Capitol Watch: Stewart-Cousins' national profile rises

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — In New York state government news, Democrats are hoping Andrea Stewart-Cousins can take her election success to the national level.

The Yonkers Democrat and leader of the state Senate was tapped last week to lead the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, an organization that works to elect Democrats to state legislatures.

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation intended to let parents know if their child's summer camp is unregulated.

Here's a look at stories making news:

NEW ROLE FOR SENATE LEADER

Stewart-Cousins' leadership role at the DLCC is further evidence or her rising national profile after she led her party's takeover of the state Senate in last year's elections.

Democratic gains in the Senate gave the party complete control of state government and eased the way for several Democratic priorities in the Legislature this year, including election reforms, marijuana decriminalization and stronger protections for tenant rights, abortion rights and women in the workplace.

Stewart-Cousins, 68, is also the first African-American woman — and the first woman of any background — to lead a state legislative chamber in New York.

Jessica Post, the DLCC's executive director, called her a "fierce campaigner" who will "help us blaze a new blue trail across the country as Democrats fight to flip state chambers blue."

The group's pick pleased Elizabeth Warren.

"We'll need her trailblazing leadership heading into 2020 as we work to elect Democrats up and down the ballot," the presidential candidate and U.S. senator from Massachusetts tweeted.

Stewart-Cousins is replacing outgoing chairwoman Tina Kotek, the speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives.

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UNREGULATED CAMPS?

It's too late for this summer, but a bill signed into law last week will ensure parents have more information about their kids' summer camps.

The new rule requires camps to inform parents if they aren't required to follow health and safety rules set by the state Department of Health.

Many summer camps do comply with the department's regulations, but an estimated 10,000 day camps are not required to do so. Often, unregulated camps tend to focus on a single activity, such as baseball or soccer. Unlike regulated camps, these programs aren't required to get a health permit, check staff and volunteers against the sex offender registry, or maintain vaccination records of camp participants.

"Non-regulated camps currently operate with no oversight, and it's scary for parents who may have no idea," said Sen. David Carlucci, a Rockland County Democrat who sponsored the bill in the Senate.

The new law takes effect in 90 days.