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Snow Moon over North Hill by Cindy Schreiner

Governor Kathy Hochul signs multiple pieces of legislation


Anti-forgery law for vaccine card, orders to study Covid-19 impact, Buffalo police officer Cariol Horne, new environmental regulations, racism declared a public health emergency

Falsification of COVID-19 Vaccination Records

Legislation (S.4516-C/A.7536-B adds clarification that a COVID Vaccination Card shall be considered a written instrument for purposes of the forgery statute which makes the falsification of COVID-19 Vaccination Cards a class A misdemeanor. It also creates a new E felony of computer tampering in the third degree for intentional entering, alteration or destruction of “computer material” regarding COVID-19 vaccine provisions. Individuals who misrepresent their vaccination history, not only jeopardize their own health, but the health of all those they come into contact with. This legislation ensures that as New York opens up and many businesses choose to rely on checking vaccination status, the falsification of vaccination records will not be tolerated

DOH to Conduct Medical Care Study Related to the Pandemic

Legislation (S.6375/A.5713) directs the Commissioner of Health to conduct a study of the delivery of ambulatory care and other medical care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The commissioner will then make recommendations to improve the delivery, quality, accessibility, and cost of the full range of ambulatory health care services required by the community. The findings and recommendations will then be published on DOH’s website. This bill will help to improve medical access for New Yorkers, especially those in public hospital deserts that rely on ambulatory care more heavily. A similar study was conducted in 2017, so this is an opportunity to see how the pandemic has affected our medical care system.

DFS to Conduct Study on COVID-19 Impact

Legislation (S.6070-A/A.7324-A) directs the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to conduct a study on impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on underbanked and underserved areas, small businesses and minority- and women-owned business enterprises getting loans. Minority and low-income areas were hit especially hard by the pandemic, so this legislation will provide State government officials on how banking was effected in these communities and what solutions there are to create more accessible banking.

Justice for Officer Cariol Horne

Legislation (S.7209/A.8026) Provides a Retroactive Retirement Date of August 5th, 2010 In The New York State And Local Police And Fire Retirement System

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the signing of legislation (S.7209/A.8026) which provides former Buffalo police officer Cariol Horne, who was rendered ineligible to file for service retirement benefits when she was wrongfully terminated from the City of Buffalo Police Department. Though the termination was corrected and she was reinstated, the termination meant she was ineligible for retirement benefits. The legislation grants Ms. Horne service credit from the date of her wrongful termination until August 5, 2010, which allows her to receive her proper retirement benefits.

Horne outside city hall this summer, click image to read the whole story

“New York owes Cariol Horne a debt of gratitude for her service to the Buffalo community and for her bravery in a moment of crisis,” Governor Hochul said. “I am proud to sign this law, which will correct a longstanding injustice and ensure that Officer Horne is treated with the dignity and respect she deserves.”

Cariol Horne was fired from the Buffalo Police Department in 2008, after intervening on a police officer who had placed a handcuffed suspect into a chokehold in 2006. The firing was just months before she was eligible to qualify for the police’s retirement plan. Since then, she faced a legal battle that vindicated her. Cariol became an advocate for police reform, inspiring laws such as “Cariol’s Law”, which requires officers to intervene in the event of excessive force being used.

The legislation goes into effect immediately, and will allow Ms. Horne to apply for the New York State and local police retirement system’s retirement benefits.

Senator Timothy Kennedy said, “Thank you to Cariol Horne for her unwavering service to our community and her refusal to stand by and watch injustice occur, no matter the cost. After years of being penalized for doing the right thing, I was proud to sponsor this legislation to provide her with the retirement pension she earned and deserves. Thank you to my colleague Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes for ensuring this bill passed the Assembly and Governor Hochul for signing it into law.”

Assemblymember Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, “Cariol Horne, A former Buffalo police officer, showed profiles in courage when in a decisive moment, she chose to act to intervene against another officer in an unreasonable use of force towards a civilian. Her act of bravery cost Officer Horne her career. Fortunately, justice has prevailed. This legislation that I successfully sponsored and passed in the NYS Assembly will help bring a positive ending to this situation and provide Ms. Horne with all the retirement benefits she is rightfully deserving of receiving. I would like to applaud Governor Kathy Hochul and my cosponsor NYS Senator Tim Kennedy for their leadership in helping to correct this injustice that garnered national attention amid a period of social unrest.”

