and procedures, including:

  • Response to implied or direct threats of violence by or against students, school bus personnel, or other persons that involve a school bus or school transportation facility;
  • Protocols for responding to other emergency situations that involve a school bus or school transportation facility;
  • Policies for annual school bus safety training for staff and students; and
  • School bus drivers and other school transportation personnel would participate as members of district-wide school safety and building-level emergency response teams.


In addition to this legislation, the Senate earlier this year passed a package of critical school safety measures that would strengthen security and help keep students safe. Those bills would:

  • Increase the ability of schools to hire qualified security personnel;
  • Create new state funding mechanisms for infrastructure investments that improve school safety;
  • Increase access to school-based mental health services;
  • Expand state actions and intelligence coordination to protect schools against attack; and
  • Strengthen penalties for crimes on school grounds.


The bill has been sent to the Assembly.


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Tessie Shirley Pierce Garber Inducted into NY Senate’s Military Veterans Hall of Fame

Tessie Shirley Pierce GarberWhen the United States entered World War II, Tessie “Tess” Shirley Pierce Garber’s brothers entered the U.S. Army, and Garber felt strongly that women should be able to serve in the Armed Forces as well. She was unwilling to wait until she was 21 to join the Army WACs, so she decided to join the Navy WAVES or Coast Guard SPARS, which accepted 20-year-old women. As luck would have it, she met a woman Marine recruiter and ended up in the Marine Corps.


Ms. Garber’s military adventure began on November 2, 1943 when she and seven women recruits met at a Cleveland, Ohio railroad station to proceed to Marine Boot Camp at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Her field training with the other women recruits was the same that the men received…cleaning rifles, manual of arms, target practice, obstacle course, guard duty, marching, running with pack and rifle, scaling cargo nets and calisthenics.


After training, Ms. Garber was assigned to a Signal Corps unit in Washington, D.C. that used Teletype machines and required secret clearance. She handled daily reports listing names of wounded, missing in action (MIA), and killed in action (KIA). On occasion, she and other women were taken to Walter Reed Army Hospital to help rehabilitate those who lost hands, arms, legs and eyesight. One day at a service club, she was hit by a ping-pong ball. That was how she met Morris Garber, and six months later, they were married.


Ms. Garber has been an active member of the Jewish War Veterans Post 655 for many years.


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Marcellino Passes Legislation to Protect American Water Customers

Senator Carl L. Marcellino announced he has passed Senate Bill 6862-A which will require the Public Service Commission (PSC) to conduct an independent audit of private water utility companies prior to and after rate changes are approved by the PSC. This is the first of a package of bills he sponsors to address the dramatically high water bill spikes that have affected customers of New York American Water on Long Island.


“More than 100,000 Long Island customers have been shocked when they opened their water bills from American Water. Some residents have seen their rates more than double. The public outcry has been loud and justified. Yet, American Water and the PSC are unwilling to take any steps to reduce this burden on consumers,” said Senator Marcellino.


The legislation requires the public service commission to retain an independent auditor to conduct audits of private water utility companies prior to and after rate changes are approved by the public service commission.


In May 2017, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) granted New York American Water a rate increase for the next four consecutive years. These increases range from 1 percent to as high as 9.6 percent.


“The combination of a draconian rate increase and the practice of passing the companies taxes on to the backs of their ratepayers has created a dramatic financial burden in water bills. Add to that the lack of accountability by American water and you have a situation where people feel betrayed and helpless,” added Senator Marcellino.


New York American Water is a private company that services 120,000 households and businesses in Nassau County. Unlike public water utilities in New York State, American Water pays property taxes and passes that expense to their customers in their water bills.


“The PSC played a major role in creating the American Water crisis and this bill will force them to be part of the solution. This is an important first step in protecting ratepayers and fixing a problem that has gotten out of control,” concluded Senator Marcellino.


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Marcellino Honors Woman of Distinction Coleen Cole Spinello

Coleen Cole SpinelloColeen Cole Spinello has leveraged her experience as a business executive in the retail and hospitality industries to cater to the needs of children and the Glen Cove community. For over 15 years, Ms. Spinello has been a Nassau County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), helping countless children ensure that their voices are heard and that they are placed in a safe, caring and secure environment.


