Category Archives: Elaine Phillips

Senator Phillips Attends Williston Park Fire Department’s Annual Independence Day Parade

Williston Park Fire Department Independence Day ParadeSenator Elaine Phillips recently attended the Williston Park Fire Department’s annual Independence Day Parade. The parade included a ceremony at the Williston Park Fire Department headquarters where former Fire Chief Richard Sais, the parade’s grand marshal, was honored.

 

“Independence Day is a time to enjoy quality time with family, but it is also a time to reflect on the freedoms and liberties we have as Americans and remember the sacrifices that make them possible,” Senator Phillips said. “It was an honor to march in the Williston Park Fire Department’s annual Independence Day Parade. Thank you to Chief John Perro and the entire department for inviting me.”

 

Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage

Senate Passes Senator Phillips’ Bill To Create Commission To Study Cryptocurrencies

Senator Elaine Phillips announced that the New York State Senate recently passed her legislation to establish a commission to study how to regulate cryptocurrencies in New York State.

 

“New York is the world financial leader and it is important we keep adapting to new technologies in order to compete in our ever-changing economy,” Senator Phillips said. “In the past few years, we’ve seen cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, make their way into the New York digital economy and this commission will help us fully understand the implications of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.”

 

The bill, S.9013/A.8783B, sponsored by Assemblyman Clyde Vanel in the Assembly, would establish a commission to study how to regulate cryptocurrencies in New York State

 

“Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology has evolved much over the past decade.” Assemblyman Vanel said. “Since New York is the financial capital of the world, we must lead in financial technology innovation, attract and retain financial technology companies and jobs. While, at the same time, we must protect New York consumers and investors. In seeking the proper balance for the State cryptocurrency regulatory regime, it is important that we engage the experts, technologists, consumers and investors.”

 

A cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Bitcoin, created in 2009, was the first decentralized cryptocurrency. The virtue and danger of cryptocurrency is its anonymity and decentralized model.

 

A growing number of merchants accept cryptocurrency as payment including Microsoft, Expedia.com, Dell, Overstock.com, Reddit, Subway and Bloomberg.com. Companies and investors are raising capital and funding through Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). Additionally, there are cryptocurrency ATMs across the state where New Yorkers are purchasing denominations of cryptocurrencies at conveniences stores and public places.

 

The measure has passed both the Senate and Assembly and is awaiting delivery to the Governor for approval.

 

Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage

Senator Phillips Secures $50,000 for the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition

Great Neck Breast Cancer CoalitionContinuing her efforts to support women’s health, Senator Elaine Phillips announced today that she has secured $50,000 for the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition for women’s health cancer services that will help improve the lives of Long Island women. The funding is part of a resolution passed by the New York State Senate to support a range of community-based investments in cancer prevention and treatment, maternal health initiatives, help for new mothers with substance abuse problems, and other programs to improve mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

 

Senator Phillips recently met with Laura Weinberg, President of the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition, and members to discuss some of the organization’s programs and initiatives.

 

“The Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition is an invaluable resource in our local communities and it was a pleasure to help secure this important funding for their efforts and initiatives,” Senator Phillips said. “Roughly 1 in 8 women in our country will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime and here on Long Island, cancer rates are unfortunately higher than average. Early detection is paramount and when found early enough, breast cancer can be highly treatable. This vital funding will assist with educational outreach, support services to those with breast cancer and related diseases and advocacy of breast cancer research.”

 

“The Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition is so appreciative of Senator Phillips’ ongoing support and for securing a $50,000 New York State grant for our organization,” said Laura Weinberg, Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition. “We are thrilled that we have been selected as a recipient of this generous funding for our organization’s programs.”

 

The Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition, which began in 1992, is dedicated to the battle against breast cancer through education, advocacy and research.

 

Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage

Senate Passes Senator Phillips’ Bill Establishing Local Advisory Board for Belmont Park Redevelopment Project

Senator Elaine Phillips announced that the New York State Senate passed her legislation that establishes a local advisory board for the Belmont Park redevelopment project.

