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From the Desk of Assemblyman Charles Lavine: November 20, 2009

Green Jobs, Green New York Law Will Stimulate Economy

New York State Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine (D-Glen Cove) has announced that legislation the Assembly approved with unanimous, bipartisan support earlier this year authorizing the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to create and administer the Green Jobs/Green New York program has been signed into law (A.8901).

 

The program provides financing to communities, homes, small businesses and not-for-profits to help revitalize the economy in an energy-independent and environmentally responsible way.

“This program will simultaneously help revive New York’s struggling economy and protect our environment,” Lavine said. “We’ll be tackling our economic and environmental problems head-on by investing in green energy resources, while creating the jobs to support this new industry.”

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) will provide $112 million in funding for residential and small business energy efficiency projects. RGGI is a cooperative effort by 10 northeast and mid-Atlantic states, including New York, to limit greenhouse gas emissions. A revolving loan fund will help commit resources, with no less than 50 percent of the capital going to “retrofit” residential homes with green technology. The program will front the cost of the work, enabling property owners to afford energy efficient retrofits. Although property owners will repay the full cost over time, their total energy usage will be reduced by 30-40 percent, and the loan payment on their energy bill will be less than what they saved.

Lavine said this program also includes some multi-family housing.

“There are many ways that homes can be retrofitted, which will save money,” he said. “These include switching to more energy-efficient lighting, installing programmable thermostats, plugging air leaks, tuning up heating and cooling systems, using ENERGY STAR fixtures such as furnaces and water heaters, reducing water use and switching to thermal and solar water-heating systems.”

Communities will be selected to participate through competitive solicitation. Applicants will include local community groups, contractors and local utilities, and labor and training organizations. An emphasis will be placed on geographic diversity, and preferential funding will be awarded to coalitions that include women- and minority-based businesses, as well as groups based in economically distressed communities.

In addition, the law directs NYSERDA to include more provisions in its comprehensive home-assessment program to establish a sliding scale for payment of audit fees for residential projects. According to Lavine, audit fees may be fully waived for income-qualified homeowners.

The law directs up to $4 million to establish green jobs training programs throughout the state and requires NYSERDA and the state labor department to develop additional sources of job-training funds. “Protecting the environment can go hand-in-hand with employing New Yorkers with good jobs that help promote a healthy energy future,” Lavine said. “This law is in step with President Barack Obama’s groundbreaking $150 billion, decade-long plan to further develop clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar, and to promote conservation. Like the president’s plan, our goal is to create scores of new jobs in the green-energy sector and make the important energy-efficiency changes that will get our economy – and our environment – back on track.”

He continued, “It’s time for New York to become more energy and cost efficient. Green Jobs/Green New York has the potential to improve our economy by helping businesses thrive while saving the consumer money in energy costs.”

Effective Nov. 24, Children Under 8 Must Ride in Booster Seat

Automobile accidents happen. If a child is not properly secured, serious injury or even death can occur. That’s why New York State has extended the law that requires children to sit on a booster seat in a motor vehicle from age 6 to age 7. The new law will take effect on Nov. 24 (Ch. 405 of 2009).

Previously, the law required children ages 4-6 to use booster seats. Most 7-year-old children, however, are not big enough to be adequately secured by a vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt. Therefore, the law needed to be amended to include children under the age of 8.

 Seat belts are designed to fit adults, not children. Seat belts are more effective for children in a booster seat because they raise a child up to an adult’s sitting height. Young children who only use seat belts rather than booster or child-safety seats, are more likely to suffer life-threatening injuries in a crash, including severe damage to the brain, spleen, liver and spinal cord. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, booster seats reduce injury risk by 59 percent when compared with children who only use seat belts. In addition to preventing needless motor vehicle-related injuries in children, other benefits to using booster seats include:

• Convenience: Booster seats are typically lightweight and can be easily switched from one car to another with little effort.

• Easy to use: Since the booster seats are used with the vehicle lap and shoulder belts, some children enjoy buckling up themselves.

• Availability: Booster seats are easily found at most discount chain stores, baby product stores or child safety product websites.

• Enjoyment: Booster seats enable children to better see out of vehicle windows, which can make for a more pleasant ride.

• Comfort: Booster seats correctly position the lap and shoulder belt for a safer and more comfortable ride.

The road is unpredictable and can present unexpected dangers. Booster seats give our children the support and protection they need to help them stay safe when they are passengers in an automobile. It can mean the difference between life and death.  

For more information, call Lavine’s district office at 676-0050 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For more information on New York State’s occupant restraint law, visit www.nysgtsc.state.ny.us/.