Albany, NY – New York State Senator Pete Harckham is concluding 2021 as his most productive year yet in terms of having legislation he introduced being passed and signed into law, with 16 of his bills receiving approvals from the Governor.
“The challenges we faced this year statewide, many pandemic-related, demanded real action, and I made sure to offer and support bills that safeguarded residents and assisted municipalities and schools with critical funding,” said Harckham. “Whether it means protecting our workforce or our environment further, helping veterans and those with Substance Use Disorder in new ways, or working together to ensure a stronger future for our communities, I will keep looking for new ways to be a productive public servant. I am grateful to Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, my colleagues in the State Legislature and Governor Hochul for their support.”
In total, Harckham was the prime sponsor on 137 bills that were introduced or amended.
Notable among Harckham’s bills signed into law was S.649A, which removes prior authorization of people with Medicaid and in need of medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder.
“This bill is a major step forward to saving lives and a huge step forward towards addressing inequities in our healthcare system that Substance Use Disorder patients on Medicaid face,” said Harckham. Two years earlier a similar bill for those with private, commercial insurance was signed.
A number of bills introduced by Harckham and enacted this year were prompted and advanced through his work as chair of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. This includes three signed by Governor Hochul within the last week:
S.2966A – Requires that an opioid antagonist or overdose reversal medicine such as naloxone be co-prescribed with a person’s first opioid prescription each year;
S.5066A – Makes sure that federal grants received by substance use treatment providers for Covid pandemic relief is not considered a source of revenue;
S.679A – Establishes a Council for Treatment Equity and Treatment Equity Advisory Board within the state’s Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS).
In October, Hochul had signed Harckham’s bill S.6044 to direct OASAS to maintain an online directory of distributors and retailers from whom residents and medical professionals can acquire opioid antagonists.
Hochul also signed Harckham’s landmark bill S.2758 that requires all in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks be zero emissions by 2035. “The best way to ramp up our fight against the climate crisis is to transition to new vehicles that are entirely free of carbon and other toxic emissions,” said Harckham in September when the bill was signed. “Enacting this law shows how New York can lead the way to positively impact our environment.”
Harckham’s bill S.901, signed in February, requiring supermarkets to make excess, unsold food available to qualifying organizations, like food pantries, was later amended as S.6108B and signed last week; the new law now extends the original law’s span for another five years past 2021 and also includes smaller generators of usable food waste, like supermarkets.
Other bills introduced by Harckham and signed by the governor in 2021 are:
S.897 – Makes sure that certain schools serving students with unique abilities, like special act schools, are not penalized financially for not operating for the full 180-day school year session because of the Covid pandemic;
S.905 – Establishes a real property tax exemption task force;
S.2557 – Protects the workforce at the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, NY, by expanding the definition of an electric plant and ensuring they are paid prevailing wages;
S.2977A – Requires care facilities to ask patients about their military veteran status on intake forms, which will forge better communication between providers and clients and help provide benefits to deserving individuals;
S.4481 – Allows the Carmel Central School District to establish an insurance reserve fund and maintain self-insurance for staff, administration and retiree health care;
S.6046B – Authorizes the Town of New Castle to alienate and discontinue use of parklands and accept different land as a gift to create a multi-use trail in Chappaqua;
S.6553C – Authorizes the Town of Yorktown to alienate and discontinue use of parklands for the construction of a solar power project and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at the Granite Knolls Sports Complex in Yorktown.
Finally, in tandem with another bill Harckham introduced in regard to expanding the use of accessory dwelling units, his bill S.4485A was signed into law last week. The new law includes landlord training as part of neighborhood preservation and housing renewal activities statewide.
Additionally, Harckham co-sponsored 237 bills introduced by his Senate colleagues, 77 that were passed by the Senate, and 33 acted on by the Governor.