I hope you're enjoying the warmer weather and the first signs that spring is on the way.
The past few weeks have been filled with undue disruptions as the Governor's Office deals with a series of controversies including multiple women alleging Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed and assaulted them. This week's Times Union report of the Governor groping a young woman was the last straw for me. These allegations come on top of reports suggesting the withholding of information on nursing home deaths and construction safety issues on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. The Governor's actions have undermined his ability to lead during these budget negotiations and have caused serious distraction during this important time of our recovery from COVID, and he must resign. We have a state budget due in less than 20 days, and I do not see how New York State can be led during this crisis by this Governor. Click here to read my full statement released on Thursday, March 11th.
On Friday, March 5th, I joined the Senate Majority Conference in passing S.5357, to reassert our system of legislative checks and balances over the Governor's decision-making during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new law revokes the Governor's authority to issue any new directives; requires five days' notice to the Legislature or to local elected officials before the extension or modification of current directives; requires the Governor to respond publicly to comments from the Legislature or local elected leaders if a directive is extended, among other measures. With improved knowledge about COVID and increased distribution of the vaccine, it is critical that the basis for the Governor’s orders is shared with the legislature, that answers to our questions are provided, and that our system of checks and balances is restored without undermining the Governor’s ability to respond quickly to emergencies.
As the state receives an increased supply of the COVID-19 vaccines, distribution increases locally, and more & more people are getting a shot in their arm. As of Saturday March 13th, 4.3 million New Yorkers have received at least 1 vaccine dose, and over 2.2 million New Yorkers have completed the vaccine series. More than twenty percent of New Yorkers have received one dose and more than ten percent are fully vaccinated. The latest updates on who is eligible for the vaccine and where & how to book an appointment are included below.
In more good news for this week, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan COVID-19 Relief Package. President Joe Biden signed the bill on Thursday, March 11th. The legislation will bring an estimated $12.5 billion to New York State, local governments, public schools, direct stimulus checks to individuals earning less than $75,000 annually, monthly child tax credits, and more. My personal thank you to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. I worked closely with his office in my fight for more education funds for our schools.
As always, if there is anything my office can assist you with, please don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (914) 934-5250.
Shelley B. Mayer