Guest Column

Byrne Reflects on First Legislative Session

In late June, I finished my first legislative session in the New York State Assembly. Despite its many challenges, it is always a privilege to serve on behalf of the many hardworking men and women in the 94th Assembly District.

The familiar frustrations many of us observed during the legislature’s budgeting process continued when the legislature and governor failed to complete session on time. This was due to an impasse on mayoral control for New York City schools and local sales tax extenders—two unrelated issues. As a result, the legislature was called back by the governor for an “extraordinary session.” Instead of working on these issues one bill at a time, the governor maneuvered for a sloppy omnibus bill that included a provision re-naming the new Tappan Zee Bridge after his father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo. This bill was delivered to us near midnight and we were forced to vote on it at 1 a.m. I refused to accept the status quo and could not vote in favor of this type of legislation while the rest of the state was fast asleep.

Despite the aforementioned challenges and disappointments, I am pleased to report I still found ways to effectively deliver for the people of the 94th Assembly District. We were able to secure several major victories, including passing a constitutional amendment that, pending voter approval, will strip taxpayer funded pensions from corrupt politicians. In addition, we secured a record $2.5 billion for clean water infrastructure, invested $200 million to fund the fight against the ever present opioid epidemic, protected state funding for the Joseph P. Dwyer Vet to Vet Program in Putnam County, restored CHIPS funding to support local infrastructure and, of course, legalized ride-sharing across the Empire State.

Sign Up for E-News

On a personal note, as an EMT and firefighter, public health and safety continue to be issues of great importance to me. This year, we had several important legislative victories that will help on this front. I was extremely proud to play an important role in passing legislation I co-sponsored to significantly expand cancer coverage for volunteer firefighters, a measure that has been in talks for several years, but had always failed to pass the Assembly. In addition, I co-sponsored and passed life-saving legislation empowering municipal contractors, like school bus drivers, to use epinephrine auto-injectors in the event of a medical emergency. I was also pleased to see the passage of measures I co-sponsored increasing access to Automated External Defibrillators, and strengthening the Clean Indoor Air Act.

Locally, we were able to pass several meaningful pieces of legislation. Altogether, in my first six months of taking office, I personally introduced and successfully passed five pieces of legislation, including measures to designate multiple local waterbodies as inland waterways, renaming the Major Clayton Carpenter Memorial Highway to reflect the true rank of a local hero, and other measures that honor home rule and address local needs for the 94th Assembly District. All these measures successfully passed in the Assembly and the Senate, and are expected to be signed into law by the governor. That’s more than any other freshmen Republican Assembly member this year, and more than most freshmen Democrat Assembly members, as well.

While this year’s session has come to an end, my work in support of your best interests has only just begun. Moving forward, I will remain committed to our values and beliefs, and as always, I thank you all for your continued support.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sammy Has Crossed Rainbow Bridge

“Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.”



Fifteen years ago, son George adopted six-week-old kittens he named Sammy and Roxy. Sadly, Sammy recently became ill and George had to make the decision most pet owners dread at some point: ease his ...

Calling All Pitchers and Catchers

In early February, from somewhere deep in Florida, near the principal’s office, a call comes out over the PA system: “Pitchers and catchers please report as soon as possible!” And from all over the land, they drop what they’re doing and head to the Sunshine State, the only people under 50 to arrive in large numbers without their grandparents first complaining that they ...

The March Wind Doth Blow

Thanks to New York State Electric & Gas and Mother Nature, I spent last week in New Jersey at my daughter Lisa’s home. Her sister and brother-in-law, Ilene and Curtis, drove me there on Saturday, then went back to Somers on Sunday, March 4.

Although I dislike talking about my health, the main reason I was in New Jersey is because I sometimes use oxygen and the machine needs ...

It's Good to Cheat!

OK, you know that I am working on losing 10 pounds before summer vacation and every weekend I cheat on my diet. I felt a little guilty about that and invariably yelled at myself every Sunday night. I found out that this is not unusual and may actually help us wannabe skinnies stay on our program in the long run. 

Two trusted authorities told me that it’s actually GOOD to cheat! A ...

Reading Across America With Dr. Seuss

Dear Dr. Linda,

I’m a school librarian and I wanted to remind your readers that March 2 was “Read Across America Day.”  Teachers, librarians and others who read with children encourage schools, libraries and parents to celebrate this day with their children. This special date was chosen because it is the birthday of Dr. Seuss, the adored children’s author. That ...

To Harrison, L'Chaim!

At long last, the smile of spring approaches, as an angry winter recedes into good riddance. Our spirit is ready to be re-charged. Damn the power outages, full speed ahead!

For my wife, Elyse, daughter, Elissa, and me, this otherwise exuberant time of year brings a confusion of mixed emotions. In 2003, on the opening day of spring, March 20, which happens to be my birthday, our 15-year-old son ...

When It's Not OK to Ask If Everything's OK

There is this thing that I do that annoys the heck out of my family. Well, to be honest, there are a lot of things I do that annoy the heck out of my family, but I am thinking of one thing in particular.

Whenever someone is in the bathroom for what I determine to be an abnormally long period of time, I stand outside the bathroom door and yell,


I ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

OAC Steamer Co. Firehouse, Ossining

2018 Living Art Event

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Jefferson Valley Mall , Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Indoor Farmers Market

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Sun, March 25

First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown, Yorktown Heights

Holy Week at First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown

Religions And Spirituality

Accounting for Illegal Immigrants

March 7, 2018

To the editor,

The latest report from FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) is a detailed analysis of federal, state and local programs that are available to the nation’s illegals (12.5 million) and their U.S. born children (4.2 million) or accessed via fraud. The total cost to the nation’s taxpayers: $135 billion.

What we pay for: As a result of a 1982 Supreme Court ...

Paint Along with the Painted Ladies!

March 9, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: “Paint Along with the Painted Ladies” at The Palmer in Cuba, NY.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Theater Manager Michele Conklin at (585) 209-5512.

On Tuesday, March 20th at 6:00-8:00 PM come and “Paint Along with the Painted Ladies”!  Cost for the class includes Supplies to complete a Painting.  Beer, Wine, ...

Lacking Leadership, Town Struggles Through Another Series of Outages

March 14, 2018

I just gained power today, and because we have a whole house generator I was able to offer showers to residents of Heritage Hills. What got to me is that for them to seek showers at this time in their lives is terrible. Even more so because much of this could have been prevented, or at the very least, reduced in impact.

We can blame the utilities for a double whammy here, increased rates and ...