In November 2018, you elected Jim to be your voice in Albany. In his first term as your State Senator, Jim has fought for important issues to Long Islanders.
On Long Island, we pay some of the highest taxes in the country, too often keeping young families from moving in, and forcing older residents to move out. Jim championed legislation to make the property tax cap permanent within his first months as your State Senator. That was just the first step to making Long Island a place where everyone can afford to live and raise their family. Jim is committed to continuing the fight to make sure Long Island gets its fair share of funding.
Fighting for Our Schools
In his first year, Jim secured an additional $9.6 million in State Aid for school districts in the 5th Senate District, up from the previous year. But we need to do more. State funding is still not enough, leaving it to local taxpayers to ensure our kids have the best education possible. Jim will continue to fight until all schools receive their fair share of funding so that every teacher is supported and every student receives the education they deserve.
Keeping our Communities Safe
From fighting to fix the bail law to writing a bill that would increase penalties for assaulting police officers and first responders, Jim is providing thoughtful and balanced leadership to keep our communities safe in these troubled times.
Jim received a perfect score from the New York League of Conservation Voters during his first year in office because of his advocacy and commitment to protecting the environment and fighting for sustainable policies to ensure clean air and water for future generations. Jim has spent his entire career fighting to protect our environment. In his first year, Jim successfully enacted a law to hold polluters liable for water contamination and strongly supported the historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). Jim is committed to working with his colleagues to enact the ambitious goals within the CLCPA to reduce New York’s carbon footprint.
Demanding Accountability from LIPA and PSEG
When Tropical Storm Isaias hit Long Island, we all felt the consequences of just how unprepared PSEG was for a low-level storm. PSEG failed us and LIPA whose main function is to provide accountability and oversight to PSEG was nowhere to be found. While LIPA may be okay with PSEG’s shortcomings, Jim isn’t. He’s leading the charge to ensure Long Islanders recoup the unnecessary damages caused by PSEG’s carelessness. Further, Jim introduced legislation to give the Public Service Commission power to order LIPA implement reforms when fraud, abuse or mismanagement is discovered, and a bill that increases oversight powers of the Authorities Budget Office to shine light on authorities like LIPA and improve accountability to taxpayers.
Meeting the needs of Long Islanders during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything we have ever seen, and it has taken a toll on our health, well-being and livelihoods. During the height of the pandemic, Jim worked to cut through red tape and help more than a thousand constituents secure unemployment insurance benefits. As Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Local Government, Jim worked day and night with municipalities to ensure they had the tools at their disposal to adapt and operate during COVID-19. In Albany, Jim wrote the “COVID-19 Emergency Homeownership Stability Program” to provide mortgage and property tax relief for struggling homeowners, and voted on measures to secure rent relief and mortgage forbearance for those who lost income, protect consumers from utility termination, increase access to telehealth services, and prohibit price gouging of medical supplies.
When an in-depth Newsday investigation shone a light on just how common racial discrimination remains in real estate, Jim immediate introduced a bill to revoke the license of any realtor engaged in discriminatory practices. That bill, recently signed into law, closed a long-standing loophole in New York’s Civil Rights Law that led to potential homebuyers being directed to certain communities because of their race. We still have much more work to do to end the inequities in New York, and Jim is committed to continuing the fight for justice and equality.
Voting & Election Reforms
For years, the Republican State Senate blocked basic reforms to strengthen our voting systems, increase voter participation and bring integrity to our elections. Jim worked to pass historic legislation to increase voter accessibility, including bills to establish early voting, modernize voter registration and no excuse absentee voting. Jim has also imposed limits on LLC contributions and supports an amendment to overturn Citizens United to prevent corporations from influencing our elections. Jim is committed to standing up to Washington’s pitiful attempts to restrict participation for eligible voters and will work to ensure your voices are heard.
