ASTORIA – New York State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) was appointed by New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to serve as the head of the powerful Administrative Regulations Review Commission (ARRC).
The ARRC is a bipartisan watchdog over every state agency’s rules and regulatory activities to make sure they are legal and effective.
State agency regulations and rules have the force of law and dictate how an agency carries out its mandate. This can and does have a powerful impact on small businesses, on people from all walks of life, and on the economic and environmental health of communities.
Simotas said in a news release, “It is an honor to serve as the ARRC’s chair and I thank Speaker Heastie for this appointment.”
She continued, “My goal as chair is to make sure that state agency rules are rational and that agency operations serve the public interest, not special interests or administrative convenience.”
Another major role of the ARRC is to weigh in on agency rulemaking done unfairly without consulting the stakeholders, or that is done without allowing for public comment.
Every state agency and program is affected by the ARRC’s work, so Simotas’ appointment is significant. Her authority extends beyond the borough of Queens to all of New York State.
Simotas noted that an important priority this year will be monitoring changes happening in Washington, DC, under the Trump Administration, which “could have far-reaching effects on New Yorkers.”
“I will work to ensure that New Yorkers do not suffer the consequences of ill-advised policy changes coming from federal agencies,” she said.
Simotas is a lifelong resident of Astoria and currently represents the 36th Assembly District in Western Queens.
She was the first Greek-American woman elected to office in New York in 2010, and the first woman elected to office in her district.
As noted in her biography, Simotas has established a reputation in Albany as a dedicated and effective legislator, sponsoring new laws that promote commonsense policies aimed at revitalizing New York’s economy, protecting neglected consumers, strengthening the criminal justice system, and protecting victims of sex crimes.
Simotas has been an outspoken advocate for seniors, students, and working families in her district, successfully fighting to keep schools and senior centers open while holding city and state agencies and corporations accountable when they fail to meet their obligations to Astoria’s residents.