For the first time since 2017, the New York State Senate was called by Governor Hochul into an extraordinary special session to discuss three pressing issues impacting New Yorkers: extending the eviction moratorium, the confirmation of appointments to the Office of Cannabis Management, and authorizing additional remote meeting exceptions to open meetings law.
As we start the school year and continue to monitor the delta variant of COVID19, we know Rochesterians are still very much at risk. Today, we successfully extended the eviction moratorium until January 15, 2022. We know that Rochester renters and small property owners are still in need of relief. We cannot evict families and children during a public health and economic crisis. Housing is a human right and the Supreme Court’s decision leaves New York’s low income families vulnerable.
In Rochester, 1 in 2 children live below the federal poverty line. Half of the families in our city live paycheck-to-paycheck, and missing one month’s rent could mean that a child is homeless. Protecting children, especially as we enter a new school year, is absolutely essential.
ADULT USE RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA
We have also taken a giant step toward jump-starting the recreational adult-use cannabis market. The Senate’s confirmation of Chris Alexander as executive director of the new Office of Cannabis Management means that we can take the important next steps in building this new market by licensing those who want to start a business. Chris has demonstrated his commitment to social justice issues through his past work at the State Senate and Drug Policy Alliance. I will continue to advocate for social equity during the implementation of this legislation and for upstate farmers, many of whom are small business owners, who have been waiting to plant seeds so that we do not miss this next growing season.
OPEN MEETINGS LAW
Lastly, I voted to extend the authorization of additional remote meeting exceptions to open meetings law. Transparency and accessibility is critical to governing fairly. These measures are needed so that citizens can stay informed and safe as we work to recover from the pandemic.
Each issue we addressed in this special session will help us continue to deliver on behalf of the people of Rochester. As the ongoing pandemic persists and presents new challenges, I am committed to working with my colleagues in the New York State Senate to turn a promising new page, working closely with Governor Hochul to protect the safety and health of all New Yorkers.