A top Cuomo Administration official promoted the governor's ambitious new year legislative agenda at a public gathering Tuesday at Farmingdale State College.
Ben Lawsky, superintendent of the state Department of Financial Services, delivered the regional State-of-the-State message to about 100 people gathered at a college lecture hall.
Lawsky outlined the governor's key components contained in last week's State-of-the-State message, including some details specific to this part of Long Island:
- Economics: Attracting good jobs through incentives to research firms and venture capitalists while raising the minimum wage to $8.75 an hour.
- Women: Placing women's rights at the forefront of major new legislation.
- Education: Major reforms to education, including moves toward increasing the time students spend in school and developing more highly trained teachers and "Master" teachers.
- LIPA: Creating an "Energy Czar" to oversee all of New York's energy production and delivery systems.
Major new gun control was also part of the proposals, a measure that was being considered by the state Assembly while Lawsky was delivering his message. The Assembly passed the stricter gun-control measure later Tuesday afternoon.
"If you don't get rid of those assault weapons you run the risk of having more Newtowns," Lawsky said, prior to the Assembly's passage.
On the major points, Lawsky said the state economy has some 20,000 unfilled jobs because of a lack of qualified candidates. New York is also falling behind other states in attracting venture capital to place high tech industries on Long Island and elsewhere.
In education, Lawsky said 180 school days is no longer sufficient for New York's students to stay competitive in a global economy. He cited South Korea's 206 school days and Canada's 190 days. Both countries are scoring higher in reading, math and science than the United States, he said.
On women's rights, Lawsky said the governor wants to see sweeping laws to protect women in the workplace as well as in matters of health care and equal housing.
And, on energy, Lawsky said there appears to be consensus that LIPA's performance during Hurricane Sandy was unacceptable and changes are needed. Lawsky, who is a member of the Moreland Commission investigating LIPA's storm response, says privatization is one of the ways the state is considering to make service better on Long Island.
A final decision on LIPA's fate hasn't been reached, he said.
Patch is reaching out to members of the Legislature's Long Island's Republicans for reaction to the governor's proposals.