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January 2013 - In this issue:

New York Passes The Toughest Gun Control Law In The Country Kellner To The Next Mayor: Time To Reexamine The East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station "Innovation NY" & The Angel Investor Tax Credit Assembly Member Kellner Introduces Important Election Recount Legislation The Fight Continues Against Hydrofracking in New York Assembly Member Kellner Takes A Stand Against Partisan Politics A Victory For Families Of Gifted And Talented Students Community & City Education Council Selection Begins - Get Involved New York City Parks Is Hiring Lifeguards For The Summer We Are Now The 76th Assembly District Apply For A Community Grant Through Citizens Committee For New York Free Monthly Legal Clinic For Tenants Do You Have An Idea For Legislation?
Visit my website: Follow me on Twitter: @micahkellner

New York Passes The Toughest Gun Control Law In The Country
The shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut and Webster, New York were terrible tragedies, evoking a national outpouring of sadness, grief, and the demand to end senseless gun violence. Last week, the Legislature passed the NY SAFE Act, a first-in-the-nation law that I co-sponsored, giving New York the strongest gun controls in America. The NY SAFE Act strengthens New York States existing assault weapons ban, increases criminal penalties for the illegal use of guns, outlaws all highcapacity ammunition magazines and limits the capacity of clips sold in New York State to no more than 7 rounds. For the first time, individuals are now required to undergo a state background check before being allowed to purchase ammunition to ensure criminals with illegal guns no longer have easy access to bullets. The NY SAFE Act establishes a statewide database for handgun licenses, enabling the State Police to crosscheck the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to determine if any current licensees 1

have been legally disqualified from possessing firearms under federal law. The new law also requires mental-health professionals to report to law enforcement when they believe a person receiving mental-health services is a danger to themselves or others. Those who possess a firearm license will have their license revoked or suspended and be required to surrender their firearms. While there is more still that we must do on a national level, New York now has the strongest gun laws in the country. The measures in the NY SAFE Act will go a long way to securing all New Yorkers and making us a far safer state.

Kellner To The Next Mayor: Time to Reexamine The East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station
In the past year, I have sued Mayor Bloomberg and the Army Corps of Engineers to stop the proposed East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station (MTS). But my actions have not been limited to court battles. I sent a letter - signed by all of my East Side colleagues - inviting the mayoral candidates to see

the MTS site with their own eyes. The next mayor will be in a position to change the City's Solid Waste Management Plan and I want the candidates to understand why building a garbage dump in a residential neighborhood is a terrible idea. The City's Solid Waste Management Plan - proposed by Mayor Bloomberg and approved by the City Council in 2006 - includes building the MTS right over Asphalt Green, a recreational facility used by 11,000 adults and 31,000 children every year. The cost of building the MTS has grown exponentially. While the City initially said it would cost $55 million, it is now estimated at over $200 million. The next administration will have to pay for its construction and operation. However, there is an opportunity to stop funding this unnecessary project before it is too late. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, locating the MTS in the middle of Flood Zone A is extremely dangerous and would have significant risks. During Sandy, water rose well above sea level. Asphalt Greens playground - and the MTS site - were flooded by East River water, which traveled as far west as Second Avenue. During a future storm, the MTS would put thousands of tons of garbage on a path flowing through the East Side of Manhattan. Asphalt Green is one of our community's most valuable resources, providing one of the few remaining recreational open spaces for children. The City's plan to build the MTS threatens the health and safety of the children and adults who use Asphalt Green every day. Preserving the health of New York's children must be a priority for all elected officials - especially our next mayor. I urge the candidates to see firsthand the impact of building the MTS. It is not too late to protect New York Citys children.

finance reform, provide equality for women and raise the minimum wage for working New Yorkers. Although New York has world-renowned academic institutions, we do not successfully bring ideas from these schools to the marketplace. To facilitate this transfer of ideas, the Governor announced the creation of an Innovation NY Network, which partners venture capitalists with leaders in higher education. He proposed creating innovation hot spots tax free zones to ensure that new technologies developed in New York are commercialized here. Also, he announced a $50 million venture capital fund to provide grants to successful start-ups. Encouraging new businesses to thrive is something I have long promoted, as the sponsor of an Angel Investor Tax Credit, which provides tax breaks to individuals who invest in start-ups, so companies that develop in New York remain here. We need to make sure start-ups can get off the ground. One way to do that is to encourage investment. Other states that have angel investor tax credits have seen start-up investments rise by over 500%. We must achieve similar successes here in New York, or we are going to see talented people invent the next Google or Facebook in other parts of the country. Our economy must diversify and - to do that - we must attract talented people to live, work and grow businesses in New York.

