Common Sense: It’s over – Amen!

The Legislative session ended in Albany with several 10-hour sessions and one 20-hour session in the Senate that began at approximately 10 a.m., Thursday, ending around 6 a.m., Friday. There was a definite flurry of activity with more bills being passed in the last two weeks than during the first five months combined.

I am not suggesting this is the best way to go. It simply is the way they conduct business in Albany. And I, for one, think it is a prime area for reform.

Locally, Conservative Republican legislators State Senator Marty Golden — whom I serve as chief of staff — and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis had a strong finish both for what they did and what they did not do.

They each sponsored several pieces of legislation that passed both houses and will be signed into law by the governor. Golden and Malliotakis were successful in advocating for the full restoration of cuts to services to the disabled.

Golden had a number of important economic development bills passed by both houses and received a great deal of attention for sponsoring the return of the lever voting machines for this year’s primary and run-off elections.

Golden played an important role in blocking a vote to expand abortion in the state and supported nine points known as the Women’s Equality Agenda. Malliotakis was a prime Assembly leader in putting an environmentally-friendly as well as fiscally-conservative Paper Reduction Act on the ballot in November, 2014.

Assuming the voters approve (which they should), the three-day aging process for legislation will not require the physical printing of multiple copies for the 213 state legislators and interested groups. Electronic copies will suffice. The end result should be the savings of taxpayer dollars and a lot of paper.

Golden was successful in passing out of the Senate an extensive public safety bill that addressed increasing gang violence in the state. Unfortunately, it did not come out of the Democratically-controlled Assembly. The same can be said of a Golden bill to save Downstate University Hospital and create a new sustainable health care system in Brooklyn.

Golden also sponsored in the Senate a bill that Assemblymember Malliotakis co-sponsored in the Assembly that once again will allow retired police officers to carry a full 10-round ammunition load.

Malliotakis, who has been one of the legislature’s most influential critics of Speaker Silver’s action as related to the Vito Lopez scandal, ended the session on the attack for his approved use of taxpayer money to defend himself against lawsuits relating to his inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars to cover up Lopez’s sleazy actions. Quite ironic, I think you would agree.

I make no bones about being partisan. After all, I am the chairperson of the Brooklyn Conservative Party, an organization that endorses both Golden and Malliotakis, giving them many thousands of votes. That being said, I think, regardless of your political affiliation or views on the issues, legislators who work as hard as these two deserve our respect and admiration.

It is not easy to leave your home and family each Monday morning for almost six months to make the nearly three-hour trip to Albany so that you can work long hours and spend night after night in a hotel. They operate under a schedule that they do not control and often find information on the schedule changing at a moment notice.

Please, no harp music, because I understand — better than most — that they run for this office and as such have chosen this lifestyle. Nevertheless, it is an incredible commitment. In fact, Senator Golden was forced to miss the graduation of his youngest son, Patrick, because the Senate was in session.

For that matter, all our local legislators work hard, but having worked alongside Marty for the past 10 years and Nicole, the past three years, each Albany week, I know best what they go through. Congratulations on a good session. And once again, to both Nicole and Marty I repeat the words we had Thursday night and Friday morning: Thank God it’s over!

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