Today’s news:

12 Queens Assembly members get leadership spots

Twelve of the 18 Queens delegates received leadership assignments or committee chairmanships, representing an overall increase in the relative power of borough legislators in the Legislature's lower house."We've had some advances," said state Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette (D-Jackson Heights), dean of the Queens delegation and returning speaker pro tempore of the Assembly.Assemblywoman Vivian Cook (D-Jamaica) took over as majority whip. Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village) has been named assistant majority whip. And Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio (D-Richmond Hill), once on the outs with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, will head up the Majority Program Committee.Committee chairmanships are as follows:¥ Children and Families - Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-St. Albans). Scarborough's first committee chairmanship entails oversight of an agency with a $3.5 billion budget and 4,000 employees, dealing with issues ranging from welfare to foster care. "It's a big responsibility. It's going to be a lot of work, but it's a fantastic opportunity," he said. ¥ Consumer Affairs - Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D-Rockaway)¥ House Operations - Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth). In this position, Markey holds the purse strings for such major items as equipment purchases and district offices.¥ Real Property and Taxation - Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing)¥ Banks - Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood)¥ Small Business - Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Little Neck). On Tuesday, Weprin said he already had met with the State Association of Chambers of Commerce. He said he looked forward to working with small businesses, which he said form the bedrock of the state's economy.¥ State-Federal Relations - Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside). "That committee analyzes budget information in between the federal budget and the state budget," said Carrozza, who is serving as chairwoman for the fourth year. "I come up with recommendations with how elements of the federal budget impact New York state." Carrozza will likely have to tackle the thorny issue of federal Medicaid subsidies. The federal government picks up only 50 percent of the state's Medicaid budget, Lafayette said. In other states, the figure is closer to 57 percent. An increase of 1 percent in funding would translate into $600 million in savings for New York state.¥ Corrections - Jeffrion Aubry (D-Corona). Aubry was instrumental in reforming the Rockefeller drug laws.With luck, Lafayette said, there will be something for even those who did not receive assignments."New subcommittees are going to be functioning to a much greater degree than before," said Lafayette, who was hopeful other Queens delegates would be able to make a mark in Albany.Reach reporter James DeWeese by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.

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