As budget season for New York State is behind us once again, I am happy to spend more time in the community and turn my attention to legislative issues in Albany.
As this year's legislative session winds to an end, I've been hearing from constituents about the issues they'd like me to prioritize in the final months of session. My top priorities for these last few weeks will continue to be education, prison reform, environmental protection, advancement for the LGBTQ community, ethics reform,among other reforms that I am proud to have supported already -- Paid Family Leave & the Minimum Wage Increase. In my capacity as the Chair of the Assembly Corrections Committee, I will be fighting for important pieces of legislation to bring much needed transparency to our criminal justice system. Two of my priority corrections bills are the following:
Assembly bill 9332 is an act to repeal 50-a of the civil rights law, relating to personnel records of police officers, firefighters, and corrections officers. Under section 50-a, such records are considered confidential unless released by the written consent of the officer.A9332 repeals this section, subjecting personnel records to release if mandated by a lawful court order. Access to such files will illustrate the officials' background, history, disciplinary actions and recognition - information that courts deserve so that they may fairly assess all relevant evidence in a law enforcement investigation. In a letter to the editor at the
Times Union, I explain that if Section 50-a of New York's Civil Rights Code was passed in 1976 to address specific issues of that time, the law should be revisited so as to address the troubled present-day relationship between law enforcement and our communities.A9332 is a sensible response to our need for policing reform. It will serve to uphold the integrity of our judicial systems as well as to protect officers and civilians from wrongful persecution. You can read my letter to the editor hereand read the proposed legislation here.
Assembly bill 9939 is an act to bring independent oversight of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) by creating The Office of the Correctional Ombudsman. There is a current inherent conflict of interest in having DOCCS staff investigate incidents involving correctional employees. DOCCS investigators, most of whom are former or current security staff, are not impartial or unbiased, nor is it reasonable to expect them to be so given the very polarized atmosphere of some prisons in which both inmates and staff feel unsafe. This bill would not force DOCCS to stop investigating unusual incidents in its prisons, it would simply create an independent public oversight agency, the office of the correctional ombudsman, to monitor the prisons, investigate complaints and report to the governor, the legislature, DOCCS and the public. The goal of this legislation is to achieve transparency, fairness, impartiality and accountability in our state correctional system. Many other states and countries have ombudsman or inspector generals who remain outside of the correctional department and who work with its staff to create safer and more humane prisons. That is the role envisioned for the Office of the Correctional Ombudsman; to solve problems, provide transparency and make recommendations to the Department. To read the full text of the bill, click here..
From now until the end of June, I look forward to working with my colleagues on progressive legislation, and hope to continue to hear from constituents on issues that are important to you.
As always, should you need assistance or information, my Community Office is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM. Feel free to call my office at (212) 866-3970 or email me at email@example.com. I also encourage you to follow my official New York State Assembly Twitter & Facebook accounts to get exclusive insight into the work I'm doing in my district and for all New Yorkers by visiting www.twitter.com/dannyodonnellny and www.facebook.com/danieljodonnellny.
Very truly yours,
Assembly Member O'Donnell News Features
In case you missed it, check out these news features of Assembly Member
O'Donnell in March 2016.
The Times Union published Assembly Member O'Donnell's op-ed regarding independent oversight of the state correctional system, gaining access to the personnel records of officers, and the establishment of a pilot program for the use of body cameras on officers: http://bit.ly/1ZFFFgd
The Legislative Gazette covers Assembly Members O'Donnell & Glick's announcement of $75,000 towards civil legal services for members of the transgender community: http://bit.ly/1TFe2iQ
The Times Union, Instinct Magazine, and ThinkProgress cover Assembly Member O'Donnell's call to ban state funded travel to Mississippi and to support his bill A6913, which bans state funded travel to all states that use religious freedom to discriminate: http://bit.ly/24OsReo, http://bit.ly/24OsK2s, & http://bit.ly/1SCtfB5
The Second Annual Love Your Street Tree Day
When: Sunday, May 22nd 2016 at Noon: Rain or Shine
Where: The Urban Assembly School for Green Careers Garden
(Amsterdam Avenue at 84th Street)
Join the West 80's Neighborhood Association, Community Board 7, NYC Parks Department, Sanitation Department, local businesses and non-profits, students and parents, environmental organizations, elected officials, and community groups as we gather for the annual Spring cleanup and beautification day on the UWS.
First come, first serve to receive a free tree care goodie bag with gardening supplies, curb your dog sign, and other gifts. Mulch, compost and pails will be provided too!