Protecting our Communities from Gun Violence
Over the last two decades, far too many communities have fallen victim to senseless gun violence, and each time our federal lawmakers have failed to enact change. I am proud to have passed some of the most progressive common sense gun reforms in the Country, including New York’s groundbreaking Red Flag Law, banning bump stock attachments, closing the out-of-state gun loophole and implementing stronger background checks.
Supporting Women & Families
With the Trump Administration and the Supreme Court threatening to dismantle a woman’s right to choose, Jim and the Senate Democratic Majority stood up to ensure reproductive health rights are guaranteed in New York. Jim enthusiastically voted for the Reproductive Health Act to codify the protections guaranteed under Roe v Wade into state law, and will continue to work with his colleagues to stand up to Washington’s disgusting attempts to limit women’s access to healthcare.
Providing Justice for Survivors
For decades, survivors of childhood abuse were denied justice in New York. In 2019, Jim and his colleagues in the new Democratic Senate Majority passed the Child Victims’ Act to ensure survivors are given the opportunity to seek justice against their abusers. He also worked diligently to extend the window for survivors to file claims due to COVID-19, and has introduced legislation to create a fund to assist victims of childhood sexual assault with civil legal services and fees as they seek justice.
Jim knows that organized labor helped build the middle class in this country by fighting for workers rights and a safe work environment. In the State Senate, Jim joined that fight by helping pass the Farm Laborers Fair Practices Act, the New York Call Center Jobs Act, bills that provide unemployment benefit eligibility for striking workers and increase equal pay protections by prohibiting the use of wage history. Jim is committed to ensuring that good paying jobs stay in New York to drive a healthy economy and strong communities.
New York American Water
New York American Water is holding 4,500 families in Sea Cliff, Glen Head, and Glenwood Landing and surrounding communities hostage to exorbitant water rates. Jim is fighting to give those families the option to switch to a municipal provider. In his first year, Jim secured a $75,000 grant for the Village of Sea Cliff to conduct a study to examine the impact of switching to public water and has passed legislation in the Senate to create a “North Shore Water Authority” if the community choses to shift to public water.
Protecting our Essential Workers
When COVID-19 struck New York, we all asked each other to stay home to help flatten the curve. At the same time, men and women of every background were asked to step out of safety of their homes and show up to work for us. Doctors, nurses, grocers, police officers, firefighters and delivery workers: if they didn’t show up for us, we would have all been lost. But as the COVID crisis stretched on, frustrated individuals began to target those “essential” workers with acts of violence. I drafted a bill, S08286A, to increase penalties for those who would attack the heroes who put themselves at risk to keep us safe. We owe these women and men so much more, and I will keep fighting for each of them.
Demanding Stronger Ethics Laws
Jim and the Senate Democratic Majority have worked to restore integrity in Albany and across the State. They closed the LLC loophole to take dark money out of politics, held hearings on sexual harassment and passed laws to protect New Yorkers from employment and housing discrimination. Jim knows we can do more which is why he cosponsors measures that create an independent ethics enforcement agency to prevent corruption at the highest levels of government and overturn Citizens United to prevent undue corporate influence on our elections.
Over 30 years ago, Jim cast the deciding vote in the Suffolk County Legislature to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and has continued to fight for equality for all ever since. It was the first of its kind in New York State, and one of the first in the nation; though it was still a controversial subject back in the 1980s, it remains one of Jim’s proudest votes he’s ever taken. But he knows we still have work to do in the fight for true equality. This session, Jim was proud to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), and enact laws to ban conversion therapy and eliminate “gay panic” as a defense for murderer.
Combating Sexual Harassment
We have witnessed tremendous acts of bravery from women across the U.S. standing up and calling out the widespread and systemic instances of harassment, assault and inequality through the #MeToo Movement. As your State Senator, Jim is a strong ally in the fight for equality and anti-retaliation protections for those who speak out, and has proudly supported measures to increase protections to employees who face discrimination in the workplace and lengthen the status of limitations for rape, criminal sexual acts and incest to increase survivor access to justice.