 

“With the redevelopment of Belmont Park approved, it is critically important that we continue to provide residents with direct input and a voice in the process,” Senator Phillips said. “Providing an open dialogue between the developers and the community is vital, as this project will bring about change to the community, create new jobs and promote economic growth.”

 

The bill, S.8986, would establish a local advisory board to ensure local residents and community members have direct input in the recently approved redevelopment of Belmont Park. The board would be comprised of 15 individuals who live, work or own a business within five miles of Belmont Park.

 

“On behalf of the residents of the Village of Floral Park, I want to thank Senator Phillips for proposing this bill to create the Belmont Community Advisory Committee in the fashion of those already at Aqueduct and Saratoga Racetracks,” Floral Park Mayor Dominick A. Longobardi said. “Floral Park shares the largest neighboring border with Belmont Park. Once established, this Committee, will enable our residents and our neighbors around us to work together with NYRA, NY State and others to ensure that what occurs at Belmont Park will be beneficial to all involved. Belmont Park is state property, which means it is owned by all of us. Maintaining and improving our quality of life is of utmost importance to all surrounding beautiful Belmont Park. Senator Phillips recognized the need for this collective forum and the Committee is a great step towards ensuring everyone’s issues and concerns are met.”

 

Since the Empire State Development Corporation has already convened a separate Community Advisory Committee to provide local input on the proposed new sports arena by the New York Arena Partners, this new local advisory board will advise only on NYRA’s operations and capital improvements to avoid duplication and overlap.

 

Last year, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) selected the New York Islanders as the winning bidder to redevelop Belmont Park. The Islanders’ plan includes an 18,000-seat arena, a full-service hotel and a retail and community space.

 

Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage

NY Senate Approves $1 Million Investment to Combat Lyme Disease Statewide

Historic Levels of Funding Build Upon the Senate’s Commitment to Increasing Public Awareness, Treatment, and Prevention of Lyme and Other Tick-Borne Illnesses

 

Senator Elaine Phillips announced recently that the New York State Senate has approved a resolution to provide a record $1 million to help fight the scourge of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases (TBDs) throughout the state. The new funding will help support a wide variety of local investments identified by the Senate’s Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases to increase education, research, prevention, and treatment options, and combat the ongoing increase in TBDs throughout New York.

 

“With an increased tick population across Long Island and the state, this funding is critical to support local investments that will help combat rising cases of Lyme and tick-borne diseases,” said Senator Phillips, a member of the Senate’s Task Force on Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases. “To properly fight these diseases, we must continue supporting organizations that perform improved research, while also promoting awareness and working to prevent future cases.”

 

The Senate Majority – and specifically the Task Force – led the charge in securing this historic level of funding in the 2018-19 state budget. Based on the Task Force’s recommendations, the final budget restores $400,000 in Executive Budget cuts and includes $600,000 in new funding for a total of $1 million.

 

Highlights of the resolution passed today include:

  • Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Inc. – $192,000 to research community-based prevention methods by continuing and expanding “The Tick Project,” a five-year research project. The funding will help determine whether neighborhood-based prevention can reduce human cases of Lyme and other TBDs.
  • Stony Brook University – $175,000 to open a state-of-the art infectious disease laboratory, which will have an insectary dedicated solely for work on ticks. The laboratory will be open to Stony Brook scientists and others as a regional facility with unique research capabilities. The funds will be used to support activities in the laboratory and new research on TBDs.
  • Cornell University – $130,000 to study the distribution of ticks and the diseases they carry in various parts of the state through the Tick Outreach and Surveillance Project for New York. Run through the New York State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program at Cornell University, the research will primarily focus on the spread of ticks by species within certain counties. Other areas of study include ways to reduce human exposure to TBDs, tick management workshops, and best practices in schools, camps, parks, and places where people gather outdoors.
  • New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO) – $112,000 to increase public awareness throughout New York through eight to 10 regional educational lectures. The informational seminars will focus on community awareness, best practices for TBD investigation, tick surveillance, and disease prevention to local parts of the state heavily impacted by the effects of Lyme and TBDs.
  • New York State Department of Health – $25,000 to continue database mining, which would include various projects associated with Lyme carditis, as well as deaths associated with Lyme and other TBDs.
  • New York State Department of Health – $60,000 to increase the number of tick collection sites in New York, and the number of ticks tested for pathogens statewide. The funding will also be used to hire temporary staff to assist with sampling and testing, as well as targeting of educational messages in a more efficient manner.
  • Southampton Hospital – $75,000 to fund the Tick-Borne Disease Resource Center, which helps doctors in multiple disciplines collaborate with researchers and community outreach experts to inform and treat individuals from across the region.
  • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry – $50,000 to monitor seasonal variations of ticks in Western and Central New York to help provide a better understanding of how disease transmission risks are changing. The study will also provide public information to better explain the risks of tick exposure.
  • Paul Smith’s College – $30,000 to study the emergence of TBDs in the North Country by continuing and expanding academic studies that monitor ticks and TBDs.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension – $26,000 for a series of regional Lyme and TBD forums to be hosted throughout the state. The forums will help provide the public with information on tick identification, tick bite prevention, Lyme disease and co-infection awareness, impact on pets and livestock, and health resources that are available for individuals who have been bitten by a tick.
  • SUNY Adirondack – $100,000 for laboratory research on lesser-known TBDs, including infectious diseases known to be comorbid with Lyme disease, such as Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, and Powassen virus. The work would help provide much needed information about the rates of these coinfections in people with Lyme disease in New York.
  • Town of Shelter Island – $25,000 to help combat the spread of ticks on Shelter Island, which is one of the worst hit areas of the public health crisis. The town has developed a four-poster program to stem the spread of ticks associated with the deer population. The town has built and installed four-poster stations, to remove ticks from deer across the Island, and this funding would maintain and expand the efforts of this critical initiative.

 

In addition to the $1 million announced today, the Senate was instrumental earlier this year in passing a package of bills aimed at combating Lyme and TBDs, based on the recommendations of the Senate’s Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases.

 

Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage

‘Voting’ Pardons Could Let Hundreds of Sex Offenders in Schools on Election Day

Phillips Demands Answers on How Child Rapists Were Included on Gov’s Pardon List Calls on Governor to Stop Granting Pardons and Safeguard Schools

 

Hundreds of child rapists and sex offenders, including high risk offenders who are deemed a “threat to public safety,” those with long rap sheets and some with victims as young as two years old, were included among those pardoned by the Governor last month and could be headed to school polling places to vote this fall.

 

While it’s impossible to know the exact number, since the Governor has not released names of the 24,086 felons issued pardons, a painstaking comparison of the state’s “Megan’s Law” registry with a public database of parolees in just two Senate Districts on Long Island and in Western New York exposed dozens of sex offenders receiving the extraordinary pardons. The research found at least four sex offenders, including a child rapist who has been classified “high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety,” in the 7th Senate District represented by Senator Elaine Phillips.

 

“Giving pardons to sex offenders so they can show up at school polling places on Election Day is like handing out hall passes to some of society’s most dangerous individuals,” said Senator Phillips. “Sex offenders are listed in the Megan’s Law registry because they are judged to pose a risk to children and society in general, so it makes no sense to give them the temptation to enter and remain in a school, ostensibly to cast a vote on Election Day. We need the Governor to act immediately to reverse this decision, and to immediately tells us his plan to keep our children safe.”

 

Half of the polling sites in Senator Phillips’ Senate District are located in schools. Polling inspectors generally can’t ask voters for identification, so it’s unlikely they would know a voter is listed on the registry. Being listed on the registry as a sex offender also is not among six approved reasons—such as being absent from the county or a resident of a nursing home—a voter can cite for the need to vote by mail using an absentee ballot.