Watch a tree stewardship demonstration and then "adopt" a tree/s on your block or in the neighborhood for tree care and sidewalk cleanup. Learn how important urban trees are to our health, environment and economy, and how properly cared for permeable soil slows down stormwater runoff into our waterways preventing combined sewage overflows. Learn why litter and especially plastics are so detrimental to our rivers and oceans, and what we can all do to reduce our ecological footprint and move towards a zero waste closed loop system. Learn about composting and watch a worm bin demonstration. Have fun meeting other volunteers who love NYC trees and want to help improve our neighborhood!
New York City Housing Authority Environmental Ambassadors
Live at NYCHA and love your community? Help keep it clean and green by joining
Environmental Ambassadors! Environmental Ambassadors are NYCHA residents who are trained by GrowNYC to become community recycling experts. After completing 2 recycling workshops, Environmental Ambassadors conduct 12 hours of local outreach at their development to encourage their neighbors to participate in the NYCHA Recycles! Program (http://on.nyc.gov/1QRPckN). Environmental Ambassadors help to make a positive change where they live.
Participants must be 18 years of age or older, and currently reside at a NYCHA development.
Sign up Early for Community Supported Agriculture Membership and Save!
If you are interested in Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), purchasing a CSA membership may be right for you. Membership is a convenient way to get weekly or biweekly fresh produce delivered to a drop-off location near you. Becoming a CSA member entails purchasing a "share" of fresh produce from a regional farmer and paying upfront to receive boxes brimming with fresh produce for an entire season. Contents of the shares vary, most commonly include vegetables, and often fruit. Many farmers are now also offering dairy, eggs, and meat for an additional charge. Typical prices are between $400-$600 for a weekly box of produce between June and November. There are also usually opportunities to purchase half shares or other ways to get smaller amounts. Some farms accept food stamps and offer sliding scales for fees, including the West Harlem CSA. Below are some CSA's in neighborhood:
Through the historic Pre-K for All initiative, New York City is leading the nation in making
free, full-day, high-quality pre-K available to all of its four-year-olds-an initiative propelled by great teachers. Pre-K for All teachers design dynamic classroom experiences that captivate New York City's youngest learners and instill the critical vocabulary, oral language and problem-solving skills they need to flourish in kindergarten and beyond.
Pre-K for All gives children stronger math and reading skills in elementary school and a better chance at success in life. Studies show that early childhood education improves performance throughout a child's school experience.
If you applied to pre-K in the Main Round, the deadline to accept your offer and pre-register is May 20-you must pre-register in person with the required documentation at the program whose offer you are accepting. Offer letters were mailed the week of May 2, 2016.
You can also explore Round 2 pre-K program options and apply in Round 2. Submitting a Round 2 application does not affect your current offer or waitlist status. Use the Pre-K Finder and the Round 2 Program List to explore your options.
All applications received by the May 20 deadline are treated the same-their application process is not first-come, first-served. You can update your application until the May 20 deadline if you have already submitted.
NYCHA Scholarship Fund
CHW Scholarship Fund for Public & Affordable Housing Residents
The Cannon Heyman & Weiss Scholarship Fund is awarding up to $17,000 in scholarship awards to residents of affordable housing who are accepted into full- and part-time study at approved colleges, junior colleges, technical schools, and other post-secondary institutions leading to a degree, diploma or certificate.
Eligibility criteria: "Affordable Housing" means multi-family residential rental housing in New York State financed by Federal, State or local subsidies including either project-based Section 8 subsidy or portable Section 8 vouchers.
Application Deadline: May 17, 2016
To access the CHW Scholarship Fund Application, visit
NYCHA offers two types of scholarships to support our residents as they increase their income and assets through higher education. The NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship awards a one-time $1,000 grant to eligible residents who are full-time undergraduates at a City University of New York (CUNY) college, and the Regina A. Figueroa Memorial Scholarship offers a one-time $1,000 award to eligible residents with disabilities who are enrolled in a CUNY undergraduate program.
Eligibility Criteria: Authorized NYCHA public housing residents; full-time, enrolled undergraduate CUNY students; 25 or more credits; minimum 3.0 GPA.
Application Deadline: June 25, 2016
Applications will be available starting May 1st. Check out their FAQ by visiting
This summer, New York City public school students across all five boroughs will be able to take classes in City schools, including students who are not required to attend summer school, thanks to the Department of Education's (DOE) new Summer in the City (SITC) initiative.
SITC is a brand-new approach to summer school for students in grades 2-12, as it combines new curricula, college-level and STEM-oriented instruction, and educational visits to many of the City's cultural institutions. SITC will run from July 7 through August 11 at over 300 sites in all five boroughs and will serve more than 150,000 students.
The SITC program, which will include both mandated (students who must complete summer school for grade promotion) and non-mandated students, seeks to address the many of the shortcomings that affect conventional summer school instruction by focusing on learning instead of remediation.
