NY State Senate Passes Four Harckham Sponsored Bills

State Sen. Pete Harckham
Legislation covers issues related to Substance Use Disorder, veterans and water quality

Albany, NY – Four different bills introduced and sponsored by New York State Senator Pete Harckham were approved in the State Senate today. The legislation addresses important issues facing residents with Substance Use Disorder, and also ensures proper medical care and aid for veterans and assists lake associations with water quality improvement. All four bills received bipartisan support.

“I continue to be grateful to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and my colleagues in the Senate for their support of the legislation that I have sponsored,” said Harckham. “The approved bills will make sure treatment providers aren’t penalized for receiving federal funds during the pandemic, and also push the state to compile and disseminate useful data on overdoses. Additionally, residents entering nursing homes and assisted care will be asked about their veteran status to get them the right kind of care; and lake associations will get much needed help in reducing contaminants.”

The four newly passed bills include:

S.5066A stipulates that any federal grants received by, or approved to be received by, a Substance Use Disorder treatment provider during the Covid-19 pandemic for the purpose of disaster / emergency relief shall not be considered as a source of revenue. Many providers maintained their staffing levels during the pandemic, even as client numbers dropped during the pandemic, which made them eligible for Paycheck Protection Program loans that were later forgiven. The grant funding actually covered increased costs. This bill makes sure the providers are not penalized by the state for receiving the disaster relief.

S.5128A requires the state Department of Health (DOH) to collect and report data on non-fatal overdoses. The data will emanate from across all emergency room syndromic surveillance systems, be broken down demographically, and then used to extrapolate projected fatal overdose numbers. The DOH will also be required to issue quarterly reports on the collected data and furnish the information to each county in the state every month. This will help officials and advocates understand the magnitude of Substance Use Disorder statewide and locally.

S.2977A  require that all intake forms for admission or residency to any nursing home, assisted living residence or homeless shelter that collects information regarding an applicant’s military status state the question to obtain such information in the following manner: “Have you ever served in the military?” This will ensure veterans receive the benefits and specialized care they deserve.

S.655 establishes a program to assist lake associations with water quality improvement. There are many resources available to aid municipalities in improving water quality. However, many small lake associations neither have the capital to afford a consultant to identify what the contaminant is and its source, nor are they able to qualify to apply for grant programs that are accessible to municipalities for remediation. This legislation will open up avenues for lake associations to receive much needed aid in this regard.