Assembly Member Kellner Introduces Important Election Recount Legislation

Although a winner was officially declared in an upstate Senate race last week, we still do not really know who won - because not all of the ballots were counted. Right now, in New York State, each local board of elections has the ability to set its own recount standards. This inconsistency has led to uncounted votes (like the 250 uncounted ballots in last week's Senate race). This has to stop.

"Innovation NY" & The Angel Investor Tax Credit

In his State of the State Address, Governor Cuomo put forward a progressive agenda to make New York a model for equality, innovation, education and technology. I look forward to working with him and his administration to enact meaningful campaign 2

I recently introduced legislation to finally set a statewide standard for when an automatic hand recount would apply in an election that's too close to call. In its January 20th editorial, The Daily News called my bill "the way to go". In New York City, a hand recount is required if the margin of victory is less than one-half of 1%. My bill takes it a step further: if a candidate for statewide office wins with an initial margin of victory less than one-fourth of 1% (or less than 10 votes), an automatic hand recount must take place. In local races, the margin has to be less than one-half of 1% (or less 10 votes). Currently New York State recounts only 3% of all votes randomly. Election experts agree that one way to improve our rating is to enact legislation like mine. I look forward to passing this legislation and having it signed into law so that every single vote in New York is counted fairly and accurately.

will be prevented or reduced below levels of significant health concern. Thus, significant adverse impacts on human health are not expected from routine operations. This dubious claim, however, is the basis for the States plan to safeguard New Yorkers from the effects of hydrofracking. The Department of Environmental Conservation and upstate health departments have documented numerous incidents of exposure. Saying there are no negative effects does not make it true. I joined with many of my Assembly colleagues in a letter to Governor Cuomo demanding an immediate written public notice about the DOH Review, a release of the health impact analysis, and for a public hearing to take place. I have advocated for a broader health impact study of hydrofracking for over a year because we cannot jump into hydrofracking without fully understanding all of its ramifications first.

The Fight Continues Against Hydrofracking in New York

For several years, there has been an effort underway to allow drilling for natural gas in upstate New York through a process known as hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as hydrofracking. Hydrofracking uses a mixture of nearly 600 chemicals, many of them kept secret from the public, and millions of gallons of water, which are blasted underground in order to destabilize rock and shale to extract natural gas. I have opposed hydrofracking from the very beginning because it is not yet proven that it can be done safely and without poisoning our water or causing other environmental damage. Hydrofracking poses a real danger to our state and, last year, I sponsored a bill in the Assembly to ban it entirely. In September, the State Department of Health (DOH) announced it would conduct a health impact analysis on the effects of hydrofracking, which, so far, no one has seen. The New York Times recently released a year-old state document which asserts that during the hydrofracking process, human chemical exposures 3

Assembly Member Kellner Takes A Stand Against Partisan Politics

For the second year in a row, I voted no on a constitutional amendment that would enshrine partisan politics into our redistricting process. I have always supported a nonpartisan and fair redistricting process that would take the power to redraw districts out of the hands of the Legislature. Unfortunately, this amendment allows legislators to reject their own district lines. New Yorkers want and deserve fair and honest government, which can only start with fair and honest districts, not backroom political deals. Continuing a system that allows politicians to pick their voters fundamentally undermines and endangers our democracy. This amendment will go before the voters in 2014. I urge you to join me in voting no.

A Victory For Families Of Gifted And Talented Students

For years, younger siblings of Gifted & Talented students were given top priority in citywide gifted programs if they scored in the 97th percentile. However, last fall, The Department of Education proposed changing its policy so that siblings would only have priority over non-siblings as a tiebreaker, if they receive an identical score on the entrance exam as their older sibling. My office received dozens of calls and emails from the community demanding action. They told me that the parents of students who work hard enough to get into gifted programs should be able to have any subsequent child in the program too as long as they pass the test, not if they are just as smart as their brother or sister. After hearing our concerns, I am proud to say that the Department of Education cancelled its proposed changes and will stick with the plan in place for the 2013-14 school year. I applaud the Department of Education for listening to our community and correcting the issue. For admission in the fall, the Department of Education will use the same process and policy used for 2012 admission: Eligible siblings of students currently enrolled at a school (in grades K-5 for the following September) will be placed first. For Citywide programs, siblings scoring at or above the 97th percentile will be placed first, by percentile rank. For district programs, siblings scoring at or above the 90th percentile will be placed first, by percentile rank. After all eligible siblings have been placed, non-sibling applicants will be placed by percentile rank. In any case where there are multiple students with the same sibling priority and score, and not enough seats for all of them, offers will be made based upon a random assignment process.

