Friday, October 9, 2015

SUNY SA Passes Resolution Calling on SUNY to Divest from Fossil Fuels

New York – The Executive Committee of the Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNY SA) passed a resolution calling on SUNY to fully divest from companies and interests that manufacture fossil fuels.  The resolution was put forth to the Assembly’s Executive Committee and successfully passed during the Committee’s business meeting on Saturday, September 26.

The resolution calls upon SUNY and its universities to freeze new investments in fossil-fuel companies immediately and to divest completely from any direct ownership in these companies or in funds that include fossil-fuel equities and corporate bonds, and instead invest in alternative energies and technologies.  The Assembly believes that this action is paramount in maintaining SUNY’s role at the forefront of sustainable economic progress.

This mandate comes in response to a number of factors including the $950 billion that has been divested from fossil-fuels worldwide, the exponential growth of the solar industry and other alternative industries that has occurred inside the U.S. over the past five years and will continue to occur far into the future, and the World Health Organization’s statistics on the 4.2 million yearly global deaths linked to climate change. 

Multiple SUNY universities currently have divestment campaigns in place, and in passing this resolution, the Assembly formally states that it is time for SUNY to begin the process of divestment.   

Zachary Beaudoin, Chair of SUNY SA’s Sustainability Committee, stated, "As divestment becomes a recognized and heralded global financial decision, I am thrilled that the Assembly has called upon SUNY to fully divest from fossil fuels. This action speaks to the ongoing measures in which SUNY SA actively participates that continue to shape SUNY's status as a world leader on such important topics.”

SUNY Student Assembly President Thomas Mastro believes that the Assembly made a strong, productive decision in the passing of this resolution. His remarks were as follows:“Passing this resolution and calling upon SUNY to divest from fossil fuels were progressive steps for SUNY SA to take. From Plattsburgh to Geneseo, our students have asked their home campuses and SUNY itself to divest, and as student representatives, our organization formally agrees. By removing fossil fuels and potentially harmful technologies from its list of investments and instead involving itself with alternative technologies and clean energy, SUNY will take the lead on this important initiative and continue to be a beacon of progress for our nation and our world.”

Source: The Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNY SA)

First Lady Michelle Obama Honors the 2015 Class of the National Student Poets Program

The First Lady honored the 2015 class of the National Student Poets Program (NSPP), the nation’s highest honor for youth poets. This award celebrates the exceptional creativity, dedication to craft, and promise of this generation of leaders.

The President Moderates a Conversation On Worker Voice

The President Delivers Remarks at the White House Summit on Worker Voice

Speaking to a group of workers, advocates, union leaders, and business owners, the President delivered remarks on how we empower workers' voices in our 21st Century economy.

The Vice President Delivers Remarks at the White House Summit on Worker Voice

State Department Daily Briefing

Spokesman John Kirby briefs reporters and responds to questions on a range of issues, including Russian military involvement in Syria and allegations that Russian strikes are targeting opposition groups instead of Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) targets.

The briefing was conducted on October 8, 2015. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Representative Daniel Webster on House Speaker Election

Representative Daniel Wesbter (R-FL) spoke with reporters following a Republican House Conference meeting held to discuss how to proceed after Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) withdrew from the House Speaker’s race.

Click here for video. 

Source: C-Span

Representatives Boehner and Ryan on House Speaker Election

Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) leaves a Republican House Conference meeting on choosing his successor. 

Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), who many Republicans are urging to run for Speaker, follows shortly after.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

House Budget Committee Markup

The House Budget Committee meets to mark up fiscal year 2016 budget reconciliation legislation. Representative Tom Price (R-GA) chairs the committee.

Click here for video. 

Source: C-Span

NYS OASAS Expands 'Talk2Prevent' Campaign

New Radio Campaign Targets Parents, Helps Them Talk
to Their Children About Underage Drinking and Drugs

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services today announced a new phase of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Talk2Prevent addiction campaign. Two new public service announcements (PSAs) are now airing on radio stations across the state in an effort to reach parents and offer them guidance on how to talk to their children about underage alcohol use and substance abuse. The PSAs also will air on popular music streaming services. A corresponding Talk2Prevent digital campaign will help spread the prevention message.

“The school year is underway and teenagers and young people across the state can face peer pressure to drink or use drugs,” NYS OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said. “That’s why it is crucial for parents to keep the conversation going year-round to help prevent underage drinking and drug use. Parents must encourage their children to make safe and responsible decisions. They can use the Talk2Prevent website to learn more about keeping their kids safe.”

