Coney Island

Savino named vice chairman of key committees

Lawmaker to lead Finance, Codes panels

January 17, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Diane Savino says she plans to work on a “robust agenda” in Albany to ensure that New York remains a safe state in which to live and work. Photo courtesy of Savino’s office

State Sen. Diane Savino is going to have a seat at the head of the table when key decisions are made about how New York state spends its money and how it cracks down on crime.

Savino (D-Coney Island-Bensonhurst, Staten Island) has been named to serve as vice chairman of two important state Senate committees: Codes and Finance. State Sen. Andrew Lanza, a Republican, is chairman of the Codes Committee. Another Republican, Catharine Young, will head the Finance Committeee with Savino.

The appointments were announced last week by the Senate Majority Coalition Leaders, Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan and Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) Leader Jeffrey Klein. Savino is a founding member of the IDC, a group formed in 2011 when Klein, Savino and other Democrats broke away from Democratic leaders in the state Senate to form their own caucus.

Since its formation, the IDC has entered into power-sharing arrangements with Republicans to enable the GOP to maintain control over the state Senate. The IDC wields enormous power, since there are 32 Democrats and 31 Republicans in the 63-seat Senate, giving the Democrats a one-seat advantage. But thanks to the IDC’s partnership with the GOP, the Republicans enjoy control of the chamber. The IDC has seven members.

The Codes Committee has jurisdiction over all aspects of criminal justice policy. The committee reviews all bills relating to criminal justice before the proposed legislation reaches the floor of the Senate.

The Finance Committee is responsible for leading the Senate’s budgetary agenda through the executive budget process. Part of its job is to review the budgets from every state agency. The committee also meets with mayors and locality executives from around the state.

Savino said she is pleased with her new role in the Codes Committee. “I plan to ensure a robust agenda to make New York the safest state we possibly can. From tackling important issues such as the heroin epidemic and ‘raise the age,’ I am excited to work hand-in-hand with my colleagues on the Senate Codes Committee,” she said in a statement.

As for the Finance Committee, Savino predicted an on-time state budget. “This year’s budget, like many others, will be very challenging. I am confident we will be at the forefront of another on-time, balanced and successful budget cycle which will help middle-class families across the Empire State,” she said.

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Savino has also been named to the following committees: Rules; Judiciary; Labor; Children and Families; Civil Service and Pensions; and Insurance and Banks.

“My committee appointments are a testament to something I strive daily to achieve in the Senate; working in a bipartisan fashion to create a stronger, safer and less burdensome New York for all,” she said.

Savino, a Staten Islander who was first elected to the state Senate in 2004, represents the 23rd District.

Prior to entering politics, she was the vice president for political action and legislative affairs for the Social Services Employees Union Local 371. Before that, she was a case worker for the New York City Child Welfare Administration, now called the Administration for Children’s Services.

She maintains two district offices, one on Staten Island and another in Brooklyn. She chose to have her Brooklyn office on West 15th Street in Coney Island because of something community residents told her, she said.

“The people of Coney Island said that no public official had ever had an office on the peninsula before,” Savino told the Brooklyn Eagle in an interview in 2015. 

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