NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs... June 2013

NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs

New Penalties for Texting While Driving

Governor Cuomo has announced actions to strengthen penalties for texting while driving.

The regulation changed June 1, 2013. The NYS Department of Motor Vehicles will increase the number of points issued against an individual’s driving record upon the conviction for texting while driving and cell phone related infractions from the current three points to five points.

The Governor's proposed legislation will impose the same penalties on drivers with probationary and junior licenses for texting-while-driving that they now receive for speeding and reckless driving: 60-day suspensions for first convictions and revocations of 60 days (for junior licenses) or six months (for probationary licenses) for subsequent convictions within six months of the time a license is restored after suspension. Click here for more information

Parents: You Can be Proactive With New Teen Drivers

Teen DriverThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified eight “danger zones” related to teens killed in car crashes. They are:
  • driver inexperience
  • driving with teen passengers
  • nighttime driving
  • not using seatbelts
  • distracted driving
  • drowsy driving
  • reckless driving
  • impaired driving
To find out what you can do about this issue, click here.

Hepatitis C Infection Among Young Injection Drug Users: Addressing an Emerging Trend

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among young injection drug users is increasing. Hepatitis C is transmitted blood-to-blood, often from sharing injection equipment. There are strategies to address this concern, including but not limited to: community education, community-based activities, HCV surveillance and intervention. Click here for more information.

Tobacco Company Ad Campaigns Still Targeting Youth

Put Out That CigaretteR.J. Reynolds has launched a new campaign for their Camel Crush cigarettes. These advertisements have appeared in magazines with large teen readerships. Groups such as the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Legacy, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association and the American Lung Association all have been involved in efforts to address these concerns. For more information, click here.

Mental Health Awareness

Sad TeenagerMental health issues are in the news more and more. Part of the problem is that many people are often afraid of the stigma associated with diagnosis and treatment. President Obama recently hosted a conference where these issues were discussed and initiatives taken to improve the care people receive, as well as raise awareness for all.

The Affordable Care Act contains an initiative to help educators assist students who show signs of mental illness. Recognizing that the Federal Government cannot do it alone, the administration has reached out to a number of groups including National PTA. Together with the National Association of School Psychologists, National PTA will be hosting a webinar regarding mental health awareness for PTA members. Information has not been finalized, but check the National PTA website for additional information.

The press release containing the information and commitments can be found by clicking here.

For background information, click here.

Also a new user friendly website to assist families was launched. Click here to check out this new site and get additional information.

Education Update

BrothersThere are some important new documents on the NYS Education Department (NYSED) website that may be of interest to parents and educators. These and others can be found under the News, Announcements and Timely Information. You can also sign up for email notifications by clicking here.

It is never too early to think about the types of post-secondary plans for students with disabilities. A document describing the responsibilities for transition services has just been released. Both NYSED and Adult Career and Continuing Education Services – Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) will be working together on this important issue for students. To read this document, click here.
June 2013
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In the Spotlight

NYS PTA Opposes Proposed Special Education Changes

An open letter from the NYS PTA to Senator John Flanagan was sent, opposing two bills currently before the NYS Legislature, A07786 and S05846.

These bills would require parental appeal of placement and educational programs to be provided to a child with a handicapping condition, to be determined within 90 days, once such a placement has been judged to be appropriate. Click here to read the letter.
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National PTA, consisting of nearly 5 million volunteers, ensures that, together, our voice is heard.

A wide variety of tools and resources are available through National PTA to help child and education advocates succeed, including:
  • National PTA’s federal public policy agenda
  • an advocate toolkit
  • state and federal legislation reference guides
  • Common Core State Standards information and parent guides
  • the “PTA Takes Action Network” newsletter
To access this vital information, click: www.PTA.org/advocacy.com.

Become a National PTA School of Excellence

NPTA School of Excellence

It’s time to recognize the contributions of your PTA within your school community! Is something meaningful happening between your PTA and school that deserves recognition? Are you looking to step-up your PTA’s involvement in school improvements? Now is the time to record and publicize the positive impact your PTA has had on your students and school community!

School of Excellence is a recognition program that supports and celebrates partnerships between PTA and schools to enrich the educational experience and overall well-being for all students.

By participating in this program, you will gain a better understanding of what you can do to support improvements at your school, and your PTA will gain a seat at the table when important decisions are made.

For more information on the School of Excellence and to enroll your school in the program, click here.

Enjoy Nature in NYS and Fish for Free

Girl FishingDuring the last full weekend in June (June 29-30 this year), anyone may fish the fresh waters of New York State without a fishing license!

Saltwater anglers may also fish in marine waters or for migratory marine fish species without enrolling in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry.

Visit the Places to Fish website for ideas on where to fish.

Just getting started? Visit the Learn to Fish website for advice on how to fish.
Did You Know...
The NYS Board of Regents meets monthly, except for August. To access the 2013 meeting schedule, agendas, materials and webcast opportunities, go to: www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings.

Our mailing address is:
One Wembley Court
Albany, NY  12205
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