Friday, June 24, 2011
On Friday evening New York became the sixth state to approve same-sex marriage — an historic victory for gay rights advocates and bitter defeat for the bill's opponents that came during an overtime legislative session in Albany.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
By Ailsa Chang
For state Senator Tom Duane of Manhattan, who steered efforts in 2009 to get same-sex marriage passed in New York only to see the measure doomed, it’s almost too good to be true how close New York State is to getting gay marriage legalized this week.
“I have post-traumatic trust disorder,” said Duane with a smile.
But Duane said the same-sex marriage campaign in 2011 has been different from the 2009 efforts for several reasons. He’s out of the spotlight this time around, and in his place is a governor whom Democratic senators and gay rights activists say has the clout and likability to get the votes to pass the bill. Duane said Andrew Cuomo has been able to connect with individual senators in a way that his predecessor, David Paterson, never could.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
By Kate Hinds
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) At yesterday's New York State Senate Transportation Committee meeting, nine pieces of legislation were on the agenda. Three of those bills were sponsored by State Senator Ruben Diaz, a Bronx Democrat who is a clergyman himself. Two of those dealt with distracted driving. The third, however, aimed to give members of the clergy special license plates.
According to the bill's text: "Clergy who are called to visit hospitals, jails, nursing homes or homebound seniors often find it difficult or impossible to park. In order to perform their pastoral duties they need reasonable access to those places. These plates would provide notification to any law enforcement personnel that the car owner is a member of the clergy. The "Clergy" license plate will not enable the holder to violate any local parking or traffic regulations."
To be sure, State Senators introduce bills all the time in Albany, and this kind of thing can happen so frequently that it barely raises eyebrows when it shows up in the Senate calendar, which is where we found it.
But parking policy shapes urban life. We recently wrote about how the state is continuing to issue parking placards, despite the Cuomo administration's promise to end "business as usual." And today the New York Daily News is reporting that an investigation has found widespread parking placard abuse.
So why would Senator Diaz sponsor legislation that would give clergy special license plates -- especially when he himself is a member of the clergy? (Diaz is the founder and pastor of the Christian Community Neighborhood Church in the Bronx.)
According to its website, The New York City Department of Transportation already offers members of the clergy parking permits, which allow parking near houses of worship, hospitals, and funeral homes.
We reached Senator Diaz to ask him about the bill -- and if he thought introducing it might represent a conflict of interest. "Did it pass?" he asked. When told that the bill failed in committee, he said "there's nothing to talk about -- it didn't pass." When pressed about whether he'd introduce it again, he repeated "there's nothing to talk about now," and then said goodbye.
It turns out that the Transportation Committee didn't support the legislation, which failed by a vote of 12 to six (you can see the list of who voted how here) -- because of a pending US district court decision about the New York State Department of Motor Vehicle's moratorium on distinctive license plates.
You can watch a video of part of yesterday's committee meeting below; the legislation about license plates is dealt with at about a minute in.
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Tuesday, December 07, 2010
One crucial point has been lost in the hoopla of the Republicans recapturing the title of 'Ringmasters of the Circus’ by a 32-30 majority. It is that for the first time in New York State history, there will be six Latino senators serving within the 62-member legislative body.
The number six by itself is actually insignificant. However, if these six Democrats – four Puerto Ricans and two Dominicans – unite on any one issue, they could collectively become a royal pain for the embarrassed and scrambling Democrats.
Monday, July 20, 2009
With the issue of mayoral control of schools hanging in the balance, State Senators Ruben Diaz, Sr., Pedro Espada, Jr., Hiram Monserrate and Carl Kruger met for lunch to publicly discuss the amendments they want included in the controversial legislation. The group wants a parent training center ...