Statement on First Two Bills Signed into Law

Equal Access to Rehabilitative Resources for Female Inmates and Employee Owned Businesses

I am proud to announce that last night, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed my first two bills into law. Both bills will have a significant impact on our communities and better our state. The first bill will provide equal access to rehabilitative resources for female inmates (S3498). The second bill is a step towards establishing worker-owned businesses in the State of New York (S6794).

Women are now entering non-traditional occupations in great numbers, such as construction and building maintenance. Such work can be a major route out of poverty and help end the inequality we see between women and men in the workplace. Many of the vocational and industrial programs offered to incarcerated men train them to work in these occupations upon release. Without the appropriate skills, women will have more difficulty competing for those jobs upon their release from incarceration. This legislation will provide that there are relevant programs providing marketable skills and training available to incarcerated women.

Employee-owned businesses and worker cooperatives are a vital business sector that employs 13.5 million workers across the country at over 7,000 companies. New York provides an insignificant amount of support for such businesses, and several programs have become defunded or require new authorization and revision to properly support this growing segment of the state's economy. This legislation will help support the creation of new employee-owned businesses by focusing on an employer skill training grant program that will provide retraining in order to improve technology, quality control, and production efficiency; provide unique training programs to meet the emerging needs and occupations of the state's business and industry; and provide training to individuals to promote the successful management and/or operation of a business purchased by such individuals to provide for their continued employment through the formation of a worker owned cooperative or an employee stock ownership plan or employee-owned enterprises.

I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for signing these bills into law, and I look forward to continuing to work together for the betterment of the state.