Beginning in February, the Department of Education (DOE) will begin the 2013 Community and Citywide Education Council selection process. Education Councils play a crucial role in shaping policies for our public schools and provide valuable advice to education officials on community concerns. The DOE undertakes Community and Citywide Education Council selection once every two years. This year, however, the DOE is seeking to increase the size of the parent applicant pool by providing a more transparent and informative process. I have worked on education issues my entire career. I have worked with parents, teachers, principals, and the DOE on issues that confront schoolchildren every single day. I know the impact of these Councils and I urge every parent who wants to protect the interests of their kids schools to nominate themselves for a seat. Parents serve a two-year term on 36 Councils throughout the City, including the Community Education Councils, Citywide Council on High Schools, Citywide Council on English Language Learners, Citywide Council on Special Education, and the District 75 Citywide Council. Applicants will be able to apply either online at or by sending in paper ballots (which can be printed from the website). Applications for nomination are due between February 13th and March 13th. Please feel free to call my office if you have any questions or concerns at (212) 860-4906.

New York City Parks Is Hiring Lifeguards for the Summer

Do you want to spend your summer at the beach and get paid for it? Try out for New York City's Lifeguard Training Program. The City Parks Department is expanding its recruitment efforts this year to find lifeguards for its 55 outdoor pools and eight beaches throughout the five boroughs. Working as a lifeguard provides 4

Community & City Education Council Selection Begins - Get Involved

young people with the chance to be a part of a large public organization committed to public safety. The minimum qualifications to enter the training course are that participants: be at least 16 years old at the time of employment have eyesight no worse than 20/30 in one eye and 20/40 in the other eye be able to swim 50 yards in 35 seconds with proper form Those who qualify will enter the training program, which consists of swimming and rescue techniques, first-aid and CPR. The program is not only free, but candidates who successfully complete the course will be paid for their time spent in training once they begin working as a lifeguard. First year lifeguards will earn at least $13.57 an hour. Most lifeguards will work six days a week during the season. The City needs excited, energetic young people to protect the swimmers at our pools and beaches. Apply for training on the Parks Department's website here.

The new 76th Assembly District

Since 2007, I represented the 65th Assembly District, stretching from 60th Street all the way up to 95th Street on the East Side. After New Yorks redistricting process last year, I now represent the 76th Assembly District. The district shifted a few blocks in some spots, but I will still represent most of the old 65th district, including Roosevelt Island. My staff remains in place and on hand to help you and your families with any community issues you have. Please do not hesitate to contact us at (212) 8604906.

Apply For A Community Grant Through Citizens Committee For New York
Citizens Committee for New York Cityawards microgrants between $500 - $3,000 to resident-led groups to work on community and school improvement projects throughout the city. Groups based in low income neighborhoods and Title I public schools are given priority. Recent awards have enabled neighbors to come together to make healthy food available in their communities, transform empty lots into community gardens, organize tenants to advocate for better housing conditions, and start school recycling drives. Download the application here. The deadline is January 31, 2013.

We Are Now The 76th Assembly District

Free Monthly Legal Clinic For Tenants

I continue to work with Eviction Intervention Services to offer a free monthly legal clinic for tenants. If your landlord is harassing you or threatening you with eviction, or is refusing to make necessary repairs, and you can't afford to hire a lawyer, come consult one of our volunteer attorneys. The clinic is held the first Monday of every month at 1233 Second Avenue (between East 64th and 65th Streets) with appointments from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The next clinic will be on Monday, February 4th. 5

The clinic is by appointment only. Please call my office at (212) 860-4906 to schedule an appointment.

Do You Have An Idea For Legislation?

Is there legislation you think I should be working on in Albany? I want to hear from you. Call my office at (212) 860-4906 or email me at to tell me about any ideas you have.

Contact My Office: District Office of Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner 1365 First Avenue New York, NY 10065 T: (212) 860-4906 F: (917) 432-2983 Hours: M-F 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Email me: Visit my website: