Important Work Remains As Legislative Session Comes To A Close

Any session that ends without improving public safety, the economic climate and the way government conducts itself is a failure for taxpaying New Yorkers. Unfortunately, the Legislature has come up short. As this session winds down, it is imperative that the Assembly focus on common-sense bills that have the best interests of our constituents in mind. I have fought hard to push for legislation that strengthens communities from the ground up by supporting bills that empower New Yorkers to be successful at school, at work, in their neighborhoods and at whatever else they are passionate about.
 
BRITTANY’S LAW REMAINS A PERSONAL, PROFESSIONAL AND PUBLIC SAFETY PRIORITY 
 
Brittany’s Law has overwhelmingly passed the Senate six times, yet has needlessly been stalled in the Assembly. The bill, which would create a registry of violent criminals much like New York’s sex offender registry, would be a valuable tool for keeping New Yorkers informed about those who live and work near their families and loved ones.
 
In 2009, 12-year-old Brittany Passalacqua was murdered along with her mother, Helen Buchel, in Geneva. They were killed by John Edward Brown, who was on parole after serving time for violently assaulting his infant daughter six years earlier. Ms. Buchel was unaware of Brown’s history of violence. Protecting vulnerable New Yorkers like Brittany and Helen is a top priority for me and I will fight for this bill until it becomes law. Despite bipartisan sponsorship, the Assembly Majority has shamefully failed to allow a vote on this legislation.
 

BROKEN EDUCATION SYSTEM MUST BE REPAIRED 
 
The implementation of Common Core was a disaster and our kids are still suffering the consequences. Repeatedly, our Conference has called for a serious reconsideration of Common Core and has made numerous recommendations to improve public education, including eliminating inappropriate state exams that have done more harm than good. We must suspend Common Core, set up a Blue Ribbon Commission on 21st Century Testing and Curriculum to study its shortcomings, and reform the Board of Regents and the State Education Department to make them more accountable to the public. Further, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) must be the supreme document guiding the education of special needs students.
 
SMALL BUSINESSES MUST BE ALLOWED TO THRIVE 
 
A plan to ease the pressure on small businesses and reduce onerous regulations is long overdue. I have sponsored the Small Business Full Employment Act to kick-start the flailing economy. I support a comprehensive approach unlike the winners-and-losers approach of Gov. Cuomo’s failing START-UP program, which has proved to be far too costly for the handful of jobs it created.
 
The Small Business Full Employment Act offers Personal Income Tax and Corporate Franchise Tax relief and rewards businesses for maintaining and creating jobs. The Small Business Tuition Assistance Tax Credit would provide an employer tax credit for businesses that help pay for employees’ tuition, as long as the employee stays with the business. 

 
ETHICS REFORM MUST BE COMPREHENSIVE
 
The culture of corruption in Albany has threatened the legislative progress, damaged the public’s trust in their government and has been a major distraction. Quite frankly, abusing the power of public office is the ultimate betrayal of the residents lawmakers represent and is truly unacceptable. For this reason, I fully support stripping pensions from convicted public officials. In addition, my Public Officers Accountability Act would institute eight-year term limits for legislative leaders and committee chairs, require the return of campaign funds to donors or charity upon felony convictions, limit the use of campaign funds to campaign activities and reform member items.
 
There are precious few days left on the 2015 legislative calendar. It is my sincere hope all parties can come together to do what’s necessary to give New Yorkers the chance for success they deserve. Together, we can restore New York to its place as a national leader and example for all governments.
 
What do you think?  I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

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