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Long Islanders appointed to powerful Senate committees

ALBANY — Long Islanders were reappointed to top committee leadership positions in the state Senate Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) will again chair the powerful Rules Committee, which can push legislation forward or hold it up.

Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) was reappointed to the post, which oversees one of the largest sectors of state government. The committee will take on added importance this year as the state seeks to provide health care coverage amid promises from President-elect Donald Trump to end Obamacare.

Senate Education Committee Chairman Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) was reappointed to the post that deals with the largest portion of state spending.

The committee will help fund schools at what Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo says will be record levels in the state budget, as well as tackle policy including the Common Core curriculum.

Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) was reappointed to the committee that develops policy and helps allocate spending for New York’s public and private college sectors. That committee will consider Cuomo’s proposal to offer free public college tuition to families making less than $125,000 a year.

Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) was named chairman of the Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee.

Flanagan has said the Senate will take a harder look at Cuomo’s economic development programs and whether New York is getting enough benefit from billions of dollars in tax breaks and aid to employers to retain and attract jobs.

In addition, Boyle, Hannon, LaValle and Marcellino will serve on the powerful Finance Committee. That committee’s chairman is Sen. Catharine Young (R-Olean). She co-chairs state budget hearings with the Assembly’s Democratic majority to dissect Cuomo’s budget proposal.

Committee chairmanships come with leadership stipends of usually $12,500 on top of the $79,500 base pay that hasn’t changed since 1999 and daily expense checks of $172 a day for work in Albany or away from their districts.

Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) was named ranking minority member to the Environmental Conservation Committee by Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers).

The seven-member Independent Democratic Conference that works with the Republican majority in a power-sharing coalition was also provided key chairmanship roles by Flanagan and the GOP majority.

Sen. David Carlucci (D-Rockland) was reappointed chairman of the Consumer Protection Committee, and Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) will continue as chairman of the Children and Families Committee.

IDC leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) will serve as an ex officio member of every Senate committee.

Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), the IDC liaison to the executive branch, will be vice chairwoman of the Finance and Codes committees.

The conservative Democratic senator who helps Republicans form a majority, Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) was named chairman of the Cities Committee.

In the Assembly, Long Islanders appointed to key posts last week included Deputy Speaker Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead).

Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Cove) was named chairman of the Ethics and Guidance Committee and Assemb. Steven Englebright (D-East Setauket) was appointed chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee.

Assemb. Fred W. Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) who was appointed chairman of the Small Business Committee.

CORRECTION: The name of the committee led by Sen. Kemp Hannon was incorrectly identified in an earlier version of this story.

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