Letter to the Editor: Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci Reflects on 2015 Legislative Session
July 3, 2015
by Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (R,C,I-South Huntington)
LONG ISLAND, NY – As we depart from Albany at the conclusion of the 2015 legislative session, my Assembly Minority colleagues and I are returning to our districts with a heightened sense of frustration and disappointment. Although during this session there were many meaningful and beneficial reforms supported and ultimately passed by the Minority conference, this session was tainted by controversy caused by the betrayal of public trust from scandal-ridden members of Assembly leadership. These actions, unfortunately, will cause the people of New York to remember the 2015 legislative session for the wrongdoings of a few, as opposed to the accomplishments of the Assembly as a whole.
The distractions mentioned above, coupled with a perpetual one-party legislative agenda, caused some very meaningful legislation to be ignored this year. While I am dissatisfied with much of what was left out of this session, I am also hopeful that next year we can shed light on these many neglected issues, such as:
Passing Comprehensive Ethics Reform. New York State must reform its ethics code in order to regain the public trust. Many of my colleagues and I have proposed enacting stiffer penalties for those who violate the law while holding elected office and also enacting term limits for all members of leadership. We also must pass legislation that punishes those convicted of corruption in office with pension forfeiture.
Increasing Tuition Assistance Programs. As the Ranking Member on the Assembly Committee on Higher Education and a college professor, I know that college affordability is an extremely important issue in our communities. Student debt has reached all-time-high levels, and that is why I’ve supported legislation that will allow students to earn an affordable bachelor’s degree at no cost higher than $10,000 at participating institutions. Though we have passed increases in the Tuition Assistance Program award, we must do more to combat rising costs of higher education.
Delaying, Reforming and Releasing all Common Core tests. The state’s education system will be in turmoil until flawed programs, like Common Core and Annual Professional Performance Review, are amended to best suit the public schools of New York State. Long Island’s public schools are built for success; we need to address the issues that may compromise that success, like unfair teacher evaluations and over-testing of our schoolchildren.
Voting in the Assembly on Mixed Martial Arts. Despite widespread bipartisan support, a vote on this topic has been blocked by the Assembly Majority for years. New York, due to the Majority’s inaction, has fallen behind in generating revenue from this sport, although there is overwhelming support for these events in New York’s stadiums and arenas.
Putting an End to Unfunded Mandates. Unfunded mandates place an unnecessary burden on every taxpayer in New York State. Since my election in 2012, I have been committed to ending these mandates in our school districts and in our business sector for the benefit of the taxpayer. We must do more to end all of New York State’s copious unfunded mandates.
When we reconvene next year, it is my hope that we address these important matters. It is my responsibility to represent my constituents, the thousands of local businesses in the 10th Assembly District and the millions residing on Long Island while in Albany. We must set a higher standard for the people of New York State.
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