Thursday, July 21, 2011

Support Aniya's law by Sam Pirozzolo

Dear Friends and Neighbors:
I would like to give you a brief update on the pending NYS bill to compel the Dept. of Education to restore yellow school bus service to 7th and 8th grade students (Bill #A2988A).  CEC member Mike Reilly and I were present at a meeting in the office of NYS Assemblyman Michael Cusick this week.  At that meeting, ALL of the NYS & NYC legislators from Staten Island (Assembly members, Senators and CityCouncil members) were present or represented.
First I am compelled to share a few thoughts of my own.  Since the day of Aniya’s death, I - like many of you - have thought about what I would do or how I would act if one of my children were suddenly taken from me.  If you have had these thoughts too then you realize that there is no way to imagine the loss of a child. I don’t know if I would become totally unhinged, I don’t know if I would be brave, I don’t know if I would be strong.  At the meeting, the legislators met Mrs. Elizabeth Favors, the mother of Aniya Williams.  As requested by CEC 31, Mrs. Favors gave permission for NY State Bill #A2988A to be named ANIYA’S LAW in honor of her deceased daughter.  
Elizabeth is a very strong, very brave and very powerful person.  It has given me strength to watch her agree to lend Aniya’s name to this bill in the hopes of regaining our longstanding school bus service.  She does this not just for our public school students but also for our private school students.  She does this not just for Staten Island students but also for every student in every district throughout the city who must traverse dangerous and hazardous conditions to travel to and from school.  We owe a debt to her that can never be repaid.
Next I must say that I am very impressed with Assemblyman Mike Cusick. There is no doubt in my mind that Assemblyman Cusick is sincere, knowledgeable and has the experience to handle this task.  Let me remind you that we face an uphill battle against very difficult obstacles to restore school bus entitlement.  I would also like to thank all of our other Staten Island legislators as they each champion in support for this school bus law.
Currently Aniya’s bill is in the Education Committee of the Assembly.  After the Education Committee the bill will be sent to the Ways & Means Committee to determine costs and funding.  Unfortunately, the earliest opportunity for the NYS Assembly to vote on this bill may be January 2012, UNLESS there is a large ground-swell of letters indicating support for this new law. 
Your help is needed again!  You may have already sent the attached letter to the NYS Assembly EDUCATION Committee members, but now we ask you to send it to the Assembly WAYS & MEANS Committee members as well.  The 2nd and 3rd pages of the attached letter contain the contact information for the members of these two important committees.  If you haven’t already sent it to the Education Committee members, please do that now, in addition to sending it to the Ways & Means Committee members.  Just complete your name, address and contact information on the bottom of page 1 of the attached letter, and then mail or e-mail your letter directly to each of the elected officials listed on pages 2 & 3.   
(NOTE: The e-mail addresses for all the Assembly  Ways and Means and Education Committee Members are also here, grouped for easier use.  Just highlight and paste their e-mails into the "TO" field of your e-mail program and send them the attached letter after you have filled out your name and contact information on the bottom and saved the changes.)  
If the legislators see an outpouring of support for passage of Aniya’s Law, it is possible that it might be brought up for a vote earlier than January – perhaps as early as this autumn. 
Thank you for your continued support.  It is appreciated, it is needed and your help can make the difference in our efforts to restore school bus service for Staten Island’s students under Aniya’s Law. 
Sincerely, Sam Pirozzolo, President, CEC 31

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