In addition to her commitment to CASA, Ms. Spinello is one of the co-founders of Glen Cove’s Bully Proof Project and is a volunteer for many Glen Cove programs, including Kids Play Day and the July 4th Children’s Bike parade. She also helped start Glen Cove’s community garden at Big Ralph Park and is a vested member of the city’s Beautification Commission and The Interagency Council.


Ms. Spinello’s generosity can be seen in the bright eyes of a young nine-year-old girl named Mia who was suffering from renal failure. In October 2016, Ms. Spinello donated her kidney to Mia so that this young child could have a bright future filled with hope, dreams and the love of life. A resident of Glen Cove for over 18 years, she is an active member of St. Rocco’s parish, where she manages both the church’s food pantry and outreach program. She is a proud aunt, stepmother and dog mom.


Continually dedicating her time and energy to those in need, Ms. Spinello is an exceptional woman whose life and selflessness is a testimony to her devotion to others. She is truly an inspiration to the people and families she touches and the community in which she lives.


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Macellino Saying No to the Cross Sound Tunnel

Senator Carl L. Marcellino, Supervisor Joseph Saladino and local Mayors joined with members of the Oyster Bay Community to oppose the Cross Sound Tunnel or the hybrid Bridge- Tunnel proposal from Rte. 135 to Rye, NY. The project has an estimated cost of $55 billion.


“Fiscal irresponsibility of this kind not only affects citizens who live in the north shore areas, it impacts all New York State residents. Perhaps instead, the state should use the estimated $55 billion on the 17,437 bridges that need repair that has a projected cost of $67.7 billion,” said Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R-Syosset).


Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino stated, “I stand united with our residents in opposition to a cross Sound bridge or tunnel in Oyster Bay as it would adversely affect the character of local communities, negatively impact our air quality and threaten our environment. In the deeded rights to the harbor, it is specifically stated that any bridge or tunnel is strictly prohibited.”


The Western Alignment Concept connects the LIE to I-95 in Westchester via Oyster Bay in Nassau County and Rye/Port Chester in Westchester County. Starting at the NY 135 corridor that extends north from the Jericho Turnpike (NY 25) Interchange, the proposal would extend the existing Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway (NY 135) north approximately 0.5 mile through residential and commercial areas into a tunnel portal. The tunnel structure would continue 9 miles north, to beyond the shoreline of Long Island. At that point, it would either remain as a tunnel to Westchester, or transition to a 6-mile bridge then to a 1-mile tunnel where it would portal in Westchester at the intersection of I 95 and I-287. Two man-made islands would be constructed, each approximately 1 mile off the Long Island and Westchester shorelines, in order to transition from tunnel to bridge structure.


“This potential project could destroy the fabric of the impacted communities, disrupt the fragile ecosystem of the Sound and spawn countless lawsuits. It is simply a non-starter. The North Shore of Long Island is one of the most picturesque and historic areas of New York State. Over the years, the community and local governments have worked very diligently to maintain and improve the beautiful suburban nature and the pristine harbor we inherited from the residents who were here before us, so that one day we can pass it on to future generations. We have a responsibility to our residents to object to any project which will destroy our community,” said Senator Marcellino


“It is absurd that we are revisiting this project that was killed 50 years ago. This is one of the most ecologically sensitive areas on Long Island that deserves to have all of the protections that were won five decades ago,” said Peter Quick, Mayor, Village of Mill Neck


“This is the wrong tunnel, in the wrong location at the wrong time. My grandfather was the architect for the Holland, Lincoln, Brooklyn-Battery and Queens Midtown Tunnels. He designed the massive ventilation buildings – some capable of completely changing the tunnel’s air every 90 seconds. The feasibility study anticipates the Western tunnel to ventilate at the two openings with a ventilation shaft also on the Oyster Bay side. How will that impact our air quality?” said Elliot Conway, Mayor, Upper Brookville


“Governor Cuomo should be focusing on more pressing long neglected NYC related mass transportation projects before embarking on huge, extremely costly new bridge or tunnel project that isn’t necessary,” said Charles Goulding, Mayor Village of Oyster Bay Cove


“It is time to put an end to this intellectually, morally, and financially bankrupt idea, for the sake of all Long Islanders and our children’s future here,” said Daniel DeVita, Mayor of Laurel Hollow.


“The proposed Cross Sound Tunnel is a waste of our time, energy and money that diverts valuable resources from other more worthy concerns, projects and goals for Long Island and New York State,” said Carol Harrington, Deputy Mayor, Village of Lattingtown.


“Planning a Sound Crossing over or under Oyster Bay and Cold Spring Harbor is contrary to the numerous designations from every level of government to protect the ecologic and economic benefits of the cleanest embayment in western Long Island Sound. The Oyster Bay Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee would prefer New York State invest in water quality monitoring, stormwater remediation and other environmental efforts which would reap far greater benefits for residents at substantially lower cost,” said Rob Crafa, Coordinator, Oyster Bay Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee


The Long Island Sound is one of the most important estuaries in the nation. In 1985, Congress allocated funds for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to research, monitor, and assess the water quality of the Long Island Sound. In March 1988, the Long Island Sound was identified as an Estuary of National Significance and the Long Island Sound Study (LISS) became a part of EPA’s National Estuary Program.


The State of New York has recognized Oyster Bay as an “Outstanding Natural Coastal Area” and a “Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat.” The U.S Department of the Interior has designated more than 3,000 acres of these waters for protection through the establishment of the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge in 1968. The National Audubon Society has designated this estuary as an “Important Bird Area.”


All tunnels require large ventilation towers for the expelling of vehicle exhaust, spewing large amounts of diesel and gasoline fumes into our communities. It is not known how many will be needed for a tunnel (or tunnels) of this magnitude or how close to land they would be located.


“Friends of the Bay stands with Senator Marcellino and other local officials in opposition to the proposal to build a tunnel or a bridge from Oyster Bay to Rye. Besides the obvious negative impact on the environment and the devastating effect on local communities, the tunnel would cost billions of dollars. Those funds would be better spent on repairs to the more than 2000 existing bridges that have been deemed structurally deficient, and on updating mass transit so that New York State can work towards a cleaner, more sustainable future,” Heather Johnson Executive Director, Friends of the Bay


Over the years more than 10 bridges or tunnels over the Long Island Sound have been proposed or studied – all have been rejected.


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New Bills to Ease Transition for Students with Disabilities after High School, Remove Paperwork Burden from Schools

Senator Carl L. Marcellino announces his legislation that improves the transition for students with disabilities between high school and adult services was signed into law (Chapter 428) by the Governor. The new law took effect on November 29, 2017.


“This legislation will make sure students with disabilities seamlessly transfer from high school to appropriate social services,” said Marcellino. “We need to ensure that our students are given the appropriate services when they leave high school.


This law would allow representatives from the Office of Mental Health, Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, or the Department of Education to participate in the annual review meeting. This will improve the provision of proper transitional services to students who are aging out of the educational system and into the adult social services system.


The Governor also signed into law Senator Marcellino’s legislation that removes the need to apply to the State Department of Education to evaluate preschool students (Chapter 429). The new law took effect on November 29, 2017.


“This legislation will save time and money for our School Districts,” said Marcellino. “If a school has a properly certified staff, there should be no need to apply to the Department of Education.”


This law would remove the requirement for School Districts to apply to the Department of Education to evaluate preschool students. The law ensures that the evaluators are appropriately licensed or certified.


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Marcellino Announces Legislation Addressing Water Bill Spikes

Senator Carl L. Marcellino announced that he has introduced a bill to address the dramatically high water bill spikes that have affected customers of New York American Water on Long Island.


In May 2017, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) granted New York American Water a rate increase for the next four consecutive years. These increases range from 1 percent to as high as 9.6 percent.


The combination of a draconian rate increase and the practice of passing the companies taxes on to the backs of their ratepayers has created a dramatic spike in water bills. Residents who live in private water utility serviced areas have no choice in their water provider. These customers deserve to receive the same benefit that customers of municipally owned water districts enjoy.


“People can’t pick and choose their water provider. Municipally owned water customers are not burdened by property taxes, the same should hold true for private water utility customers. By eliminating the property tax on private water utilities, customers’ bills will be reduced dramatically,” said Senator Carl L. Marcellino.


New York American Water is a private company that services 120,000 households and businesses in Nassau County. Unlike public water utilities in New York State, private water utilities pay property taxes and pass that expense to their customers in their water bills.


This legislation (S6949) will create parity between public water utilities and private water utilities by exempting real estate owned by private water-works corporations from taxation.


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