In one new PSA, titled Exit Strategy, a mother explains how she and her daughter planned a secret code text that will signal mom to come pick her daughter up if she is in a challenging situation that involves drinking or drugs.

The second PSA, titled Speedway, talks about the importance of talking to your children about the risks of underage drinking and drug use to help keep them safe and guide them toward making responsible choices.
The campaign aims to turn the tide on these stats:

Nearly 52 percent of New York State students in grades 7 through 12 reported their parents never spoke with them about the dangers of underage drinking. (NIDA, 2010) 

49 percent of high school students in New York have consumed alcohol within the past 30 days. 
(NYS YDS, 2008) 

For more information, visit the Talk2Prevent website: Talk2Prevent.NY.GOV. Resources include a toolkit for parents including conversation starters, texting ideas and a list of warning signs. It also includes resources for community prevention coalitions across the state. Parents and community members can also visit the Talk2Prevent Facebook page for ongoing resources and information on how to keep the conversations going about underage drinking and drug use.

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can call the State’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or text the HOPEline Short Code at 467369. The HOPEline is staffed by trained clinicians who are ready to answer questions and offer treatment referrals. Visit the NYS OASAS website for additional resources, including a list of addiction treatment providers.
Source: New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

NYS Department of Motor Vehicles Website Wins National Award

Website Had 5.5 Million Transactions Last
 Year and Dramatically Cut DMV Wait Times 

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website,, has won the 2015 Pinnacle Award from the National Association of Government Web Professionals, the second national accolade it has received this year for its design, ease of use, and scope of services. The Department of Motor Vehicles won in the state and non-governmental organization category, and also picked up a Members’ Choice distinction.

“New York is proud to continue making our DMV website better and more convenient than ever before, saving drivers both time and trips to the DMV,"
Governor Cuomo said. "I encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of the easy-to-use services available to them on this award-winning website."

The Pinnacle Awards are judged by a group of web professionals from inside and outside of government web development. Each site is judged using eight scoring criteria for a total of 100 points: team size, content, organization, design, performance and flexibility, accessibility, standards, and interactivity.

Additionally, DMV’s website, which was
redesigned in February 2014, was named one of the nation’s best DMV websites earlier this year by, a portal for driver and motor vehicle information. Available services include ordering replacement driver licenses, renewing registrations on mobile devices, signing up to receive license and registration renewal reminders via email and text, and carrying out more than 35 other transactions. 

Customers completed more than 5.5 million transactions on the website last year, up from about 5 million in 2013 and 3.4 million in 2010. Use of the website has also helped decrease average wait times in DMV offices statewide. If customers must make a trip to state-run DMV offices, they can visit to make a reservation. In fact, New Yorkers have made more than 700,000 reservations to visit DMV offices since the service launched in 2013.

In March 2013, the average wait time at state-run DMV offices was 72 minutes. Governor Cuomo announced that in September 2014 the average wait time was reduced to 30 minutes. Wait times have remained stable at around 30 minutes since then. In addition, self-serve kiosks in DMV offices allow customers to complete transactions and bypass lines, saving them time. DMV averages more than 300,000 transactions at these kiosks per year.

New Yorkers have more opportunities than ever before to save a trip to DMV offices and complete transactions online. In July 2015, the Governor announced that New Yorkers can print a temporary license from the DMV website when they renew or replace their driver licenses, learner permits, or non-driver identification cards online. The ability to download a temporary document is also offered to customers renewing or replacing their registrations.

“DMV understands how convenient it is for New Yorkers to complete all of their important business online. Our team has stepped up its web presence and continuously improved the services we provide so motorists can get things done quickly and easily,”
said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan. “This well-deserved award gives us the opportunity to recognize all staff members who have gone above and beyond to serve the public’s needs. I urge all New Yorkers to use our site and save a trip to the office.”

For more information about DMV,
visit its website and see a list of available online services.  

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Cuomo, Al Gore Announce Actions to Lead Nation on Climate Change

October 8, 2015, New York City - Governor Cuomo, joined by Vice President Gore, today announced four major actions to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across New York State. These nation-leading environmental and clean energy initiatives will help New York homes, businesses and universities invest in clean energy, drive economic growth across the state, and protect the environment.

Dr. Umar Johnson: Why There Is So Much Killing In Chicago and How To Stop It

Trailblazers in Black History: Frederick McKinley Jones, Inventor

Today in History: October 9th

Dr. Ben Carson Discusses His Comments on Gun Control and the Holocaust

The GOP candidate is under fire for saying gun control is partly to blame for the Holocaust.