KINGSTON, NY – Senator Michelle Hinchey wrapped up her second legislative session in the New York State Senate, maintaining her record as one of the most active and effective members, known for her ability to get critical legislation passed for the communities she represents and New Yorkers statewide. During the 2022 session, 35 of Senator Hinchey’s bills passed the Senate with 71% passing unanimously and 23 passing both the Senate and Assembly. Hinchey’s legislative initiatives covered a diverse range of issues, from protecting students from the opioid crisis to expanding home repairs for low-income seniors to launching New York’s legal cannabis market and ensuring that solar development fees are used for farmland preservation.
“I came to Albany to fight for our upstate communities and to bring home real results. My legislative initiatives, and their record of strong bipartisan support, speak directly to the issues that I was elected to address. I’m proud of everything I’ve delivered this year and I’m excited that 22 of my bills are now on their way to the Governor’s desk for signature,” Senator Hinchey said. “I advanced a transformative bill to jumpstart New York’s cannabis market, inaugurating a new industry for our state predicated on social equity and elevating local farmers and BIPOC growers. I’ve introduced key measures to fight the climate crisis through agriculture and through the critical expansion of EV charging infrastructure. And with the catastrophic overturning of Roe v. Wade, I’ve fought to protect reproductive healthcare and the medical professionals who provide these lifesaving services. This summer, I’m ready to hit the ground running across the district and to work with our community members to lay the foundation for our priorities next session so we can continue to deliver for our region.”
Legislation authored by Senator Hinchey that is headed to the Governor’s desk is as follows:
EXPANDING HEALTHCARE ACCESS
As the representative of the most rural district in the Senate Majority Conference, where residents generally have fewer healthcare options compared to their urban counterparts, Senator Hinchey has fought to protect and expand access to local health services, including the following bills that are on their way to the Governor’s desk for signature. One bill requires SUNY and CUNY to train resident assistants on how to administer Narcan and keep a regular supply in all student housing. Other bills headed to the Governor’s desk include legislation to create the Office of Hospice and Palliative Care Access and Quality within the DOH and legislation requiring the DOH to develop and implement a statewide public awareness campaign to promote the utilization of services.
Legislation authored by Hinchey that was recently signed into law would prohibit medical malpractice insurance companies from taking adverse action against a New York medical provider who performs an abortion on a patient whose home state has made abortion illegal.
FIGHTING THE CLIMATE CRISIS
Key bills championed by Senator Hinchey to fight the climate crisis through agriculture, green transportation, and natural resource preservation are on their way to the Governor’s desk, including a bill requiring that existing fees collected for siting solar on active agricultural land be put towards state and local farmland protection programs. Another bill, The Electric Vehicle Rights Act, would prevent homeowners associations from prohibiting homeowners from installing an EV charger on their property in most cases. As a major proponent of the climate benefits of industrial hemp, Hinchey authored legislation that encourages businesses to use hemp material for packaging, manufacturing, and other industrial purposes. Hinchey’s bill requires Ag & Markets, in coordination with other state agencies, to take a greater leadership role in identifying and promoting innovation opportunities for industrial hemp, which has the potential to be manufactured into tens of thousands of products that could significantly reduce the carbon footprint of plastic production and help New York meet its climate mitigation goals.
Recently, Hinchey’s bill to codify the first-ever DEC position of Catskill Park Coordinator in Environmental Conservation Law passed the Senate unanimously. The bill was created to help ensure the protection of Catskill lands and their equitable use.
MAKING IT EASIER TO DO BUSINESS IN NEW YORK
Senator Hinchey is committed to creating an environment in which upstate businesses can thrive. At the beginning of the 2022 Session, Governor Hochul signed a bill sponsored by Senator Hinchey to jumpstart the cultivation of cannabis in New York. Hinchey’s legislation created a pathway for existing New York hemp farmers to apply for a conditional license to grow cannabis in the 2022 growing season in order to meet the demand of the forthcoming cannabis market while also creating social equity mentorship opportunities to bring more BIPOC growers into the fold.
As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Hinchey has advanced significant legislation to increase farm profitability and help usher in a new and diverse generation of agricultural producers. One piece of legislation toward that end, which has been signed into law, doubles the Farm Workforce Retention Tax Credit to $1,200 and extends it through 2026. Another bill, currently on its way to the Governor’s desk, expands eligibility for the Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program
Several of Hinchey’s bills to help grow burgeoning industries in New York are also on their way to the Governor’s desk, including The New York Textile Act, which incentivizes the production of textiles from animal or plant fibers that have been cultivated and processed in New York. Another bill focused on New York’s craft beverage industry, allows craft distillers to participate in income-generating activities already permitted for other alcohol producers and legislation to ease labeling requirements for farm breweries.
Bills authored by Senator Hinchey that passed the Senate only this year, and remain a priority for passage in both legislative houses in 2023 are as follows:
- Protecting New Yorkers from Unfair Utility Billing - S9469-HINCHEY
The Senate unanimously passed Senator Hinchey’s bill to bring greater reliability and transparency to the utility industry–a bill sparked by the egregious billing errors levied onto the Senator’s constituents by companies like Central Hudson. Hinchey’s bill prevents utility companies from using estimated billing in most circumstances and requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to require that all utility companies serving New York submit their current estimated billing formula to the PSC–information that is currently not available to the public. The bill also charges the PSC with developing a model estimation formula that can be used as a utility industry standard in New York.
