Gun Safety Bills to Require Microstamping Technology for All Semi-Automatic Pistols, Expand Extreme Risk Protection Order Law, Improve Oversight and Regulation of Gun Dealers, Require a License to Purchase or Possess a Semi-automatic Rifle, and Other Common Sense Gun Violence Prevention Measures
Even as President Joe Biden was appealing to Congress to finally act to end the scourge of gun violence that is taking more than 100 lives each day and has become the leading cause of death for children, New York State was passing a package of gun safety bills to further strengthen the state’s already stiff gun control laws. The action came just days after an 18-year old white supremacist, armed with an AR 15 assault weapon murdered 10 in a grocery store in a predominantly black neighborhood of Buffalo, followed closely by the massacre at the Uvalde, Texas elementary school, and then another at a Tulsa hospital. Meanwhile, the state awaits the radical rightwing Supreme Court majority’s decision on a case deciding whether New York can give criteria for someone to have a gun permit. Governor Kathy Hochul has said she would call the state Legislature back into session to adopt new gun laws should that happen.
Immediately following the State Legislature’s adoption of its package of gun laws, Governor Hochul stated, “Just last night a deadly semiautomatic weapon was once again used to mercilessly kill innocent civilians, this time at a medical facility in Oklahoma. It was a scene all too familiar in this country, one we’ve seen everywhere from Uvalde, to Sandy Hook, to Parkland, to my hometown of Buffalo. We cannot keep living like this.
“We cannot be satisfied by New York’s already tough gun laws. Shooting after shooting makes it clear that they must be even stronger to keep New Yorkers safe. This comprehensive package will close loopholes, give law enforcement the tools they need to prevent easy access to guns, and stop the sale of dangerous weapons to 18-year-olds. I am grateful to Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie, and our partners in the legislature, and I look forward to signing these bills into law.
“Even as we take action to protect New Yorkers, we recognize that this is a nationwide problem. I once again urge Congress to seize this moment and pass meaningful gun violence prevention measures. We have no time to waste.”
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV), a statewide advocacy organization, applauded the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly for passing a package of 10 gun safety bills this week. The bills, which are expected to be signed by Governor Kathy Hochul, will require microstamping technology for all semi-automatic pistols, expand New York’s Extreme Risk Protection Order law, improve oversight and regulation of gun dealers, require a license to purchase or possess a semi-automatic rifle, and other measures that will prevent gun violence and mass shootings.
The passage of this gun bill package comes on the heels of a scourge of gun violence and mass shootings during April and May across the state and country, including in Brooklyn and Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, and as recently as last night, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, among numerous other gun violence incidents.
Rebecca Fischer, NYAGV Executive Director said, “Faced with a surging gun violence crisis, the New York State Legislature has once again made it a priority this week to protect New Yorkers by passing a strong, life-saving slate of gun violence prevention bills. These measures will help keep guns away from people in crisis to prevent mass shootings, suicide and other gun violence, will require a license to purchase or possess a semi-automatic rifle anywhere in this state, and will provide law enforcement with microstamping tracing technology to stop gun trafficking and hold rogue gun dealers accountable. As New Yorkers and Americans, we should not have to fear gun violence on a daily basis in our neighborhoods or homes, in our subways, our supermarkets, our schools, our houses of worship, our hospitals, or anywhere else. While Congress continues to stall on meaningful national gun reform, we are grateful to have outstanding gun violence prevention champions leading our state government who are committed to keeping our children and all New Yorkers safe.”
A.7926-A (Rosenthal, L)/S.4116-A (Hoylman): Requires DCJS to certify or decline to certify that microstamping-enabled pistols are technologically viable and if certified as viable, to establish programs and processes for the implementation of such technology; and, establishes the crime of the unlawful sale of a non-microstamping-enabled firearm.
A.1023-A (Paulin)/S.4970-A (Kavanagh): Requires all state and local law enforcement agencies to report seized or recovered guns to the criminal gun clearinghouse; participate in ATFs collective data sharing program; test-fire seized or recovered guns for national integrated Ballistic Information Network; and enter the make, model, caliber, and serial number of the gun into the national crime information center. Also requires gun dealers to implement a security plan for securing firearms, rifles and shotguns; prohibit persons under eighteen and not accompanied by a parent from the certain locations of a gun dealer’s premises; provide training to all employees on the conduct of firearm, rifle, and shotgun transfers, including identification of and response to illegal purchases; adhere to record keeping requirements; and require the State police to conduct inspections of gun dealers every three years.
A. 10502 (Cahill)/S. 9113-A (Skoufis): Expands who may file an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) petition to include health care practitioners who have examined the individual within the last six months; requires police and district attorneys to file ERPO petitions upon credible information that an individual is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to himself, herself or others; requires the State Police and the Municipal Police Training Council to create and disseminate policies and procedures to identify when an ERPO petition may be warranted; amends the firearm licensing statute to make it clear that when an individual has been reported by a mental health practitioner and a county mental health commissioner has concurred with such practitioner that the individual is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to them self or others, such report is considered in determining whether or not to issue a firearm license to the individual; and, expands the mental health practitioners who can make such reports.
A.10501 (Meeks)/S. 9465 (Bailey): Creates a new Task Force on Social Media and Violent Extremism in the Attorney General’s office to study and investigate the role of social media companies in promoting and facilitating violent extremism and domestic terrorism online.
A10503 (Jackson)/S. 9458 (Thomas): Requires that an individual obtain a license prior purchasing a semiautomatic rifle. This is prospective and applies to purchases made on and after the effective date.
A.6716-A (Wallace)/S89-B (Kaminsky): Creates the crimes of making a threat of mass harm and aggravated making a threat of mass harm.
A7865-A (Fahy)/ S.4511-A (Kaplan): Requires social media networks in New York to provide a clear and concise policy regarding how they would respond to incidents of hateful conduct on their platform and maintain easily accessible mechanisms for reporting hateful conduct on those platforms
A.10428-A (People-Stokes)/S.9229-A (Hoylman): Eliminates the grandfathering of large capacity ammunition feeding devices that were lawfully possessed prior to the enactment of the Safe Act or manufactured prior to 1994.
A. 10497 (Jacobson)/S.9407-B (Kavanagh): Makes unlawful the purchase and sale of body vests for anyone who is not engaged in an eligible profession. Eligible professions include law enforcement officers and other professions designated by the Department of State in consultation with other agencies. Also requires that any sale of a body vest be done in person.
A. 10504 (Burgos)/S. 9456 (Sepulveda): Expands the definition of a “firearm” to include any weapon not defined in the Penal Law that is designed or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by action of an explosive. This is intended to capture firearms that have been modified to be shot from an arm brace, which are evading our current definitions of firearms and rifles.
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of a new website containing resources offered by New York State and its partners to help Ukrainian people and their friends and allies here in New York. This follows the Governor’s announcement warning consumers about scams and cybersecurity threats amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In an additional show of support, the Governor also announced the Ukrainian flag will be flown on the Capitol building, the Executive Mansion, and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services headquarters.
“Ukraine’s resilience against Vladimir Putin’s tyranny is an inspiration to the rest of the world, and many New Yorkers are already doing their part to support humanitarian efforts,” Governor Hochul said. “In moments like these, New Yorkers always stand together to support those in need. We are proud to provide trusted resources for those who want to lend a helping hand for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters here in New York.”
This directive comes amid Governor Hochul’s ongoing efforts to support Ukraine. Last week, the Governor announced an Executive Order to prohibit state agencies and authorities from contracting with entities that continue to do business in Russia. In early March, Governor Hochul announced actions to strengthen the Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) enforcement of sanctions against Russia, including the expedited procurement of additional blockchain analytics technology. In February, Governor Hochul ordered all state agencies and authorities to divest public funds from Russia and stop doing business with Russian companies.
Resources available on the website include:
The Office for New Americans (ONA) provides a variety of free support services to all immigrants and refugees in New York State, regardless of status, such as:
Access to free legal support including asylum applications and deportation defense through its network of legal service providers
English language courses through its network of Opportunity Centers
Access to mental health support groups through its Golden Door Program
Workforce readiness tools including resume writing, digital literacy skills, and credentialing evaluation
Support to access developmental disability services through the ONA Ramirez June Initiative
Visit the Office of New Americans website here or contact their hotline at 1-800-566-7636. The NYS New Americans Hotline connects immigrants and refugees to free services across the state. The Hotline operates from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. All calls are confidential. Assistance is available in over 200 languages, including Ukrainian and Russian.
If you are a U.S. citizen in Ukraine, the U.S. State Department has resources for those wishing to depart. They also offer travel conditions and land border guidance for surrounding countries including Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Moldova.
U.S. citizens in Ukraine should complete this online form so that the State Department can communicate with you. U.S. citizens seeking to depart Ukraine can also call 1-833-741-2777 (in the United States) or 1-606-260-4379 (from overseas) for immediate assistance. You can also visit the Ukraine Crisis page on the State Department’s website here.
The Consulate General of Ukraine in New York is currently providing consular services. However, all consular services which require receiving documents from Ukraine, including issuance of new passports and visa services, have been suspended until further notice.
If you have visa or passport questions, you can contact the Consulate General by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling either 212-371-6965 or 212-371-5690.
Ukrainians in New York and who are experiencing an emergency situation (e.g. detention), can call the Consulate’s hotline number at 917-325-1444 for assistance.
Protections may be available for eligible Ukrainians already present in the U.S. As a result of the Russian military invasion, the Department of Homeland Security announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine for 18 months. Individuals eligible for TPS under this designation must have continuously resided in the United States since March 1, 2022. Ukrainians eligible for TPS can contact the NYS New Americans Hotline for free legal assistance at 1-800-566-7636.
If you have recently been granted asylum, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, through contracted providers, offers free services to asylees across New York State.
Visit a provider in your area that can assist you with:
Free health screening and immunizations
Accessing other support services
Find a provider in your area here and learn more about refugee services and assistance for immigrants here.
If you need 24-Hour Phone Support: You can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline by calling 1-800-985-5990. Callers can connect with counselors for support in 100+ languages via 3rd party interpretation, including in Ukrainian and Russian.
If you need a 24-hour Crisis Text Line: Text GOT5 to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor.
For 24-Hour Support for Deaf or hard of hearing American Sign Language users: The national Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is now offering direct crisis counseling and support for Deaf or hard of hearing American Sign Language users via a dedicated videophone option. Disaster survivors and responders can connect with trained DDH crisis workers fluent in ASL by dialing 1-800-985-5990 from a videophone-enabled device or via an “ASL Now” link which can be accessed at DisasterDistress.samhsa.gov.
Avoid donation scams. Anytime disasters occur, scam artists prey on the heartstrings of individuals looking to help. The invasion of Ukraine provides an opportunity for fraudsters to set up fake charities or pose as compelling war victims. Others design websites to mimic a legitimate charity’s official site to steal unsuspecting donors’ money and/or personal information.
To prevent donation money from falling into the wrong hands, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection recommends taking the following precautions:
Verify the request. Scammers are more frequently posing as friends, family or romantic interests on social media and requesting donations. If you receive an unsolicited request for donation relief online, even if it appears to be someone you know, connect with the person directly through a different communication link to verify the request. Do not click on any links or complete forms before verifying the source. If the request is coming from someone you only recently met online, it is most likely a scam and you should be especially wary.
Research the charity. Don’t rely on a charity website alone. Search online before donating to any charity using the name of the group plus search terms like “review” and “scam”. The Federal Trade Commission recommends checking with give.org, charitynavigator.org, charitywatch.org, or candid.org to see reports and ratings for charities. You can also check with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for verification that a charity is registered. The Office of the Attorney General also recommends reviewing the Charities Registry for financial reports prior to donating to ensure the charity is fiscally sound.
Resist high-pressure tactics. While the situation is urgent, consumers should resist being pressured to donate immediately. Scammers often pressure you to donate immediately, causing you to overlook red flags in their story. Beware of direct e-mails from “victims” and solicitors who employ heart-wrenching stories, insisting that you donate immediately. Do not to give money over the phone to unsolicited telemarketers; instead, ask the caller to send written materials about the charity and where to donate, if you choose.
Keep personal information private. Never give your Social Security number, credit card or debit card number, or other personal identifying information in response to an unsolicited charitable request. If donating online, ensure that your internet connection is secure before following through on donation requests.
Ask how your money will be spent. Consumers want to know that their money is going directly to the victims. A genuine charity should be able to let you know how much of your donation will go directly to the program as opposed to administrative fees.
Donate by check or credit card. Never give money using cash, gift cards, crypto currency, or any tender that would be difficult to trace. Give your contribution by check or credit card to ensure that you have a record of the donation. Make checks out to the charity, not to an individual. If you choose to donate via a charity’s website, check that the website is secure and that your computer is equipped with the latest anti-virus protection.
If you suspect that you have encountered a fraudulent attempt to receive donations, you can file a complaint with the New York State Division of Consumer Protection here.
The Division’s Consumer Assistance Hotline is open Monday to Friday, excluding State holidays, 8:30am to 4:30pm at 1-800-697-1220. You can find more information and tips by following the Division of Consumer Protection on social media on Twitter (@NYSConsumer) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/nysconsumer).
Show Your Support
Show your support through the use of New York-branded social media graphics for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Instagram Story. You can also spread the word about how to show support to the humanitarian response through the social media toolkit here.
New York’s Asian American community welcomed the Year of the Tiger with its traditional Lunar New Year parade, but with some important differences: glee after a COVID hiatus and a measure of assertiveness to counter the uptick in hate crimes these past two years. There was more political messaging – pushing back against a city plan to locate a jail in the community and standing firm against hate crimes directed at the community. It is also an opportunity for politicians to show support for the community, which numbers 1.6 million in New York City.
“When I see this crowd, it says to me one thing, that New York is as strong as the tiger,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in her remarks to start the parade. “We are tough, courageous, resilient, and we always fight back. That’s what this parade symbolizes. We were here just before the pandemic and yes, it took us down and it was very difficult for many of our communities, our businesses.
“I walked these streets, and this was a ghost town for too long. We came here with Steven and others, but we are back. And I also want to say that the State of New York, my administration, is committed to one program I believe is going to make a huge difference here. We’re putting $10 million toward helping mental health and social services for this community to help people rise up, rise up and deal with all the challenges.
“We will continue to fight back against every form of hate as it rears its ugly head. We have your backs, and we stand with the Asian community, 1.6 million strong here in the State of New York.
“We are so powerful. Let us roar like the tiger as we continue to fight our way back, claw our way back, because we are New York! Happy New Year!”
The $10 million in awards will go to community-based organizations providing services to Asian American communities that were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding, allocated in the FY 2021-22 budget, will be distributed through the Asian American Federation (AAF), the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), and the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC), as well as other organizations. There will be a focus on community programs and providers that bring services and supportive programs directly to New York’s Asian American communities. This will be the largest investment in the Asian American community in New York State history.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on so many vulnerable and marginalized communities across New York State,” Governor Hochul said.”The Asian American community was especially hard hit, not only by the virus, but by an increase in hate and violent crimes. With this $10 million in funding, we are sending a strong message that hate has no home here, and we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our sisters and brothers in the Asian American community. My administration is laser focused on continuing to help communities that have for too long been forgotten, not only as we recover from this pandemic, but for years to come.”
President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council Wayne Ho said,”We would like to thank the Governor’s Office and State legislators for critical funding to support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. The increase in anti-Asian violence and hate combined with the economic devastation of the pandemic have left our community in crisis. In the past year, CPC has served over 125,000 New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds through our essential services, financial assistance, and pandemic relief efforts. CPC looks forward to receiving this funding from the State to continue addressing our community members’ health, economic, and safety needs.”
Executive Director of the Asian American Federation Jo-Ann Yoo said,”We thank Governor Hochul for her investment and commitment in providing the resources that New York’s Asian American community needs now more than ever. With the tragedies that our community has experienced since the start of the pandemic, and painfully so over the last few months, many Asian Americans are fearful for their own lives when stepping out of their homes. Governor Hochul’s leadership shows that our voice is not going unheard as we ask for support to overcome this trauma. Today’s announcement is the start of much work to be done, and we look forward to working with the Governor and State and City elected officials to ensure that New York’s Asian American community is protected and given the resources to preserve past this crisis.”
At least two of the floats carried banners with Governor Hochul photo, with a giant “thank you.”
Hochul was joined on the podium by a number of politicians, including US Senator Chuck Schumer, NYC Mayor Eric Adams, State Senator Brian Kavanaugh and NYC Comptroller Brad Lander,
The parade and festivities returned after last year’s coronavirus hiatus, and so were the crowds to enjoy the display of culture and pride by the Asian American community. Here are photo highlights from the parade through New York City’s Chinatown:
Statewide Indoor Business Mask or Vaccine Requirement to be Lifted Starting February 10, Remains Optional for Businesses, Local Governments, Counties
Masks Will Still Be Required In Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Shelters, Transportation and Other Related Entities
Requirements Related To Masks in Schools Continue and Will Be Reevaluated in Early March, After Mid-Winter Break, Based on Public Health Data
Health Care, Business and Labor Leaders Praise Governor Hochul’s Scientific, Evidence-Based COVID-19 Response
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced New York’s new Winter Toolkit for the new phase of the pandemic, aiming to keep New York safe, open and moving forward. The Winter Toolkit focuses on five core areas: protecting the most vulnerable New Yorkers, increasing vaccinations and boosters, strengthening our health care system, empowering local leaders, and supporting individuals facing the long-term effects of COVID.
“As we begin a new phase in our response to this pandemic, my top priority is making sure we keep New York safe, open and moving forward,” Governor Hochul said. “I want to thank the health care workers, business owners and everyday New Yorkers who acted responsibly during the Omicron surge by masking up and getting vaccinated. But make no mistake: while we’re moving in the right direction, this pandemic isn’t over and our new Winter Toolkit shows us the path forward.”
Governor Hochul announced that the statewide indoor business mask-or-vaccine requirement will be lifted starting Thursday, February, 10, and will remain optional for businesses, local governments and counties to enforce. This protocol, a temporary measure implemented on December 10 as statewide cases spiked, was an effective tool to address the winter surge and the rise of the Omicron variant. With case counts plummeting and hospitalizations sharply declining, this temporary measure is no longer needed statewide. Counties, cities, and businesses will be able to opt into the mask-or-vaccine requirement if they so choose.
Masks remain a critical tool to fight the spread of COVID-19, and mask requirements will remain in place in certain high-density settings. All health care settings regulated by the Department of Health and other related state agencies will continue to require masks. Masks will also be required in nursing homes, adult care facilities, correctional facilities, detention centers, homeless shelters, and domestic violence shelters, public transit and transportation hubs, as well as trains, planes and airports in accordance with federal regulations.
Governor Hochul also announced plans to assess the mask requirement in schools in early March, to ensure students can continue learning in-person and in the classroom. The assessment will be based on public health data, including key metrics like cases per 100,000 residents, hospital admission rates, vaccination rates, global trends and pediatric hospitalizations. Plans are already underway to distribute two tests for every K-12 student ahead of midwinter break, and continue distribution the following week when students return to school. In the meantime, Governor Hochul has directed the Department of Health to work on preliminary guidance, with input from educators and parents, to keep students and teachers safe.
With a new phase of the pandemic beginning, Governor Hochul unveiled a new Winter Toolkit to help keep New Yorkers safe. The toolkit includes efforts to:
Protect the most vulnerable
Increase access to vaccines, boosters and testing
Strengthen the health system
Empower local leaders
Support New Yorkers facing long-term COVID effects
Protecting the Most Vulnerable
New York State will continue to acquire and distribute masks and tests to New Yorkers to ensure those who need them can access them. The state’s test stockpile contains 92 million tests. Over 14.2 million tests have been distributed to schools and tests will continue to be distributed as needed. 4.2 tests have been distributed to nursing homes, 2.4 million tests to adult care/congregate facilities, and 4 million tests to counties.
1.28 million masks have been distributed to nursing homes and 5.5 million masks have been distributed to counties.
Visitation rules in nursing homes will remain in place. Visitors must show proof of a negative test within 24 hours of their visit and masks will remain required.
Tests will be made widely available for students so that K-12 student can go home for their Midwinter Break with two tests.
Increase Access to Vaccines, Boosters and Testing
New York State’s mass vaccination and testing sites will remain open to ensure all eligible New Yorkers can access first, second, and third doses for themselves and their children.
The State’s #VaxForKids pop-up programming continues to expand with 63 new sites established today and 193 sites established to date. This effort brings the vaccine directly to parents, guardians, and their children at local schools, community centers, and destinations like farmer’s markets to make getting vaccinated convenient and accessible for families.
New York State is actively preparing for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to come online for children under 5 years old.
The State’s robust education efforts to reach New Yorkers with good, science-based information about the vaccine is on-going including through traditional advertising, digital and multimedia campaigns, and direct messaging efforts through SMS text messaging, robo-calling, and Excelsior Pass push notifications.
All 61 state-operated and state-partnered testing sites will remain open to provide New Yorkers with access to COVID-19 testing.
Testing also remains widely available at over 1,800 sites statewide in every region of the State.
Strengthen the Healthcare System
To troubleshoot shortage issues, Executive Order 4 to increase staffing flexibility will remain in place. National Guard will continue to be trained to be able to staff in places needed as well.
As part of the Governor’s Winter Surge Plan 2.0, the State has already deployed 20-member Medical Specialty Teams from the U.S. military hospital support team to Erie County Medical Center, a 35-member team to SUNY Upstate in Syracuse, 92 new ambulance teams to different regions in the state, including 50 to NYC, and two Medical Specialty Teams (MSTs) of 20 personnel from the Department of Defense to Strong Memorial Hospital.
Governor Hochul also outlined investments to strengthen the health care system in her 2022 State of the State Address and FY 2023 Budget. $10 billion will be invested to grow the health care workforce by twenty percent in five years. $4 billion will be invested in wages and bonuses to stop the hemorrhaging of health care staff. $1.6 billion will be invested via the Capital Plan.
Empower Local Leaders
Governor Hochul’s announcement today comes after consultation with local leaders on steps the state is taking to fight COVID-19.
Support New Yorkers Facing Long-Term COVID Effects
Last Thursday, the State’s Department of Health hosted an expert forum on Long COVID and over 2,000 individuals registered to view the panels. Panelists included specialists, clinicians, social scientists, patients and advocates who shared their experience, expertise, and insights.
This discussion, as well as continued focus and study by the Department, will inform the State’s response which will span policy, regulatory, and program considerations to support New Yorkers suffering from long COVID as well as the healthcare providers who care for them.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said:”At every stage of the pandemic, and since Omicron emerged, the Department of Health has monitored the science to inform the State’s data-driven COVID-19 response. Today, we have reached a critical point in our fight in which the proof of vaccination or masking requirement for businesses, restaurants and other indoor public spaces will expire. As the winter surge recedes, getting vaccinated and boosted remains critical to continue the progress we’ve made, and masking remains key to keeping children in schools safely and keeping everyone safe in public transit and other crowded settings. As we continue to assess the data, the Department is also focused on ensuring the necessary support is there for those suffering from long COVID.”
President & CEO of Northwell Health Mike Dowling said,”I support the Governor’s decision. It is reasonable and data driven. It is now time to begin the pivot to a more normal way of living”.
Business Council of New York State President & CEO Heather Briccetti said,“As protecting public health remains our top concern, we also appreciate the Governor’s efforts to assure that state policies reflect ever-changing COVID levels. Throughout the pandemic, employers have taken the necessary safety precautions and followed state and federal guidelines to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. We hope new policies will encourage New Yorkers to continue to support New York businesses still recovering from the pandemic.”
New York State Association of Counties President Martha Sauerbrey said, “We applaud Governor Kathy Hochul’s decision to lift the statewide mask mandate and allow for local decision-making regarding COVID-19 prevention measures. Local leaders and health officials have the training and public health expertise to ensure the health and safety of the public at large. Any step toward normalcy is a good step for our residents and businesses who have struggled so hard to protect one another for nearly two years. We acknowledge Governor Hochul’s public health measures, including testing, vaccinations and emergency management assistance, during this pandemic and appreciate the steps she took to address this wave without implementing other business restrictions. Now we welcome the opportunity to return communicable disease control to the counties.”
Partnership for New York City President & CEO Kathryn Wylde said, “Governor Hochul’s decision to allow expiration of mask mandates in the workplace will encourage the return of employees to the office and accelerate the city’s economic recovery. It is the right call.”
“The mask mandate has helped keep New York’s working men and women safe and healthy during the most uncertain and volatile moments of the public health crisis,” Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York President Gary LaBarbera said.”The easing of indoor mask mandates for businesses is a positive sign in New York’s recovery, as it’s a direct result of COVID-19 cases dropping across the state and, hopefully, the pandemic itself receding. We’re grateful to Governor Hochul for her thoughtful and steady leadership in navigating New York through these uncertain times.”
New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said, “In light of the announcement today, we thank the governor for ensuring employers still have responsibilities under state statute, including the Public Employee Safety and Health Act and the New York HERO Act, which remain in effect. These laws establish safety protocols to protect workers and the public. Moving forward, in the absence of the mask mandate, employers must continue to work with their employees to make sure appropriate protections are in place.”
New York State Restaurant Association President & CEO Melissa Fleischut said, “As protecting public health remains our top concern, we also appreciate the Governor’s efforts to assure that state policies reflect ever-changing COVID levels. Throughout the pandemic, employers have taken the necessary safety precautions and followed state and federal guidelines to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. We hope new policies will encourage New Yorkers to continue to support New York businesses still recovering from the pandemic.”
Retail Council of New York State President & CEO Melissa O’Connor said, “Governor Hochul over the past several weeks has prioritized the health and safety of New Yorkers, while recognizing the importance of keeping the economy open during the COVID-19 ‘winter surge’ in New York. Today’s announcement is a positive development for retailers throughout the state and we will continue to collaborate with the Governor on economic recovery efforts.”
Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth Raske said, The Greater New York Hospital Association fully supports Governor Hochul’s decision to let the mask mandates expire. Thankfully, hospitalizations due to COVID have dropped dramatically in recent weeks and we are optimistic that this trend will continue, particularly as more and more New Yorkers get vaccinated. Returning to as much normalcy as possible is exactly what is needed. We thank the Governor for her outstanding leadership during this extraordinarily challenging time and, as always, stand ready to assist in any way needed to combat this pandemic. Erie County Medical Center President & CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., PhD said, “Governor Hochul clearly understood that the restaurant industry could not survive another shutdown, and the mask mandate helped ensure that we could remain open for indoor dining even as cases surged. Now as the metrics continue to trend in the right direction and consumer confidence increases, we remain hopeful that better times are ahead and we can continue our recovery from the darkest days of the pandemic. This measur
The annual Flushing Lunar New Year parade, celebrating the Year of the Tiger, returned to the city’s largest Chinatown on February 5, 2021, after a hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Kathy Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin, joined by elected officials including Attorney General Tish James, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Senator Chuck Schumer, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and Peter Tu, executive director of the Flushing Chinese Business Association, were on hand to kick off the Flushing, Queens Chinese Lunar New Year Parade, and show support for the Asian community.
One of the oldest communities in America – settled by the Dutch in 1645 – Flushing, Queens, has become a melting pot of immigrants – predominantly from Asia but with representation from around the world. Flushing’s Chinatown, is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing Chinatowns; it is second in size to Brooklyn’s, and is larger than Manhattan’s Chinatown and Flushing has become a center of Chinese culture.
Here is a summary of New York State Governor Kathy Hochul’s executive budget proposal for FY 2023:
Governor Kathy Hochul today, with Division of the Budget Director Robert F. Mujica Jr., outlined her Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Executive Budget. The FY 2023 Executive Budget maintains the Governor’s commitment to passing a bold agenda that by rebuilds New York’s healthcare and teacher workforces; provides tax relief to those who need it most; speeds up economic growth and creates good-paying middle-class jobs; strengthens the state’s infrastructure and confronts climate change; secures public safety and protects communities; makes housing more affordable to ensure every New Yorker has a roof over their head; and enacts bold reforms to restore trust in State government.
“We have the means to immediately respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as embrace this once-in-a-generation opportunity for the future with a historic level of funding that is both socially responsible and fiscally prudent,” Governor Hochul said. “As I said in my State of the State speech: It’s time for a better, fairer, and more inclusive version of the American Dream. I’m calling it the New York Dream. We will make that New York Dream real – and ensure that it can be realized by every single New Yorker.”
“Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget makes historic investments in critical areas while ensuring that we are equipped for future shocks,” Budget Director Robert F. Mujica Jr. said, “Never again will the State find itself unprepared for the opportunities – or challenges – ahead. After years of unprecedented hardship, this Budget makes the State, from a financial perspective, as resilient as its spirit. It is the Budget that New Yorkers deserve and expect.”
A Balanced Budget
Governor Hochul’s FY 2023 budget proposal reflects New York’s solid financial footing. As tax revenues rebound the budget is balanced for the entirety of the financial plan leading up to FY 2027, has no budget gaps, and holds spending growth in FY 2023 below inflation.
Rebuilding the Health Care Workforce
To restore our depleted healthcare workforce and build the healthcare system of tomorrow, Governor Hochul will make a more-than-$10 billion, multi-year investment in healthcare, including more than $4 billion to support wages and bonuses for healthcare workers. Key components of this multi-year investment include:
$1.2 billion of state support for healthcare and mental hygiene worker retention bonuses, with up to $3,000 bonuses going to full-time workers who remain in their positions for one year, and pro-rated bonuses for those working fewer hours;
$500 million for Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) to help raise wages for human services workers;
$2.4 billion for healthcare capital infrastructure and improved lab capacity; and
Other investments in workforce and healthcare access and delivery.
With these investments, Governor Hochul proposes to rebuild and grow the healthcare workforce by 20 percent over the next five years with a program designed to strengthen home care, improve the career pipeline, expand access to healthcare training and education, and recruit healthcare and direct support professionals to care for people in underserved areas.
Strengthening the Teacher Workforce
School Aid: The FY 2023 Executive Budget provides $31.3 billion in total School Aid for SY 2023, the highest level of State aid ever. This investment represents a year-to-year increase of $2.1 billion (7.1 percent) compared to School Year (SY) 2022, including a $1.6 billion Foundation Aid increase and a $466 million increase in all other School Aid programs.
Foundation Aid: Foundation Aid is the State’s main education operating aid formula. It is focused on allocating State funds equitably to all school districts, especially high-need districts, based on student need, community wealth, and regional cost differences. The Executive Budget provides a $1.6 billion (8.1 percent) increase in Foundation Aid, supporting the second year of the three-year phase-in of full funding of the current Foundation Aid formula and ensuring each school district receives a minimum year-to-year increase of 3 percent.
The Executive Budget provides SUNY and CUNY with $106 million – $53 million each – to hire additional full-time faculty at both four-year colleges and community colleges. This investment will fund an estimated 880 additional full-time faculty – 340 at SUNY and 540 at CUNY, including support for CUNY’s plan to convert adjuncts to full-time faculty.
Providing Tax Relief to Those Who Need It
Accelerate the Implementation of the Middle-Class Tax Cut: The eight-year phase-in of personal income tax cuts for middle-class taxpayers first began in Tax Year 2018 and is currently scheduled to be completed at the start of the 2025 Tax Year. The Executive Budget:
Accelerates tax relief to middle-class New Yorkers by providing the fully implemented reduced tax rates beginning in Tax Year 2023.
Provides relief to 6.1 million New Yorkers.
Create a Tax Credit for Small Businesses’ COVID-19-Related Expenses: To continue the State’s support for our small businesses, the Executive Budget includes a new capped refundable tax relief program targeting COVID-19-related expenses for small businesses. The program provides:
Up to $250 million in additional relief to small businesses.
Eligible COVID-19-related capital investments include, but are not limited to, costs associated with expanding space to accommodate social distancing, HVAC equipment, expenses related to outdoor space expansions, as well as machinery and equipment to facilitate contactless sales.
Provide Small Business Tax Relief: Small businesses were hit particularly hard by the pandemic downturn. The Executive Budget provides much needed tax relief to these businesses by:
Increasing the small business subtraction modification from 5 percent to 15 percent of net business income or farm income, and
Expanding the benefit to include pass-through entities with less than $1.5 million NY-source gross income.
This proposal will aid 195,000 small businesses through one of the most challenging business climates in modern history.
Provide a Homeowner Tax Rebate Credit: The Executive Budget creates a new property tax relief credit, the Homeowner Tax Rebate Credit, to eligible low- and middle-income households, as well as eligible senior households:
Basic STAR exemption and credit beneficiaries with incomes below $250,000 and Enhanced STAR recipients are eligible for the property tax rebate where the benefit is a percentage of the homeowners’ existing STAR benefit.
This one-year program is, in general, an extension of the real Property Tax Relief Credit Program that expired after 2019, with benefits calculated as a percentage of a homeowner’s STAR benefit. Additionally, homeowners in New York City will also be eligible for this credit.
Outside of New York City, the average benefit will be nearly $970, providing relief to more than 2 million property tax-paying households. The New York City average benefit will be about $425, with benefits reaching another 479,000 property tax-paying households.
For homeowners with income below $75,000 the statewide average credit is estimated at nearly $1,050, benefiting an estimated 837,800 recipients.
The benefit will be in the form of an advanced credit, instead of being claimed when tax returns are filed, thus getting benefits in the hands of New York homeowners more quickly. Credits will be an advance on Tax Year 2022 income tax returns, to be directly sent to eligible homeowners beginning in Fall 2022.
Capital Plan and Infrastructure
The new five-year, $32.8 billion DOT capital plan will leverage Federal funding commitments made in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to support final phases of major infrastructure projects, including Hunts Point Interstate Access Improvement and the replacement of I-81 in Syracuse.
The new plan also supports new large-scale projects, including: modernizing the Livingston Avenue Bridge in Albany; reconnecting neighborhoods across the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo; converting Route 17 to I-86 in Orange and Sullivan Counties; and assessing ways to improve road capacity at the Oakdale Merge in Suffolk County.
The Five-Year DOT Capital Plan also increases the existing BRIDGE-NY program by $1 billion, adds a new $1 billion Operation Pave Our Potholes program, and continues record commitments to funding local highway and bridge programs through the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS).
Building on $832 million in existing subsidies and $2.3 billion in Federal child care resources, the Budget includes new investments to support children, parents, and the child care industry.
Increase Eligibility for Subsidies— child care subsidy eligibility will be increased from up to 200 percent of the Federal poverty level to up to 300 percent of the Federal poverty level over three years. Fully phased in, more than $535 million annually will allow an additional 400,000 children to become newly eligible.
Maintain Access to Child Care Providers— $125 million in funding annually is included to maintain child care subsidies when rates increase in 2022.
Support Child Care Workers—$75 million is invested in child care worker wages, an endorsement of the importance of their work.
Governor Hochul is proposing a nearly billion-dollar plan focused on the State’s small businesses, including targeted programs to address small business needs and ensure all types of small businesses prosper throughout the State. Key components of this plan include:
Funding for Small Businesses of the Future – Capital and venture debt awards to emerging small businesses in the innovation sector, including minority-and-women-owned companies often overlooked by venture investments.
Seed Funding for Small Business – A $200 million flexible grant program for early-stage businesses recently opened despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Small Business Lending Initiative – Provide reduced interest rate and accessible loans to expanding small businesses.
SUNY and CUNY
$1.5 Billion for SUNY and CUNY: The Executive Budget will invest more than $300 million in SUNY and CUNY operations each year over the next five years. Governor Hochul also will partner over the next year with SUNY, its individual institutions, and key stakeholders to develop a plan to implement her vision to transform SUNY into the top statewide system of public higher education in the country. The Executive Budget will help start this transformation with funding for new engineering buildings to help the University at Buffalo and Stony Brook University become SUNY’s flagship institutions.
The Executive Budget will increase operating support to SUNY State-operated campuses and City University of New York (CUNY) senior colleges by fully reimbursing colleges for the $108.4 million cost of “Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) Gap” tuition credits, providing additional State support of $59.6 million to CUNY and $48.8 million to SUNY. The university systems will also receive an $18.6 million in additional operating revenue from Executive Budget legislation to raise the amount of State support that campuses receive for Excelsior Scholarship recipients, increasing operating support by $13.7 million to SUNY State operated campuses, $2.8 million to CUNY senior colleges and $2.1 million to community colleges.
Expand Part-Time Students’ Access to TAP: The Executive Budget includes $150 million to expand TAP, which currently is largely unavailable for students studying part time, to cover students enrolled in six or more credits of study at a SUNY, CUNY, or not-for-profit independent college – an investment estimated to provide support to 75,000 additional New York students annually.
Energy and the Environment
Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act: The Executive Budget includes $4 billion for the landmark Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act. This historic initiative will provide the support New York needs to restore critical environmental habitats; reduce flood risks; conserve additional lands and open spaces; protect and improve our water resources; and invest in climate change mitigation projects that will reduce pollution and lower carbon emissions. The Bond Act will also support a substantial investment in the Clean Green Schools initiative that will reach every public school located in a disadvantaged community.
Offshore Wind: The Executive Budget includes $500 million investment to develop the State’s offshore wind supply chains and port infrastructure. This nation-leading initiative will create 2,000 jobs in a growing industry, while helping to make New York the offshore wind capital of the country for years to come.
Launch a New Five-Year, $25 Billion Comprehensive Housing Plan. The Executive Budget advances a new $25 billion, five-year Housing Plan to create and preserve 100,000 affordable homes, including 10,000 homes with support services for vulnerable populations, and electrify an additional 50,000 homes as part of the State’s plan to electrify one million homes and make another one million electrification-ready. Funding includes $5.7 billion in capital resources, $8.8 billion in State and Federal tax credits and other federal allocations, $11 billion to support the operation of shelters and supportive housing units and to provide rental subsidies.
Combating Gun Violence
The Executive Budget includes $224 million to fund initiatives that will strengthen the gun violence prevention efforts of law enforcement and community-based organizations. Through these actions, we will work to restore New Yorkers’ sense of safety and community. Some of these actions include:
Triple Resources for Crime Gun Tracing Efforts – The Executive Budget provides $350,000 in funding to triple the state’s gun violence intelligence resources by staffing the New York State Intelligence Center (NYSIC) with a team of analysts necessary to process and investigate crime guns across the state.
Strengthen Law Enforcement Partnerships – The Executive Budget provides $13.1 million to expand the use of Community Stabilization Units that partner the most experienced State Troopers with local law enforcement agencies to combat community-specific crime problems.
Expand the State’s Direct Support to Local Law Enforcement (GIVE) – The Executive Budget increases funding to $18.2 million for New York’s nationally recognized Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative which supports local law enforcement efforts to stop the gun violence in New York. This investment will enable the launch of several new initiatives which will support law enforcement’s ability to clear non-fatal shooting cases, engage in youth-centered community programming, and reduce recidivism for individuals under community supervision.
Triple Investment in Community-Based Gun Violence Response (SNUG) – The Executive Budget sustains last year’s emergency increase in funding for New York’s SNUG Outreach program and further expand support to combat the spike in gun crimes. This investment of $24.9 million will expand hospital-based and street outreach programs to touch all corners of the state. It will facilitate the piloting of several new initiatives which provide wrap-around services for youth, job-readiness and work-placement training.
Respond to Regional Needs in the Aftermath of Gun Violence – The Executive Budget includes $20 million in new funding to support the people and places that have been most impacted by the spike in gun violence. This will allow the deployment of innovative community empowerment and crime-reduction programming in high-need areas that will facilitate the repairing and rebuilding of regions victimized by crime involving guns.
Addressing Addiction and the Opioid Crisis
Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) will take significant steps to address the opioid crisis by improving access to addiction treatment services, removing barriers to treatment, developing new and innovative treatment models, and expanding the number of treatment facilities in communities around New York State.
The Executive Budget provides an increase of $402 million (56 percent) in operating and capital support for OASAS to enhance prevention, treatment and recovery programs targeted toward addiction services, residential service opportunities, and primary prevention activities consistent with state opioid settlement agreements; and invests more than $100 million in new resources from the Opioid Stewardship Tax and litigation settlements with pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors. Of these funds, $113 million will pass through the State to local municipalities, consistent with settlement agreements.
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul today at the Port of Albany, alongside U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, Congressman Paul Tonko and other elected officials, announced the finalization of contracts between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Empire Wind Offshore LLC and Beacon Wind LLC, each a 50-50 partnership between Equinor and bp, for the Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind offshore wind projects, representing a key milestone in the advancement of offshore wind development in New York State.
“We know what it takes to build and sustain for the future, it’s in our DNA as New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said. “By advancing these significant offshore wind projects, we can maintain our cadence for developing projects that will spur much-needed green job creation and investment. No state has felt the impacts of climate change more than New York State, and now more than ever, we can continue to lead the way with our ambitious, nation-leading vision to transition to a renewable energy and a cleaner, greener future.”
Today’s announcement formally closes the State’s second offshore wind competitive solicitation and also includes the first awards for the State’s Offshore Wind Training Institute. Coupled with this week’s issuance of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) Final Sale Notice for the New York Bight and the State of the State announcement of a nation-leading $500 million investment in offshore wind ports, manufacturing, and supply chain to be integrated within NYSERDA’s 2022 solicitation, these events represent a significant step forward in advancing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.
“Hats off to Governor Hochul for taking a huge step towards lowering energy bills for New York households, creating thousands of good-paying jobs, and advancing President Biden’s goal of a robust offshore wind industry in America,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said. “We can and will overcome the challenge of climate change, and we’ll do it one clean energy worker at a time.”
Senator Gillibrand said,”As we celebrate New York’s innovation in clean energy this week in Albany, I’m thrilled to announce this key partnership between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Empire Wind Offshore LLC and Beacon Wind LLC. This marks another milestone in our state’s leadership and innovation in clean energy and offshore wind development. I look forward to continuing our great work to bring clean energy jobs and technology to New York.”
“We know New York’s potential for offshore wind development is tremendous,” Congressman Paul Tonko said. “Today’s exciting news will play a pivotal role in expanding this industry, creating good-paying jobs, training the energy workforce of the future, and helping address our most pressing climate challenges. Thanks to all involved in this forward-thinking announcement that invests in our region and pushes New York further down the path to becoming a powerhouse of wind manufacturing.”
NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “New York State has been steadfast in its commitment to establish itself as the leading offshore wind market in the nation and a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse. These contracts with Equinor further solidify our progress and will create new economic opportunities while building a new electric grid powered by clean, renewable energy that paves our way to a healthier and more sustainable future.”
The 1,260-megawatt Empire Wind 2 and 1,230-megawatt Beacon Wind projects were provisionally awarded in January 2021 as a result of NYSERDA’s second offshore wind competitive solicitation. Expected to enter into commercial operation in 2027 and 2028, respectively, the projects will strengthen New York’s economy and further drive investments in ports to directly support offshore wind projects while establishing New York as the hub of the offshore wind supply chain. NYSERDA payments to the projects will commence once they obtain all required permits and approvals, complete construction, and begin delivering power to New York.
The final project contracts are available on NYSERDA’s website and include commitments to the following key benefits:
Unprecedented public and private funding commitments of $644 million in port infrastructure, including:
$357 million in the nation’s first offshore wind tower manufacturing facility to be built at the Port of Albany
More than $287 million in an offshore wind staging and assembly facility at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT), owned by the City of New York and managed by New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC)
More than $8.9 billion in anticipated in-state spending and the creation of more than 5,200 jobs backed by prevailing wage and project labor agreement commitments.
The average bill impact for customers will be approximately 0.8 percent, or about $0.95 per month. Total project costs, including a cost-effective average all-in development cost of $80.40 per megawatt hour, are approximately seven percent lower than those of NYSERDA’s 2018 awards, signaling offshore wind is a competitively priced renewable energy resource with tremendous benefits.
Equinor Wind US President Siri Espedal Kindem said, “Today’s announcement sets Equinor and bp on the path to provide over 3.3 GWs of offshore wind power for New York. It also offers a large-scale, tangible demonstration of the incredible economic activity and carbon reduction potential being driven by New York’s green energy transition. We are proud to help lead the growth of this exciting industry in New York.”
“These are world class assets and we are moving quickly and safely to get them producing the energy people need in the way that they want it – all the while creating positive ripple effects for the surrounding communities and industry,” bp Senior Vice President for Zero Carbon Energy Felipe Arbelaez said. “Today’s milestone is a critical step forward and we will continue to work hard to deliver the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects, providing clean energy and stable returns for decades to come.”
Director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance Fred Zalcman said, “Today’s suite of announcements moves the state inexorably closer to realization of its’ nation-leading goal of 9,000 MW by 2035 and secures New York as the undisputed economic epicenter for the emerging offshore wind industry. We congratulate NYSERDA and the Equinor-bp joint venture on achieving this major commercial milestone, as well as the recipients of the first training grants to support the first generation of skilled workers to be deployed on these New York’s groundbreaking projects.”
“This is another important step toward reducing emissions, securing New York’s place in the offshore wind industry, and creating good union jobs and careers in communities across the state,” Executive Director of Climate Jobs NY Jeff Vockrodt said. “We look forward to working with the Hochul administration to ensure that these projects move forward expeditiously, that the jobs created are good family-sustaining union jobs, and that New Yorkers see the economic benefits of these investments. We are also encouraged to see that NYSERDA plans to issue the next solicitation for offshore wind power soon, which together with Governor Hochul’s recent announcement of $500 million in new supply chain investments will help build out ports and other essential offshore wind infrastructure.”
This week, Governor Hochul joined United States Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to announce BOEM’s Final Sale Notice of six new leases, comprised of 488,000 total acres for offshore wind development in the New York Bight, and the release of the document “A Shared Vision on the Development of an Offshore Wind Supply Chain,” which describes a coordinated offshore wind supply chain effort between New York, New Jersey and BOEM. These additional lease areas are needed for New York and New Jersey to achieve their respective offshore wind goals and support the federal government’s offshore wind goal of 30,000 megawatts by 2030.
Keeping pace to be the U.S. leader in the offshore wind industry, New York will launch its third statewide solicitation round in early 2022. As announced in Governor Hochul’s 2022 State of the State address, NYSERDA’s next solicitation is expected to result in at least 2 gigawatts of new projects — enough to power 1.5 million homes, bringing the state’s combined total to more than 4.5 million homes powered by offshore wind. NYSERDA will couple this procurement with a $500 million offshore wind infrastructure investment to catalyze private investments to build the critical infrastructure needed to assure New York’s prominence as the hub for this burgeoning industry. The solicitation will include improvements to the approach for offshore transmission based on recommendations from the New York State Power Grid Study, increased emphasis on in-state manufacturing, inclusive economic development and climate equity, an emphasis on close relations with New York’s labor force including construction backed by prevailing wage and project labor agreements, and additional scoring credit for projects that propose to repurpose existing downstate fossil-based electric generation infrastructure and utilize energy storage to enhance future system reliability.
New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “Offshore wind is breathing fresh air into New York’s economy. With the support of a well-trained workforce, this emerging sector will bring economic prosperity for years to come. I thank Governor Hochul for continuing to strategically invest in our economy, our environment, and New York’s workforce.”
“Offshore wind ports will fuel both a green economy and economic opportunities,” Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said. “Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind will make New York State greener and create green jobs, which advances Empire State Development’s mission to prepare our economy for the future. With today’s announcement, New York will continue to be leaders in the fight against climate change and production of green energy and green jobs – bringing us closer to the State’s ambitious climate goals.”
President and CEO of the Center for Economic Growth Mark Eagan said,”We are witnessing the birth of a sector that is not only new to New York State, but the entire country. It’s real and it’s concentrating here – in the Capital Region. New York State is a pioneer in the offshore wind industry, and we are deeply thankful for the vision and commitment of Governor Hochul and NYSERDA. We congratulate Equinor, bp, and the Port of Albany on this contract, which will help transform our economy and provide good-paying jobs. CEG started globally marketing the region’s offshore wind potential three years ago, and that has helped yield this nation-leading investment with more on the way. CEG will continue to work with its partners to leverage state and federal dollars to further build out the Capital Region as the location-of-choice for offshore wind component manufacturing.”
Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment said, “This announcement is one step forward for wind power, and a giant leap for a cleaner energy future. It is thrilling to see significant progress that guides our transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The public strongly supports this transition and New York is delivering! As we build a green economy and advanced offshore wind, we are fulfilling the commitment to make New York a leader in the battle to fight climate change. Thank you to Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for continuing to forge a pathway of progress.”
These advancements build on New York’s continued responsible and cost-effective approach to developing offshore wind, including NYSERDA’s recently published Guiding Principles for Offshore Wind Stakeholder Engagement, and Request for Information seeking feedback from the public and interested stakeholders to identify topics to consider in the analysis of offshore and onshore cable corridors. NYSERDA will also initiate a new Offshore Wind Master Plan 2.0: Deep Water to unlock the next frontier of offshore wind development this year.
New York State has five offshore wind projects in active development, the largest portfolio in the nation. This initial portfolio totals more than 4,300 megawatts and will power more than 2.4 million New York homes and is expected to bring a combined economic impact of $12.1 billion to the state. The projects are also expected to create more than 6,800 jobs in project development, component manufacturing, installation, and operations and maintenance. Achieving the State’s 9,000 megawatt by 2035 goal will generate enough offshore wind energy to power approximately 30 percent of New York State’s electricity needs, equivalent to nearly 6 million New York State homes, and spur approximately 10,000 jobs.
Offshore Wind Training Institute
Also announced today were the first round of competitive awards under the State’s $20 million Offshore Wind Training Institute, the largest public investment in offshore wind workforce development by any state in the U.S. Through a partnership between the State University of New York’s Farmingdale State College and Stony Brook University on Long Island, the training institute aims to advance offshore wind training programs and the educational infrastructure needed to establish a skilled workforce that can support the emerging national offshore wind industry. The Institute will certify and train 2,500 New York workers beginning this year to support both offshore and onshore renewable energy projects.
The first two winning proposals will receive a combined $569,618 to support early training and skills development for disadvantaged communities and priority populations – including veterans, individuals with disabilities, low-income individuals, homeless individuals, and single parents – in both the Capital Region and New York City. Awardees include:
Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY (HVCC)
LaGuardia Community College in Queens, NY (LAGCC)
To help build a strong pipeline for the Capital Region’s offshore wind initiative, HVCC recently began offering a two-year associate degree in welding and fabrication and will focus student recruitment efforts on priority populations in urban and rural disadvantaged communities, providing full or partial scholarships to participants. Foundational welding skills training will be provided by the Capital Region Educational Opportunity Center, a division of HVCC with additional non-credit training and certifications be provided at the college’s main campus. The college will also partner with regional manufacturers building turbine components to provide a skilled workforce pipeline of welders and fabricators, aiming to train 75 individuals, including 65 from priority populations and disadvantaged communities.
LAGCC is partnering with Siemens Gamesa to build an inclusive offshore wind workforce that ensures a robust local talent pipeline for the construction, repair, and maintenance of offshore wind facilities in the New York City metro area. The college will convene employers to detail the skill gaps for both new entrants to the workforce and incumbent workers in the construction trades to help inform and develop a best-in-class custom curriculum. A total of fifty low-income individuals from the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront will be trained to work as offshore wind technicians.
Penny Hill, Dean of Economic Development and Workforce Initiatives for HVCC, said, “Hudson Valley Community College is committed to helping supply the workforce for New York State’s clean energy future. In addition to those trained in welding and fabrication, the college is ready to provide other educational opportunities to support the offshore wind industry. We look forward to partnering with manufacturers to provide job training and build stronger, more resilient communities.”
“Building an inclusive offshore wind workforce will allow us to ensure that low-income communities of color and other communities that have been left behind in the past have a chance to lead the green economy of the future,” Hannah Weinstock, Senior Director of Workforce Development for LAGCC, said.
NYS’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York’s unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state’s 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.
Governor Kathy Hochul, becoming the first woman to deliver New York’s State of the State Address, outlined nine key components of her plan for a New Era for New York: rebuilding our healthcare economy, protecting public safety and addressing gun violence, investing in New York’s people, investing in New York’s communities, making New York’s housing system more affordable, equitable, and stable, making New York a national leader in climate action and green jobs, rebuilding New York’s teacher workforce and reimagining higher education, advancing New York’s place as a national equity model, and making critical reforms to restore New Yorkers’ faith in their government.
“As the first woman to present a State of the State address in New York, I want to make it clear I am not just here to make history – I am here to make a difference,” Governor Hochul said.”The time has come for a new American Dream. Today, we start building a better, fairer, more inclusive version that I call the New York Dream. We will create a New Era for New York by embarking on a bold, far-reaching policy agenda that advances our recovery and restores New Yorkers’ trust in government. And through all of this, I will continue to collaborate with others and deliver results for New Yorkers.”
Governor Hochul’s A New Era for New York Agenda is comprised of nine components consisting of 228 initiatives:
Rebuild Our Healthcare Economy to Provide Care for More New Yorkers
Over the next five years, Governor Hochul’s plan will rebuild and grow the healthcare workforce by 20 percent. $10 billion will be invested in the state’s healthcare sector, including more than $4 billion to support wages and bonuses for healthcare workers. Additionally, this plan will improve the career pipeline, expand access to healthcare training and education, recruit care workers to underserved areas, and strengthen home care.
Protect Public Safety and Take Strong Action Against Gun Violence
This public safety initiative will provide state and local law enforcement with tools necessary to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence. The Governor’s plan will invest in public safety and fund state and local policing gun safety efforts, create the Interstate Gun Tracing Consortium, and triple investment in community-based gun violence response.
Governor Hochul’s plan will accelerate the phase-in of $1.2 billion in middle class tax cuts for 6 million New Yorkers by two years – to 2023 – and establish a $1 billion property tax rebate program to put money back into the pockets of more than 2 million New Yorkers who have had to endure rising costs as the pandemic has progressed. The Governor will also deliver a tax rebate for 2 million New York families and increase existing tax credits and create new ones to support food production. Governor Hochul’s efforts will also bring about $100 million in tax relief for 195,000 small businesses across New York State.
Governor Hochul’s seven-pronged initiative will overhaul workforce development to focus on regional needs, expand access to new careers and career services, and recruit the next generation of New York’s labor force. As part of this plan, the Governor will create the Office of Workforce and Economic Development, help New Yorkers move between education and careers, expand access to apprenticeships, recruit the next generation of public servants, expand the state’s technology talent pipeline, make New York a model for the employment of workers with disabilities, and protect and strengthen worker’s rights.
Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals are often left to their own devices upon reentrance into society. With the ‘Jails to Jobs’ program, these individuals will be connected with education, resources, and opportunities for job placement, which will improve public safety and reduce recidivism.
The Interborough Express is a historic project that would use the existing right of way of the Long Island Rail Road owned Bay Ridge Bridge to connect transit deserts in Brooklyn and Queens. This line would connect commuters to as many as 17 subway lines, expanding access to jobs and other destinations. Governor Hochul’s plan is to move forward with the expansion by directing the Metropolitan Transit Authority to begin the environmental review process.
After the hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Hochul’s billion dollar rescue plan will invest in the growth and retention of small businesses of the future, small business tax credits for businesses that took on COVID-related expenses, seed funding to establish new businesses, provide flexible grants to early-stage small businesses, expand small business lending, and help small businesses secure contracts. The Governor also plans to propose legislation to permanently allow the sale of to-go drinks in bars and restaurants.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed how inaccessible and unreliable broadband connection was for many New Yorkers, who suddenly were forced to live their lives through the internet. It is essential that all New Yorkers have equitable access to the internet, as marginalized communities are most affected by this lack of broadband access.The $1 billion ConnectALL initiative will deliver affordable broadband to millions of New Yorkers and transform the state’s digital infrastructure through new investments.
Make New York’s Housing System More Affordable, Equitable, and Stable
Our housing system is riddled with systemic inequalities that need to be addressed. Governor Houchul’s housing plan will tackle these and use public funding to expand opportunity for all. Initiatives to expand housing include utilizing Safe Options Support (SOS) teams of trained mental health practitioners that will assist in transitioning individuals living on the street into stable housing, ending the 421-a tax abatement and establishing a new, more effective program, improving housing access for renters with criminal records or negative credit history, creating an eviction prevention legal assistance program, and creating a permanent disaster recovery and resiliency unit for home rebuilding.
The Governor will implement a comprehensive 5-year housing plan, a $25 billion effort to create and preserve 100,000 affordable homes, including 10,000 homes with support services for vulnerable populations. To increase access and affordability in New York’s housing market, Governor Hochul will also take major steps to construct new housing and increase density in appropriate urban areas. These steps include permitting accessory dwelling units in single-family neighborhoods, kick-starting transit-oriented development, giving New York City the authority to encourage densification, and easing restrictions on converting hotels and offices to housing.
Make New York a National Leader in Climate Action and Green Jobs
Buildings account for more than a third of New York’s climate pollution. Governor Hochul’s plan to achieve a minimum of 1 million electrified homes and up to 1 million electrification-ready homes is anchored by a series of legislative and policy actions. These include requiring zero on-site greenhouse gas emissions for new construction no later than 2027, providing the training programs necessary to ensure that the state has a skilled workforce to deliver these services, establishing a dedicated green electrification fund and electrifying low-income homes through the housing capital plan, among others.
Governor Hochul announced plans to invest in offshore wind infrastructure, procure enough wind energy to power at least 1.5 million homes, initiate planning for an offshore wind transmission network, and launch the offshore wind Master Plan 2.0 Deep Water. This will ensure that the state has the strongest offshore wind energy market along the Eastern Seaboard. The Governor’s plan for offshore wind will support more than 6,800 jobs, a combined economic impact of $12.1 billion statewide, and more than 4.3 gigawatts of energy, enough to power nearly 3 million homes in New York.
Rebuild New York’s School System and Reimagine Higher Education
To rebuild New York’s teacher workforce, Governor Hochul plans to emphasize recruiting and retaining teachers throughout the state. The Governor will also take action to accelerate the teacher certification process and increase funding for K-12 education. This plan also includes providing incentives to attract teachers and school workers, providing learning and mental health grants, creating a state teacher residency program, and upskilling teacher support workers to earn their certifications.
Increase Access to Childcare for 100,000 Families and Invest $75 Million in Wages for Childcare Workers
Affordable childcare is essential to give children the best possible chance at success while providing parents the ability to participate in the workforce. While Governor Hochul believes that the federal government must pass Build Back Better to expand childcare coverage for New York families, if they do not she will propose an expansion of access to childcare. This would impact 100,000 families across New York by increasing eligibility from 200 percent of the federal poverty line to 225 percent. The Governor’s plan also includes a $75 million in better pay for childcare workers.
Governor Hochul’s plan to revitalize the State University of New York System is wide ranging and extensive. The plan includes making the institution a global leader on research and innovation, ensuring SUNY serves students well, and prioritizing equality within the SUNY system. This transformation will set students on a path to economic success and focus on equity so that all may thrive with a SUNY education.
Advance New York’s Place as a National Equity Model
Equity Agenda to Promote Anti-Hate, Racial Equity, and Justice for All New Yorkers The Equity Agenda will advance a wide-ranging plan to promote and support gender equity, racial equity, anti-hate, social justice, the LGBTQIA+ community, immigrants and new arrivals, and veterans with the goal of protecting the health, safety, economic opportunities, and fundamental dignity of every New Yorker—in short, to make the New York Dream into a reality.
Make Critical Reforms to Restore New Yorker’s Faith in Their Government
By introducing a constitutional amendment, Governor Hochul plans to limit the roles of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Comptroller to two consecutive terms. The Governor will also propose legislation to impose a ban on earned outside income for the same statewide elected officials, with an exception for academic positions that must receive ethics board approval.
To restore the people’s trust in their government, Governor Hochul plans to introduce legislation to repeal and replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) with an ethics entity that is truly independent and transparent. This entity will be subject to Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests and the Open Meeting Laws, increasing and improving transparency. This plan will also ban outside communications so that members of the entity will be prohibited from participating in ex-parte communications regarding any potential or ongoing investigation.
WESTBURY, NY (October 28, 2021) – Today, Governor Kathy Hochul signed landmark legislation to crack down on “ghost guns,” untraceable firearms used by criminals to evade background checks. The move follows action by the New York State Senate and Assembly, who passed the legislation in June, 2021. Together, The Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act (S.13a), sponsored by Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-North Hills) and Assemblymember Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove), and The Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act (S.14a), sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WFP-Manhattan) and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan), create the strongest protections from these dangerous weapons in the nation.
“Gun violence is a public health and public safety crisis that must be dealt with aggressively,” said Governor Hochul. “Working with partners at all levels, my administration will continue to crack down on the distribution and possession of dangerous weapons and put an end to the gun violence epidemic.”
“If you can’t pass a background check to get a gun, then you shouldn’t be able to get a gun–period. For too long, the unfinished receiver loophole let anyone get their hands on all the parts needed to build an untraceable, unregistered AR-15 without ever going through a background check, but today, we’re taking historic action here in New York to close that dangerous loophole for good” said State Senator Anna M. Kaplan.
“I’m proud to be the sponsor of the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act because I know it’s going to save lives, just like Scott Beigel did when he gave his life to protect his students from gunfire during the attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I’m grateful for my partners in this effort, Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Chuck Lavine, and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, each of whom have shown extraordinary leadership to make sure our state is combating the scourge of gun violence. And most importantly, I want to thank Scott Beigel’s parents Linda and Michael, for never giving up the fight to ensure that our communities are safe from gun violence.”
State Senator Brad Hoylman said: “In the last three years, we’ve seen a 479% increase in ghost gun seizures across the state. Thanks to the Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act being signed today we’re addressing this growing problem by banning the sale and possession of ghost guns, so nobody will be able to purchase these firearms without first passing a background check. I’m deeply grateful for the advocacy and support of Jose Webster’s sister, Nathalie Arzu, along with Assembly Member Rosenthal, Senator Kaplan, Assembly Member Levine, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Governor Hochul for their leadership on this important issue.”
During the COVID-19 crisis, gun violence has spiked; so have sales of firearms and ghost guns. At the beginning of the pandemic, gun manufacturers reported massive sales of ghost gun kits; at least 16 manufacturers told customers they were experiencing shipping delays due to a high volume of orders.
Ghost guns continue to pose a threat, both in New York and nationwide. Last week, a Queens man who had been ordering gun parts online was caught with an arsenal of do-it-yourself “ghost guns”. ProPublica reported that the “Boogaloo Boys,” a right-wing militia group involved with the January 6 Capitol riots, have embraced ghost guns as one of their preferred weapons.
“The Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act”, sponsored by Senator Anna M. Kaplan and Assemblymember Charles Lavine, specifically addresses the proliferation of “unfinished receivers” or “80% Receivers” which can be purchased online without a background check and which are easily converted into operable firearms by people with limited skills. The legislation:
Defines what constitutes an unfinished frame or receiver
Makes possession of an unfinished frame or receiver by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith or dealer illegal
Prohibits the possession of major components of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun by persons who are otherwise lawfully prohibited from possessing such weapons
Makes it illegal to sell or transfer an unfinished frame or receiver to anyone other than a licensed gunsmith or dealer
“Amidst an epidemic of gun violence plaguing the United States, I commend my good friend Governor Kathy Hochul for supporting and signing this bill which I sponsored in the Assembly,” said Assemblymember Charles Lavine. “It is incumbent upon the states to enact common-sense reforms that close dangerous loopholes that allow untraceable weapons to flood our communities. This new law further strengthens New York’s existing gun safety laws, already among the toughest in the country. It also significantly increases protection to our community and our children by creating much more accountability. It is intended, just as Scott intended, to save lives.”
Senator Kaplan and Assemblymember Lavine’s legislation is named in memory of Scott J. Beigel, the hero teacher of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who lost his life during the shooting over three years ago while shielding his students from gunfire. Beigel’s parents, Linda Beigel Schulman and Michael Schulman of Long Island, are nationally recognized advocates in the fight against gun violence.
Speaking to the crowded room at the “Yes We Can” community center in Westbury, Long Island, Linda Beigel Schulman reflected back to Feb 13, 2018, when she spoke to Scott, exchanged, “I love yous” and “Have a good rest of today. I’ll speak to you tomorrow.” “He walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and gave his last breath after saving lives. A 19 year old shot him 16 times with an AR15 assault rifle. I made a vow to myself and my son to do everything to end gun violence…Nothing will bring Scott back, but these new laws today will save lives.”
“The Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act” sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, prohibits the sale and possession of unregistered ghost guns and ensures law enforcement will be able to track the manufacture and sale of all guns in New York. The legislation:
Defines a “ghost gun” as any firearm, rifle, or shotgun that isn’t serialized and registered in accordance with either state or federal law
Prohibits the possession of ghost guns by anyone but a licensed gunsmith
Prohibits the sale of ghost guns entirely
Prohibits the manufacture or assembly of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith
Requires New York gunsmiths to serialize all firearms, rifles, shotguns, or unfinished frames or receivers they manufacture or assemble, and to register any such gun, or unfinished frame or receiver that isn’t otherwise covered by federal serialization law with the Division of State Police
“Ghost guns have exploded in popularity as people have taken to the internet to evade New York’s strong laws requiring background checks and licensing, to gain access to deadly weapons they can construct in the comfort and privacy of their own homes,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “Closing the ghost gun loophole by signing the Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act, along with the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receivers Act, will help to keep our communities safe. Thank you to Governor Hochul for signing these bills into law. I look forward to working with the Executive to passing more legislation to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence in the future.”
Senator Hoylman and Assemblymember Rosenthal’s legislation is named in memory of Jose Webster, a young man from The Bronx killed by gun violence in 2011. Webster’s sister, Nathalie Arzu, has become a gun violence prevention advocate.
The Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act, S.13a, will take effect in 180 days. Individuals who currently possess an unfinished frame or receiver as defined in the new law have 360 days from today to either voluntarily surrender the unfinished frame or receiver to authorized law enforcement officials, or bring the piece into compliance with the law regarding serialization and registration.
The Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act, S.14a, will take effect in 180 days. There is a six month grace period to turn in ghost guns or have them registered and serialized.
Legislation S.7152/A.6522 adds firearms capable of being concealed and designed to resemble toys to the definition of a ‘disguised gun’ and prohibits their manufacture, design, or sale. Weapons capable of causing severe injury and death but that resemble toys are unjustifiably deceptive, and pose a clear threat to the safety of both children, who may mistake them for actual toys, and the public at large.
“The gun violence epidemic has stolen the lives of so many in our state and country, and we have only seen the problem grow worse in recent years,” said Senator John Brooks. “Common sense measures like this legislation to crackdown on disguised guns are critical to protecting New Yorkers. No one should live in fear of gun violence, not when walking down the street, serving our communities in law enforcement, while learning at schools, spending time at home, or anywhere else. I am thankful to local law enforcement for the support they provided in getting this bipartisan bill passed and I applaud Governor Hochul for her continued effort to keep New Yorkers safe.”
“I am proud to sponsor this critically important legislation that will prohibit the design, manufacture and possession of disguised guns in New York State,” said Assemblymember Steve Stern. “These weapons put our law enforcement personnel at a dangerous disadvantage in situations when they are facing down the barrel of a gun and have a split second to decide if it is a toy or a real weapon, a split second that could make the difference between life or death. This legis will protect our entire community and save lives. I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for their bi-partisan support of this legislation and applaud Governor Hochul’s strong leadership on this important issue.”
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, speaking directly to Linda Biegel Schulman and husband Michael: “I know your story, your pain, and the fact you are out everyday to fight for common sense gun laws is inspiring. Nassau County is rated the safest community in America for two years in a row. But I won’t rest until everyone in county feels it is the safest.”
Governor Hochul added, “it is nothing short of extraordinary – so many affected. To have lost someone you treasured, when you lose a child, it is more than heartbreak, it is a permanent mark on your soul. So many retreat in pain, suffer in silence. It takes an extraordinary person to say, I won’t suffer in silence.
“This is a new era of collaboration, we are changing things. What we accomplished solidifies New York as having the toughest gun laws in the nation.”