 

Senator Phillips has called on state officials to:

 

STOP ISSUING VOTING PARDONS TO SEX OFFENDERS AND VIOLENT FELONS

More than half of current parolees are under sentence for committing violent felonies, including sex offenses, and the Megan’s Law registry includes 25,000 sex offenders who are required to register for life. The Governor has announced that he will issue pardons monthly through the elections in November.

 

RELEASE THE NAMES OF FELONS ALREADY PARDONED

State law requires the Governor to release the names of offenders who receive pardons. While he has released the total number in the initial round of pardons—24,086—the Governor has not released their names or any information about crimes for which they were convicted and sentenced.

 

PROVIDE NOTICE AND FUNDING TO SCHOOLS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT

Individuals on the sex offender registry are required by law to notify local police if they change their residence and certain other information. This information is typically shared with impacted communities through the state’s NY-Alert emergency alert system. The Governor should provide information to schools and community members about pardons he has issued to sex offenders and other violent felons, as well as funding for increased security to keep offenders away from schools on Election Day.

 

DISCLOSE PARDON AND SCREENING CRITERIA

After announcing his intention to issue pardons to convicted felons on April 12, the Governor concluded just 26 work days later, on May 22, that 24,086 were eligible. Assuming that no felon’s pardon was rejected, that equates to an astonishingly efficient 926.4 offender reviews per day. The Governor needs to disclose the criteria that the administration is using to evaluate and make pardon determinations.

 

REVEAL PROACTIVE STEPS TAKEN TO KEEP SEX OFFENDERS FROM SCHOOLS

The Governor must disclose steps his administration is preparing to take to prevent sex offenders from attempting to enter and remain in open school buildings on Election Day.

Senator Phillips has shared information about local sex offenders who received pardons with local law enforcement authorities.

 

Links to sex offenders and parolees:

 

Sex offenders:

http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/SomsSUBDirectory/search_index.jsp

 

Parolee lookup:

http://www.doccs.ny.gov/ParoleeLookup/Lookup.aspx

 

Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage

Senate Passes Senator Phillips’ Bill To Require Insurance Companies To Cover In Vitro Fertilization, Fertility Preservation Treatments

Senator Elaine Phillips announced that the New York State Senate has passed her bill requiring insurance coverage of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other fertility preservation treatments in New York State.

 

“With thousands of families across the state facing infertility issues, this measure will ease the financial burden attached to starting a family,” Senator Phillips said. “For too long, individuals reached the brink of financial ruin in the attempt of pursuing their dream of having children. I applaud my colleagues for passing this measure that is not only a win for families and women, but makes New York more family friendly.”

 

The measure, S.8441b, mirrored after the current state plan, would require medical insurance policies to provide a maximum lifetime limit of $50,000 coverage for the treatment of infertility for in-vitro fertilization for women ages 21-44 and standard fertility preservation services when medically necessary.

 

“In addition to assisting those with infertility – the measure will aid those in need of fertility preservation,” Senator Phillips said. “A cancer diagnosis or major surgery can be devastating for anyone, but for a young woman there is the added concern that she could be left infertile because of radiation, chemotherapy or surgery. This measure provides young patients with a means to safeguard their fertility options down the road post recovery.”

 

Several states already have similar laws and these states experience lower rates of multiple births and associated neo-natal and pediatric care costs. The legislation is expected to save New York millions of dollars in long-term health care costs, since patients would no longer be forced to rely on higher risk medical procedures.

 

Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage

Senator Phillips Honors Childhood Cancer Fundraising Efforts in Memory of Floral Park Resident

Aiden BinkleySenator Elaine Phillips announced that the New York State Senate passed her resolution commemorating the 9th Annual St. Baldrick’s Shave Off and the 4th Annual Ladies Night in honor of Aiden Binkley, of Floral Park, who passed away on December 30, 2010 at the age of 11 after losing his courageous battle against cancer.

