(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Majority today passed legislation that will continue helping New Yorkers and businesses recover from the effects of COVID-19 in New York State. This legislation focuses on helping small businesses provide PPE, keeps contract tracing information confidential, and protects New Yorkers as they return to the work force. This package builds on previous legislation passed to help combat COVID-19.
“When the Senate Majority passed major legislation combatting COVID-19 in May we knew that addressing this pandemic would be an ongoing and essential process,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “The bills advanced by the Senate will continue our efforts to recover from this crisis by protecting New Yorkers health and rights, helping state businesses that manufacture PPE, investing in specialized schools, and supporting struggling farmers. The Senate Majority will continue to hold hearings and advance legislation to help New York residents, businesses, and communities recover and move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The bills that will be advanced by the Senate Majority include:
- Senate Bill S.8450-B: This legislation, sponsored by Senator Gustavo Rivera, requires contact tracing information to be kept confidential and not be made available to law enforcement.
- Senate Bill S.8464-A: This legislation, sponsored by Senator Jen Metzger, preserves agricultural property tax assessment for farmers suffering reduced sales due to Covid-19.
- Senate Bill S.8014-C: This legislation, sponsored by Senator Pete Harckham, specifies that Special Act Schools, 853 Schools, 4201 Schools, and 4410 Schools will not see a reduction of aid for closures related to COVID-19.
- Senate Bill S.8361, This legislation, sponsored by Senator Gustavo Rivera, requires Managed Long Term Care Plans reimburse providers for PPE.
- Senate Bill S.8451-A: This legislation, sponsored by Senator Anna Kaplan, authorizes the Empire State Development Corporation to develop a public awareness campaign promoting personal protective clothing and equipment manufacturing businesses located in New York state.
- Senate Bill S.8448-D: This legislation, sponsored by Senator Kevin Thomas, imposes requirements for the use of electronically collected emergency health data during the COVID-19 emergency.
Bill Sponsor Senator Pete Harckham said, “Special Act School Districts across New York, like all school districts statewide, should not be penalized financially or otherwise for missing mandated attendance criterion and instructional benchmarks caused by closings during this health emergency. Instead, the real priority for everyone right now has to be ensuring the health and safety of our students with unique needs, educators and staffs as we move toward a new school year and a return to classroom learning.”
Bill Sponsor Senator Anna Kaplan said, “As our state recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, we need to do more to create jobs, diversify our economy, and ensure we’re prepared to meet the needs of our residents as demand for PPE continues to increase worldwide. By promoting local manufacturing of personal protective equipment like masks and gowns, we can create local jobs and accelerate our economic recovery, while ensuring New Yorkers have access to the life-saving equipment we need in the Covid-era.”
Bill Sponsor Senator Jen Metzger said, “Our family farms have been hit hard during this pandemic, and face great uncertainty about what this year will bring in terms of sales. This bill provides assurance that farms can hold on to their agricultural property tax assessment even if gross sales fall short during this challenging time. Our farms are critical to New York’s economic recovery and food security, and this bill will help to keep our farmers on their land.”
Bill Sponsor Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “In the face of a pandemic, New Yorkers have stepped up and shown incredible compassion and responsibility. Although we have come far and numbers are down, it is undeniable that COVID-19 still poses a serious threat. It is our responsibility in government to protect New Yorkers especially those high-risk individuals, and alleviate their anxieties and concerns. That’s why I am proud to sponsor and pass legislation to protect the private information collected from New Yorkers for contact tracing purposes so it cannot be misused by law and immigration enforcement. This will strengthen the public’s trust on one of our most effective tools in combating this pandemic. I am also proud to sponsor and pass legislation that will ensure home care and personal assistance workers will acquire the proper equipment to protect themselves and their patients.”
Bill Sponsor Senator Kevin Thomas said, “Efforts to combat the coronavirus should not come at the cost of New Yorkers’ privacy rights. Any technology that involves the collection, processing, and disclosure of sensitive health information can put consumers at increased risk of exploitation, abuse, or discrimination. This legislation will ensure that the privacy of consumers’ personal information is protected amid the COVID-19 pandemic by regulating the collection and use of emergency health data.”