Governor Signs Bill by Senator Hinchey and Assemblymember Barrett to Help New York’s Agricultural Community Fight Lyme Disease

Michelle Hinchey

December 3, 2021

ALBANY, NY State Senator Michelle Hinchey (SD-46) and Assemblymember Didi Barrett (AD-106) today announced that their bill to educate farmers and farmworkers about Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses has been signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul. The bill (S.4089/A.6888), which passed unanimously in both houses of the State Legislature earlier this year, directs the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets to implement a public awareness campaign focused on New York’s agricultural community with an emphasis on helping farmers and farmworkers learn how to prevent, identify, and treat a tick-borne illness.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease each year. Scientists have reported a nearly 300 percent increase in U.S. counties classified as having a high incidence of Lyme disease, and New York has emerged as a hotspot with the third-highest number of confirmed cases in the country. 

“Information is critical when it comes to fighting Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses, and this legislation will help farmers and farmworkers, whose livelihoods depend on working outdoors and in highly prone tick areas, better understand how to prevent, identify, and treat these potentially debilitating diseases,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey. “As the climate crisis worsens, the risk of tick-borne infections will only increase, making it incredibly important to amplify this urgent public health concern with the workers who are most susceptible. I thank Assemblymember Barrett for partnering with me on this legislation and Governor Hochul for signing the measure into law.”

“Ticks carrying Lyme and other diseases are active whenever the temperatures are above freezing, making farmers and farm workers at risk much of the year,” said Assemblymember Didi Barrett. “For more than a decade increasing awareness and research about Lyme and other TBDs has been a top priority, so I am pleased that Governor Hochul has signed the legislation I sponsored with Senator Hinchey directing the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets to implement a plan to educate the agricultural community about how to prevent, identify and treat tick-borne illnesses.”

Senator Michelle Hinchey represents the 46th Senate District, which includes Greene and Montgomery Counties and parts of Albany, Schenectady, and Ulster Counties. 

Assemblymember Didi Barrett represents the 106th Assembly District, which includes parts of Dutchess and Columbia Counties.