NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. joined his Senate colleagues in approving a package of bills designed to provide much-needed relief and assistance to residents and businesses throughout the state.
“This package of legislation works to improve New York’s ability to move forward in a positive direction from the most devastating pandemic our community, city, state, and country have had to deal with,” said Addabbo. “New Yorkers are struggling every day as they deal with the loss of loved ones, income and benefits, and the uncertainty of the future. I have been working through these unprecedented times to not only help constituents navigate the present challenges, but also to forge a plan for the future of New York. For me, it was important to travel to Albany this week to vote on critical legislation, to begin the process of healing and recovery, while making sure we are better prepared for future emergencies.”
Several bills will provide immediate relief to our communities include:
● S.8113A (Co-sponsored by Addabbo): Aims to prevent utility corporations or municipalities from terminating the services of residential customers enduring financial hardship because of COVID-19.
● S.8138B: Allows a local taxing jurisdiction to defer property taxes due to the COVID-19 pandemic or separate taxes into as many installment payments as necessary without liability to the county.
● S.8181A (Co-sponsor by Addabbo): Provides for financial assistance from Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) to businesses or not-for-profits to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and other fixtures needed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
● S.8243C (Co-sponsored by Addabbo): Requires banks and state-regulated mortgage services to grant 180 days of mortgage payment forbearance to residential mortgagors who are behind in payments or have applied for loss mitigation and demonstrate financial hardship during the NYS On PAUSE period.
Other COVID-19 legislation passed:
● S.7996B (Co-sponsored by Addabbo): Provides that school districts be entitled to an apportionment of state aid for the closure of schools in response to the coronavirus.
● S.8119C: Ensures paratransit services continue operating and observe public health and safety measures for the benefit of workers, paratransit users, families and the general public.
● S.8122B: Extends the deadline for the filing of applications and renewal applications for real property tax abatement programs.
● S.8130D: Increases options for qualified voters to request an absentee ballot in light of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency by recognizing requests through electronic means.
● S.8182A (Co-sponsored by Addabbo): Authorizes licensed pharmacists to administer an approved vaccine for COVID-19.
● S.8189 (Co-sponsored by Addabbo): Updates NY's statute regarding the price gouging of consumer goods by expanding it to cover essential medical supplies.
● S.8192B (Co-sponsored by Addabbo): Tenant Safe Harbor Act helps keep residential tenants in their homes following the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing only money judgments, and not evictions, for unpaid rent that comes due while restrictions are in place due to COVID-19.
● S.8236A (Co-sponsored by Addabbo): Allows local governments the ability to extend the expiration of building permits for 120 days.
● S.8245A: Requires the Department of Health to conduct a study on the health impacts of COVID-19.
● S.8251B (Co-sponsored by Addabbo): Ensures volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers receive credits toward their length of service award programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
● S.8275A: Provides that throughout the duration of the state disaster emergency, forfeiture days shall not be applicable to claimants entitled to receive unemployment insurance benefits.
● S.8289B: Requires residential health care facilities to prepare an annual pandemic emergency plan
● S.8362A: Requires COVID-19 contact tracers be representative of the cultural and linguistic diversity of the communities in which they serve.
● S.8363: Includes Commissioner of Addiction Services and Supports as a member of the Disaster Preparedness Commission, and ensures substance use disorder providers are part of any disaster management planning.
● S.8397A: Provides health care workers with greater whistleblower protections in the State of New York, so that patient care can improve and such workers can be safe.
● S.8400: Enables New York City to establish a “rainy day fund”.
● S.8408 (Co-sponsored by Addabbo): Allows an option for cemeteries to utilize internet web portals provided by third party vendor for sales of cemetery lots.
● S.8410 (Co-sponsored by Addabbo): Provides public libraries with an additional 12 months to complete capital projects that were unable to meet the 3-year statutory time limit.
● S.8411: Decouples the City of New York from certain provisions in the unincorporated business tax, the general corporation tax, and the business corporation tax from recent federal changes.
● S.8412: Allows not-for-profit corporations, religious institutions, and cooperatives to hold meetings of shareholders, members, trustees, etc., through authorized remote communications.
● S.8414: Allows electronic hearings on a felony complaint during a state disaster emergency.
● S.8415: Repeals prohibitions on wearing a mask and loitering in public.
● S.8416 (Co-sponsored by Addabbo): Expands telehealth services to allow for audio-only or video-only communication, and to allow for such services to be eligible for reimbursement.
● S.8417: Authorizes the expenditure and temporary transfer of reserve funds for expenses related to COVID-19.
● S.8419: Provides emergency tenant and landlord relief to those who experienced an increase in a financial burden because of a loss of income as a result of the COVOD-19 pandemic.
● S.8427: Provides accidental death benefits to the statutory beneficiaries of all public employees (state and local) who worked on or after March 1, 2020, contracted COVID-19, and died of COVID-19 on or before December 31, 2020.
“I am pleased to join my Senate and Assembly colleagues in passing comprehensive legislation to help New Yorkers through this pandemic. We now have important safeguards to protect New Yorkers’ rights and health, help struggling renters and homeowners, support workers and businesses, and maintain vital services during this crisis,” said Addabbo.
The package of bills passed both the Senate and Assembly, awaiting the Governor’s approval.