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Senate task force set to look at post-Sandy policy solutions



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A new Senate committee will develop recovery plans for communities devastated by Superstorm Sandy like this one shown above. Photo by AP.
December 17, 2012
The newly-founded Senate Majority Coalition has announced a "bipartisan" task force to help develop recovery plans for the areas downstate devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

The 10-member task force is co-chaired by Sen. Andrew Lanza, R-Staten Island, and the newest member of the Independent Democratic Conference, Malcolm Smith, D-Queens. Members of the task force were chosen based on their district's proximity to the damage.

The task force will tour the New York Metropolitan area and hold hearings in communities affected by the storm. The task force will then determine what areas need the most recovery assistance, review rebuilding and storm planning policies, and based on the recommendations made to Gov. Andrew Cuomo by three recently created commissions studying storm preparedness and mitigation, develop legislation to help New York prepare for future inclement weather.

"As we've all seen today, there are families still without heat or hot water; we have children and elderly who are struggling to find a warm meal each night," Smith said. "These problems go beyond any political affiliation. They go beyond any single Senate district. And yes, these problems are color blind. I am proud to stand here today with my Senate colleagues. We all recognize that in order to rebuild, we need to ensure that resources from Washington are directed to the hardest hit communities and that we are prepared for future challenging weather occurrences."

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Other members on the task force include: Independent Democratic Conference Sens. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, and David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, Republican Sens. Martin Golden, R-Brooklyn, Charles Fuschillo, R- Merrick, Jack Martins, R-Minneola, and Lee Zeldin, R-Shirley, and Democratic Sen. Joe Addabbo, D-Queens and Sen.-elect James Sanders, D-Queens.

"…Six weeks after the storm residents are still trying to get their lives back together," Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said. "The bipartisan Senate task force we are announcing today brings together senators from both sides of the aisle [that] represent the hardest hit areas of New York to provide critical input to recovery efforts and to develop short and long-term solutions to rebuild these communities."

Dates for the upcoming public hearings are yet to be announced. Preliminary recommendations by the NY 2100 Commission, the NYS Respond Commission and the NYS Ready Commission are expected to be submitted to the governor by Jan. 3.

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