- The Hospital Transparency Act - S5400-HINCHEY
To ensure hospital transparency surrounding policy-based exclusions, like reproductive and gender-affirming care, the Senate passed Senator Hinchey’s bill requiring hospitals to list on their website the healthcare they have chosen not to provide at their facility.
- Improving Care for New Yorkers with a Traumatic Brain Injury - S7356A-HINCHEY
The Senate unanimously passed Senator Hinchey’s bill, which was inspired by a constituent case, requiring the Department of Health (DOH) and Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to conduct the first-ever mandated study on TBI services in New York, examining the accessibility, affordability, and delivery of TBI care and where resources must be directed.
- The Small Water Utility Transparency Act - S8534-HINCHEY
The Senate passed Senator Hinchey’s bill to create the first-ever state audits of private water companies, granting the PSC, DEC, and Comptroller’s office greater auditing authority over small private water utilities to ensure these companies are providing community members with safe, adequate, and affordable water service. The bill also increases the fine structure should a water utility be found in violation of its duties and provides DPS with full authority to enforce those fines.
- Accelerating Electric Vehicle Infrastructure - S6692B-HINCHEY
The Senate passed Senator Hinchey’s bill to help cut the impact of the state’s largest climate emissions contributor–the transportation sector. Hinchey’s bill requires gas stations installing new fuel pumps to also install at least one dual EV charging station.
- Supporting Local Food Procurement from New York Farms - S6808A-HINCHEY
The Senate unanimously passed Senator Hinchey’s bill to set first-ever food procurement goals for state agencies so that by 2024, 25% of all food purchased by state agencies is food grown by New York farmers. Hinchey’s bill will expand access to healthy, locally-sourced food and create new, income generating business opportunities for New York farmers.
A complete list of the 35 bills sponsored by Senator Hinchey, which passed the Senate this session, can be found below.
- S3448A-HINCHEY: Relates to opioid overdose prevention in college housing
- S9193-HINCHEY: Increases the timeline for completion and amount spent on emergency home repairs for low-moderate income senior citizens through the RESTORE program
- S9469-HINCHEY: Permits the rendering of an estimated bill from a utility corporation or municipality under certain circumstances
- S9080B-HINCHEY: Prohibits medical malpractice insurance companies from taking any adverse action against a reproductive health care provider who provides legal reproductive health care
- S3449-HINCHEY: Relates to the New York state scenic byways system
- S3502A-HINCHEY: Increases the amount of the farm workforce retention credit
- S4072-HINCHEY: Establishes a one-stop farming hotline with the Cornell cooperative extension
- S4081A-HINCHEY: Relates to the inspection of certain vacated property for abandoned animals
- S4082-HINCHEY: Relates to eligibility under the New York state young farmers loan forgiveness incentive program
- S5148-HINCHEY: Relates to a state flag for raising awareness of veteran suicide
- S5400-HINCHEY: Relates to providing information to patients and the public on policy-based exclusions
- S5438A-HINCHEY: Provides distillers with the same privileges currently enjoyed by other New York manufacturers
- S6421A-HINCHEY: Establishes the position of Catskill Park Coordinator within the department of environmental conservation
- S6692B-HINCHEY: Requires electric vehicle charging stations to be installed at certain gasoline stations
- S6808A-HINCHEY: Establishes procurement goals for New York state food products purchased by state agencies
- S7122-HINCHEY: Prohibits development of build-ready sites on viable agricultural land
- S7341-HINCHEY: Establishes November twenty-sixth of each year as a day of commemoration known as Sojourner Truth Day
- S7356A-HINCHEY: Directs the commissioner of health and commissioner of the office for people with developmental disabilities to conduct a study of the delivery of services to individuals with traumatic brain injury
- S7501-HINCHEY: Relates to financial responsibility for human postexposure treatment for rabies
- S7655A-HINCHEY: Amends the definition of New York State labelled beer
- S8084A-HINCHEY: Provides for conditional adult-use cultivator licenses and conditional adult-use processor licenses
- S8205A-HINCHEY: Establishes a statewide advanced care planning campaign to promote public awareness of hospice and palliative care services; repealer
- S8206A-HINCHEY: Establishes the office of hospice and palliative care access and quality
- S8496-HINCHEY: Relates to industrial hemp development
- S8518A-HINCHEY: Enacts the Electric Vehicle Rights Act
- S8534-HINCHEY: Requires the public service commission and the department of environmental conservation to conduct audits of private water companies
- S8683A-HINCHEY: Authorizes the village of Voorheesville, county of Albany, to appoint certain village officers who do not reside within such village
- S8741A-HINCHEY: Enacts the New York Textile Act
- S8889A-HINCHEY: Requires certain funds received by the New York state energy research and development authority that are related to renewables development on agricultural lands to be used for farmland protection programs
- S8919-HINCHEY: Protects certain agreements between public service companies and their employees
- S8933-HINCHEY: Designates March 8th each year as a day of commemoration, to be known as International Women's Day
- S8973-HINCHEY: Authorizes the return of a dog to its owner or custodian
- S9083-HINCHEY: Relates to the number and description of courses in the right of way easement granted by the village of Saugerties to the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.
- S9312-HINCHEY: Relates to commercial food fish licenses
- S9339-HINCHEY: Extends the indemnification to certain communities relating to the Hudson river valley greenway