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Pamela Hunter: 'Fresh faces' may help get more accomplished in Albany

Tom Magnarelli
Pamela Hunter (center) with Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Solvay as he signed legislation holding banks accountable for "zombie properties," one of the items passed this legislative session.

It was Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter’s (D-Syracuse) first legislative session in Albany this year. The assemblywoman said while much was accomplished at the end of the session in June, many issues she is still pressing for many issues that were left on the table.

Paid family leave, increasing the minimum wage and requiring schools test for lead in the water are three big issues Hunter was happy to see passed in this year’s legislative session.

"It’s aggressive, it’s really fast paced," Hunter said. "I think as time goes on through the summer, people will kind of get a better feel for some of the pieces of legislation that we’ve passed that will better be able to help them in their daily lives.”

Some critics argue not enough was done this session. Hunter has a few issues she wants to keep pushing.

The Assembly passed a bill providing more resources to victims of military sexual trauma. The Assembly also passed a bill for minimum nurse staffing requirements at acute care facilities and nursing homes. Both bills have not yet passed the Senate.

"Next year around, maybe with different fresh faces if new people are there or keeping the momentum from this year, we'll be able to get some of these pieces of legislation passed in both houses and then get the governor to sign them," Hunter said.

Hunter said she wants to see ride-sharing such as Uber allowed upstate. She is also for the labeling of foods with GMOs or genetically modified organisms, which had a number of Assembly sponsors but was not voted on.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.