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Schimel: State Assembly Update

Admittedly “very busy” up in Albany, New York State Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel is at least equally busy down the 16th Assembly District.

 

While she always seems to be working on overload on environmental issues and working to stop illegal guns, Schimel’s district office in Great Neck Plaza bustles with constituents and their concerns.

 

“A good percentage of our time is spent helping people...insurance issues, health care, even stop signs,” Schimel told Anton Community Newspapers during a recent interview.  

 

Both in Albany and downstate, Schimel resident is working on a range of issues. Here are some addressed in the interview:

• Common Core curriculum. She has called for “at least a two-year delay in the Common Core.” While she does support the Common Core standards, the “hasty incorporation of the Common Core standards and the revised state assessments” are a “great concern.” She has spent a great deal of time meeting with parents and educators, as well as attending public hearings. 

• Student privacy. “It is imperative that the sharing of student information with inBloom is delayed until questions regarding the protection of student data from security breaches, the necessity of the details being shared and the potential for the commercialization of this sensitive and private data, have all been answered,” she said of the private data company underwritten by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

• School funding. Schimel is working to eliminate the use of the GEA formula, and to restore GAP elimination funding to school districts. The GEA (Gap Elimination Adjustment) is a formula in the state budget that reduces the amount of aid each school district receives. Introduced a few years ago to trim the state’s budget deficit, the program has cut state aid to school districts by $6.35 billion, with Long Island school districts losing nearly $1 billion. Schimel explains that the GEA increases dependence on local property taxes to fund schools, yet the school districts are faced with a tax cap.

• Tax cap. She is introducing legislation to amend the tax cap law so that school districts can increase their budget over the tax levy limit without a super-majority vote.

• The Women’s Equality Act (WEA). As a member of the Women’s Legislative Caucus, she has been “advocating for the passage of the full 10 points of the WEA.” The points include: a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body; pay equity; stopping sexual harassment in the workplace; strengthen human trafficking laws; better protection for domestic violence victims and ending their housing discrimination; stopping pregnancy discrimination; removing barriers to remedying discrimination; stopping source-of-income discrimination. She is proud that the Assembly passed the full measure of this bill.

• The environment. She recently introduced a bill that would prohibit the sale of personal-care products and cosmetics that contain microbeads, tiny micro-polymer (plastic) particles used in many such products. “Recent scientific studies have found that microbeads are polluting our waterways,” she said. Fish eat these pollutants and the fish eventually become food for humans. Her bill, she said, will help prevent further such pollution.

• Triclosan. Schimel introduced legislation to prohibit the sale of personal products containing triclosan, which she reports that “several studies” claim to cause adverse health effects.

• Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). “It is an international trade agreement currently being negotiated behind closed doors by the United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries ... which the Obama Administration is trying to fast-track.” Further, she said “Fast-track approval would prohibit Congress from making any changes to the trade deal once it is finalized.”

She has organized a bipartisan group of 40 New York State Assembly members to send a letter to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, asking him to assess TPP’s potential impact on state and local governments.” She added that “Of particular concern is the threat that TPP poses to the rights of states to enact and enforce environmental and health protections.”

• Gun control. A longtime advocate for putting an end to illegal guns and gun violence, Schimel is still fighting.


News

The debate over New York State Common Core standards continues, with students from local school districts showing a mild resistance to the exams.

 

According to the New York State Allies for Public Education, 39 students in the Herricks School District opted out of the English exam, while 74 did not take the math test. For the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District, 17 students did not take the English test while 18 refused to take the math test.

At the Oct. 17 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Bierwirth discussed the recent investigation of students who have been illegally attending school in the Herricks School District, despite living in outer areas. Bierwirth said that 14 prospective cases were investigated and eight students were forced to leave the district.

 

Board of Education President James Gounaris said weeding out students who are attending school in Herricks under false pretenses is boiled down to one fact: it takes away valuable resources from the children of tax-paying members of the community.


Sports

The Sewanhaka Indians varsity football team hosted Elmont Spartans on Saturday, Oct. 18 in its final home game of the regular season. 

 

It certainly did not go as the Indians had hoped, falling 18-8, in a mistake filled game. Head coach George Kasimatis said the Indians had their chances, but kept digging themselves into a hole with mental mistakes on both sides of the ball. 

 

Playing from behind, senior running back Brenton Mighty was able to break free for a long touchdown run, to put the Indians on the board. 

Sewanhaka Indians Head football coach George Kasimatis told his team to expect a dogfight in this weeks game against the New Hyde Park Gladiators, and he was right after its 35-21 victory last week. 

 

“All the kids know each other really well, it’s always competitive when we play each other,” he said. 


Calendar

PTA Meeting - October 22

International Night - October 23

Halloween Dance - October 24


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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