 

“Aiden Binkley was truly a special young man who, faced with a life-threatening disease, could still light up a room or put a smile on anyone’s face,” Senator Phillips said. “Believing he got cancer so he could help to find a cure, Aiden’s illness was no barrier to his will to help others and search for an end to childhood cancer. With a tremendous impact on all he encountered, his work – even at the age of 11 – is still being carried out today by thousands touched by his story. His legacy will not only continue to inspire those dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancer, but will help inspire children diagnosed with similar illnesses to keep fighting.”

 

Senator Phillips spoke on the resolution at the State Capitol with Aiden’s family present, including Aiden’s parents, Michael and Lisa Binkley; Judy Binkley, Aiden’s grandmother; Terry and Ralph Binkley Paterno, Aiden’s Uncle and Aunt who is the Chairperson of the St. Baldrick’s Ladies Night; their son, Jack; and Bob GaNun, the volunteer organizer of St. Baldrick’s Shave Off event.

 

“We are so thankful to be recognized by the New York Senate,” Lisa Binkley, Aiden’s mom, said. “Having St Baldrick’s Foundation and our Son, Aiden, honored in this way was so special and meaningful. We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Senator Elaine Phillips for recognizing the Floral Park community on all its efforts to fund pediatric cancer research. We are all hopeful a cure will be found in our lifetime.”

 

“The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is in awe of the state of New York, the Floral Park community and Aiden’s family for their dedication to raising critical funds and awareness for childhood cancer research,” said Kathleen Ruddy, CEO of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. “I was honored to meet Aiden’s family and volunteer leads at this year’s Floral Park event and fundraiser and to witness first-hand how the community continues to be inspired by Aiden. Funds raised through their efforts continue to support research to find cures and better treatments so all kids can live long and healthy lives.”

 

In July 2008, Aiden was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma. During his illness, the Binkley family learned of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants. St. Baldrick’s is known for their signature head-shaving events where people shave their heads and raise money for lifesaving childhood cancer research. In 2009, Aiden participated in his first St. Baldrick’s “Shave Off” event in Floral Park organized by Bob GaNun. At the event, participants shaved their heads in unity with children who have lost their own hair during cancer treatment.

 

The 9th annual Shave Off event held in Floral Park on April 28, 2018, attracted more than 200 people and raised $400,000. This year’s St. Baldrick’s Ladies Night, which was hosted by the Wednesday Mother’s Club in New Hyde Park, raised $146,000.

 

Since the first shave event in 2009, Floral Park events have raised over $2 million, making Floral Park the sixth top fundraiser in the world for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

 

“In the memory of Aiden Binkley, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and community members have worked selflessly to continue searching for a cure for childhood cancer – and I applaud them for this,” Senator Phillips said. “With more children losing their life from cancer yearly than any other disease, organizations like St. Baldrick’s are paramount to finding a cure, and we must continue raising funds to do this potentially lifesaving research.”

 

Shortly after Aiden passed away, his brothers Jake and Devin formed “Aiden’s Army” St. Baldrick’s team to inspire kids to shave their heads for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Aiden’s Army is unique because to 90% of those who get their heads shaved are children.

 

In 2014, Ladies Night, a St. Baldrick’s Do What Your Want fundraiser, was formed when the Wednesday Mother’s Club teamed up with Aiden’s Army, and concurrently ran a cupcake sale, raising $1,000 in a few short hours. Four years later, the cupcake sales evolved into an annual St. Baldrick’s Ladies Night Dinner, which has raised more than $200,000 cumulatively.

 

Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage

Senator Phillips Joins Colleagues to Call for Passage of ‘School Bus Camera Safety Act’

School Bus Camera Safety ActSenator Elaine Phillips joined fellow legislators and officials from the educational, law enforcement and advocacy communities at a press conference to call for passage of the “School Bus Camera Safety Act,” which authorizes the installation and use of stop-arm cameras on school buses to detect and record vehicles illegally passing stopped school buses.