NYC Parks is currently looking for enthusiastic job seekers who have a passion for helping New Yorkers get fit, learn about the natural world, play sports, and have fun through their free public programming citywide. NYC Parks is looking to fill positions including:
Swim Instructors Summer Camp Counselors Seasonal Urban Park Rangers "Kids in Motion" Playground Associates Mobile Recreation Unit Playground Associates and Supervisors "Summer Sports Experience" Playground Associates Piping Plover Monitors Adventure Course Facilitators
The length of employment for these positions ranges from two - eight months with pay rates up to $19.51/hour. Those that are interested can go to their website to view all of their seasonal job opportunities, which also include maintenance and other skilled trade positions.
The Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group and What a Neighborhood! present bassist/composer Laurence Goldman, the Orfeo Duo (Ishmael Wallace, piano and baritone, and Vita Wallace, violin and accordion), the New York Mandolin Orchestra, and the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band in a free, bilingual concert illuminating our neighborhood's history;
Tuesday May 24 at 6:30 pm at Hostelling International (891 Amsterdam Avenue at 103rd Street).
For more information, please call 347-799-2668 or visit
The NYS STEM Incentive Program provides a full SUNY or CUNY tuition scholarship for the top 10 percent of students in each New York State high school if they pursue a STEM degree in an associates or bachelor degree program and agree to work in a STEM field in New York State for 5 years after graduation.
The deadline for submitting the NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program Application is August 15, 2016.
The NYC Organics Collection Program
New York City runs one of the largest food waste recycling programs of its kind, collecting organic waste from residences, schools, city agencies, and institutions in all five boroughs. Every week, the Department of Sanitation collects food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard waste from participants in pilot areas. Sanitation transports this waste to local and regional processing facilities where it is recycled into compost or turned into renewable energy.
To request NYC Organics Collection in your apartment building, city agency, or non-profit organization, submit an online inquiry at http://nyc.gov/organics
Single-Family homes and small apartment buildings in pilot areas automatically receive service, as well as select public schools. If you don't live in a pilot area or if your building does not qualify for NYC Organics Collection, you can still recycle your organic waste by composting at home or bringing your food waste to a drop-off site in our community. Visit http://nyc.gov/compostproject for food waste drop off locations and more information.
The office of Assembly Member O'Donnell urges the community to participate in this initiative, as the NYC Organics Collection Program is a proven way to combat rodent infestation on our streets and in our spaces.
Summer on the Hudson
Summer on the Hudson is the Parks Department's annual outdoor arts & culture festival that takes place in Riverside Park from 59th Street to 153rd Street. With a mix of music concerts, dance performances, movies under the stars, DJ dance parties, kids' shows, special events, wellness activities, and more there is something for everyone!
All programs and events are free to the public and registration is not required unless specifically stated in event information.
On Saturday, May 14th join Bloomingdale School of Music (323 West 108th Street) anytime between 9:00am and 9:00pm for the school's annual "Performathon", 12 hours of music performed by BSM students. This day-long event raises funds for the school's scholarship and financial aid programs. Free and Open to the Public. Call 212-663-6021 ext. 0 for more info.
On Sunday, May 15th join Bloomingdale School of Music (323 West 108th Street) at 3:00pm for a faculty concert entitled "Babar the Elephant" A trip through two delightful and picturesque worlds: Poulenc's L'Histoire de Babar and Granados' La Maya y el Ruisenor. Free and Open to the Public. Call 212-663-6021 ext. 0 for more info.
On Friday, May 20th join Bloomingdale School of Music (323 West 108th Street) at 7:00pm for a faculty concert entitled "Faculty Focus: Amy Gustafson", featuring works by masters of the keyboard influenced by dance, song, culture, and spirit: Bach, Mozart, Debussy and Liszt. Free and Open to the Public. Call 212-663-6021 ext. 0 for more info.
ASSEMBLY MEMBER O'DONNELL'S UPCOMING
FREE LEGAL CLINIC
For constituents who need help with legal issues but are unable to come to Assembly Member O'Donnell's Community Office during the workday, Assembly Member O'Donnell hosts a monthly evening opportunity for constituents to consult with a volunteer attorney.
Call Joyce at (212) 866-3970 to make an appointment.
** Thursday, May 26th **
NEED A LARGE PRINT COPY OF THE MONTHLY UPDATE? CALL OR VISIT ASSEMBLY MEMBER O'DONNELL'S DISTRICT OFFICE FOR ONE!
If you are visually impaired or feel that you read better in large print, please do not hesitate to request a large print copy of Assembly Member O'Donnell's monthly update. Please call or stop by the Assembly Member's Community Office to request a copy.
Assembly Member O'Donnell's community office has full-time Spanish-speaking staff available to assist you, Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM. The office is located at 245 West 104th Street, just off Broadway. You can also call (212) 866-3970