“That’s a wrap - The end of the 2021 Legislative Session”

“That’s a wrap - The end of the 2021 Legislative Session”

The 2021 Legislative Session ended last week and as my first Session as a State Senator, it will be one to remember. While there were some highlights to the Senate legislative session, unfortunately, much of the legislation that was passed and the budget that was enacted fell short of what New Yorkers needed.

At such a critical juncture in our state’s reopening, many priorities were severely misplaced. Prioritizing massive new spending and unnecessary tax increases while residents and businesses struggle financially is unacceptable.  I spent the session focused on working to reopen our economy, our schools and communities.  I heard from parents, businesses, and educators, all with the same confusion over reopening regulations and ever-changing mandates.

Our state had the opportunity to lead with a clear reopening plan that took all the stakeholders into consideration but instead we saw daily changes and constantly moving thresholds.

While this session fell short in many aspects, there are a few things I would personally like to highlight.  I was very pleased to have the first bill I introduced in the Senate included in the final budget.  The bill was designed to create the “Save Our Small Businesses” Grant Program.  This was ultimately created in the budget and the program applications opened on June 10th.  For more information on the program or to apply, visit https://esd.ny.gov/.  I would encourage all small businesses in our region to apply!

In addition to this critical grant program’s inclusion in the budget, I also had several legislative bills pass the Senate and go on to approval in the Assembly.  I am proud that one of my first bills passed, recognized and honored a local hero who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. The bill will rename a portion of State Route 77 in the town of Pembroke after US Army Specialist Four Clarence “C. Jay” Hall.

As your State Senator, I strive to be an advocate and voice for our community and Western New York. Working on behalf of the 61st Senate district is a tremendous honor and I will continue my hard work for our region. I look forward to getting back to Albany – hopefully under more “normal” conditions! 

Over the summer I will be hosting a number of events for the community, be sure to stay up to date by visiting my website at http://rath.nysenate.gov/ and following me on Facebook, fb.com/SenatorEdRath.