 

“Ensuring the safety of our children must be our top priority – and with the alarming number of cars that pass school buses daily, something must be done,” Senator Phillips said. “The School Bus Camera Safety Act will not only deter motorists from passing stopped school buses, but will ultimately save lives. I call on my colleagues in the Legislature and Governor Cuomo to take up this common-sense measure.”

 

The bill, S.518B, would authorize the use of stop-arm cameras on school buses and would permit evidence taken from the cameras to be used in issuing tickets to violators.

 

The bill would retain the current financial penalties for stop-arm violations with fines of $250. Unlike situations with police officers involved, the bill would not impose points or imprisonment for convictions.

 

Fines would cover enforcement and operational costs of the program, with localities receiving the fines directly, and school districts each receiving a portion as needed to absorb direct costs. Participating school districts would also be required to submit reports on the results of the program.

 

Studies estimate over 50,000 drivers in New York illegally pass stopped school buses daily. Stop-arm violations are a growing concern throughout the nation, which has prompted many states to enact similar legislation, including Maryland, Connecticut, Georgia, North Carolina, Iowa, Virginia and Washington.

 

Under current law, only a police officer who witnesses the violation can issue a ticket. This bill permits the evidence taken from school bus safety cameras to be used in prosecuting violators.

 

Charles Dedrick, Executive Director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents said: “Every superintendent feels a personal obligation to every family to put in place the necessary measures to assure the safety of their children every day. Unfortunately, the risks to students begin before they enter the school building. Students are at the greatest risk of harm during their travel to and from the school.”

 

Peter Mannella, Executive Director of the Association for Pupil Transportation said: “Our association members and all those engaged in school transportation safety are eager for enactment of this important legislation. Illegal passing is a clear and present and daily danger for the 2.3 million children who ride on yellow school buses. They trust adult motorists to obey the law and we need this legislation to help us keep the children safe when motorists don’t Stop on Red.”

 

Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage

Senator Phillips’ Legislation Ensuring All New York Children Learn Holocaust History Passes State Senate

Measure Would Help Guarantee Students Learn the Important Lessons from this Horrific Part of History and Future Generations of New Yorkers can Live Up to the Pledge of “Never Again”

 

Senator Elaine Phillips announced that the New York State Senate passed her bill that requires the State Education Department to review specific school districts’ teaching guidelines and compliance with existing state law, which requires them to offer age-appropriate instruction on the Holocaust.

 

“Society has an obligation to remember and continue to condemn one of the worst atrocities in human history,” Senator Phillips said. “Providing our children with a comprehensive history of the world, which includes teaching the Holocaust in a responsible manner, is crucial in preventing history from repeating itself. With hate-driven crimes in the headlines almost every day, this lesson is more important than ever. I applaud my colleagues in the Senate for passing this bill and call on the Assembly and Governor Cuomo to take action on the measure immediately.”

 

The bill, S.5530, would also authorize the State Education Commissioner to develop any regulations necessary to ensure school districts are providing such instruction so future generations of New Yorkers will never forget the millions of innocent Jews and other persecuted groups that were murdered in the genocide.

 

A recent study found that there are significant illiteracies in America regarding awareness of established facts and detailed knowledge of the Holocaust. One finding shows that nearly half of all surveyed people aged 18 to 34 could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto out of nearly 40,000 in Europe during the Holocaust. Despite this, one encouraging note in the survey – 93 percent – agree that all students should learn about the Holocaust in school.

 

This legislation would help keep the Holocaust at the forefront of education, which is more important than ever as the number of living Holocaust survivors decreases. The State Education Commissioner would also be required to deliver review findings to the Legislature and the Governor so all stakeholders can better understand statewide school districts’ aptitude for teaching this type of curriculum.

 

In March 2017, a New York school gained media attention when a high school teacher gave an assignment to his class requiring some of them to make an argument in favor of the Holocaust. Many students were reportedly disturbed by the assignment that wanted students to see things from the point of view of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia responded a few days later promising the assignment would not be given again at the particular school in question.

 

The bill will be sent to the Assembly.

 

Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage