NY Lawmakers on the Move, April 6, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

AM Simon’s Hospital Closure Bill Passes the Assembly

Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon

Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn) announced yesterday that her Local Input for Community Hospitals (LICH) Act (S3131/A02251) passed the Assembly with bipartisan support. 

This major piece of legislation ensures that communities receive notice and can provide input and the State Department of Health has oversight before hospitals, maternity or emergency departments are closed. This bill will help address the trend of healthcare facility closures with little to no public comment or public planning. The bill is supported by a broad coalition of healthcare and patient advocacy groups.

“The LICH Act is all about patient safety, transparency, and engagement. When SUNY Downstate proposed closing Long Island College Hospital in 2013, the State Department of Health neither notified nor sought input from the surrounding communities that LICH had served for 156 years, including low-income communities of color that had been designated ‘Health Professional Shortage Areas’ by the federal government,” said Simon.

“The Red Hook and Gowanus communities – literally underwater during hurricane Sandy – were left high and dry by the hospital’s closure. This harmful trend is happening across the state. This bill ensures a role for real community input and state review to protect New Yorkers before hospitals or major departments are closed,” the lawmaker added.

Rozic Introduces Legislation to Provide Gas Price Relief

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Queens) yesterday introduced a new bill to alleviate the economic hardship that New Yorkers are facing in the wake of rising gas prices. Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick (D-Rockland/Westchester) carries the bill in the Senate.

“New Yorkers are trying to overcome the financial hardships exacerbated by the pandemic and we need to support them in any way we can,” said Rozic. “This fuel rebate program is absolutely crucial for all consumers as it relieves the pain at the pump, immediately lowers costs, and puts more money back in people’s pockets.”

The legislation directs the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to provide a $250 motor fuel rebate to all current New York State residents who have registered at least one passenger vehicle in their own name in the past two years. 

It further tasks the Department of Motor Vehicle with compiling a list of all residents that would fall under these qualifications within 30 days of the legislation’s passage. This list would then be delivered to NYSERDA for the administration of the rebate program. 

Addabbo co-sponsored Bill Addressing Foreclosed Vacant Dwellings Passes Senate

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens) saw the bill he co-sponsored requiring banks and financial institutions responsible for foreclosed properties, to actively rehabilitate and maintain vacant dwellings or face maximum civil penalties pass the Senate yesterday.

“Vacant properties are not only an eyesore in neighborhoods but they can also become the site of undesirable mischief or criminal behavior,” Addabbo said. “Homeowners who take pride in their residence should not be forced to live amongst dilapidated, unkept structures that are known to lower property values of homes within a ⅛ mile radius, through no fault of their own. These increased fines will prove costly to institutions if they continue to disregard the law.”

The Foreclosure Relief Act was enacted to hold banks accountable for these foreclosed properties but unfortunately, it has not been effective. When citizens fall behind on their mortgages due to an unforeseen financial crisis, many leave or abandon their homes. The bank or financial institution that foreclosed on the property is obligated by law to take control of the property and bear responsibility for its upkeep and maintenance.  

These vacant properties can have a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhoods necessitating new measures to further compel these foreclosure institutions to obey the statute. This new law gives local governments authority to require foreclosure banks to act, without delay, in providing upkeep or rehabilitating the vacant dwelling or face an increased civil fine from the current $500 to $1000 each day they are found to be in violation.  

After passing the Senate, the bill was delivered to the Assembly Housing Committee for consideration. 

Sanders  to Introduce the Cannabis Community Reinvestment Act (CCRA)

State Senator James Sanders Jr.

Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Queens) on Thursday will be joined by representatives of the National Cannabis Party to announce that he plans to introduce the Cannabis Community Reinvestment Act (CCRA).

This bill would require multi-state cannabis operators in the cannabis to create a plan to reinvest in communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition.

“The War on Drugs unleashed severe damage and ruined many lives–particularly in communities of color. My bill will ensure that companies that profit the most from the legalization of cannabis will contribute part of their profits back into the communities most harmed by the War on Drugs,” said Sanders.

In 2021, the “Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act” (MRTA) became law in New York State, legalizing marijuana. It also established a new Office of Cannabis Management for the regulation of cannabis and created a regulated and taxed cannabis industry. The MRTA also provided for various social and economic justice initiatives.

This CCRA would require state operators in the cannabis industry to create a plan to invest in communities disproportionally impacted by cannabis prohibition to build economic and cultural institutions in those communities most impacted by” the war on drugs.”

The legislation will be announced at 12 noon, Thursday, April 7 at the Legislative Office Building in Room 130 (LCA Press Room) in Albany.

Persaud Hosts Understanding Colon Cancer Webinar

Roxanne J. Persaud
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud

Sen. Roxanne J. Persaud (D-Brooklyn) will host a Webinar Thursday titled, “Understanding Colon Cancer – Screening, Diagnosis & Treatment.”

Among the guests scheduled to speak on the topic of screening, diagnosis and treatments are Doctors Jeffrey Aronoff, a colorectal surgeon; Solaiman Futuri, Hematology & Medical Oncology; and Roberto Lipsztein, Radiation Oncology.  

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will develop colon cancer this year. It is the 3rd most common cancer and the 3rd leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

The Webinar is slated for 7 p.m., Thursday, April 7. Join the Webinar https://rb.gy/rh3vxd. Please contact Senator Persaud’s Albany Office at 518-455-2788 for additional information.