Legislation package aimed at improving long-term care, state nursing homes

Legislation (S.1783-A/A.6057-A) Directs the Commissioner of Health to Implement an Infection Inspection Audit and Checklist on Nursing Homes 

Legislation (S.612-B/A.45436-B) Helps Promote the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program   

Legislation (S.598-B/A.3922-A) Establishes a Long-Term Care Task Force that will Examine the State of Long-Term Care  

   Legislation (S.4652-B/A.6590-B) Allows for Study, Development, and Implementation of a Long-Term Strategy to Support the Growth of the Caregiving Industry in New York State  

Governor Kathy Hochul signed a package of legislation to help long-term care facilities and provide assistance to the long-term care system. Legislation (S.1783-A/A.6057-A) directs the commissioner of health to implement an infection inspection audit and checklist on nursing homes. Legislation S.612-B/A.45436-B enacts a series of reforms to the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and related programs to increase accessibility for residents of nursing homes and residential care facilities. S.598-B/A.3922-A establishes the “reimagining long-term care task force” to study the state of long-term care services in the state. Legislation S.4652-B/A.6590-B directs the Commissioner of Economic Development, in consultation with the Commissioners of Health, Labor and OCFS to study, develop, and implement a long-term strategy to support the growth of the caregiving industry in New York State. 

“As New Yorkers, we have a moral obligation to protect the most vulnerable among us,” Governor Hochul said. “People living in long-term care facilities deserve the best possible treatment, and their loved ones deserve to know these facilities are providing compassionate care and protection. These bills will help build the long-term care system back stronger and ensure quality care and support is available for the New Yorkers who need it most.”  


Legislation (S.1759-A/A.0126-A) Adds Additional Chemicals to the List of Emerging Contaminants

Legislation (S.0543/A.5082) Prohibits Hotels from Using Small Wasteful Plastic Bottles for Shampoo and Other Personal Care Products

Legislation (S.4722-A/A.5386-A) Establishes the ‘Soil Health and Climate Resiliency Act’ to Help Farmers Improve Soil Health and Water Management Systems

Legislation (S.2122-A/A.0160-BExpands Potable Water Testing in Schools

Legislation (S.4478-A/S.0528-A) Prohibits Use of Pesticides at Children’s Overnight or Summer Day Camps

Legislation (S.0646-B/A.2670-BDirects the New York State Department of Health to Conduct a Study on Incidences of Asthma

Legislation (S.0966-B/A.2140-B) Directs the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to Conduct a Study on the Quality of Life and Health Impacts of JFK and LaGuardia Airports

Legislation (S.3321-A/A.7290) Requires Minimum Levels of Biodiesel in Heating Oil Sold to Buildings 

Governor Kathy Hochul signed a legislative package that included eight different bills to protect New York State’s environment. New efforts range from eliminating plastic waste to ensuring the state’s commitment to clean water and an atmosphere free of chemical contaminants.

“Climate change and pollution are two of the most serious issues affecting New Yorkers’ health and quality of life,” Governor Hochul said. “These pieces of legislation will ensure our state remains a national leader, not only in the fight for clean air and water, but in securing a cleaner, more sustainable future for generations as well.”

State laws enacted to fight racism, now declared a public health crisis

Legislation S.2987-A/A.5679 Declares Racism a Public Health Crisis

Legislation S.70-A/A.2230 Enacts the Hate Crimes Analysis and Review Act

Legislation S.6639-A/A.6896-A Requires Collection of Demographic Data by State Agencies, Boards, Departments and Commissions

Legislation S.1451-A/A.191 Requires a Health Equity Assessment to be Filed with an Application for Any Project that will Affect a Hospital’s Health Care Services

Legislation S.4716-A/A.6215 Requires the Advisement of the Implementation of Language Translation Technology

Legislation S.4316/A.4572 Relates to the Screening of Newborns for Certain Diseases and Conditions

Governor Kathy Hochul signed a package of legislation aimed at addressing discrimination and racial injustice. Legislation S.2987-A/A.5679 declares racism a public health crisis. Legislation S.70-A/A.2230 enacts the hate crimes analysis and review act. Legislation S.6639-A/A.6896-A requires the collection of certain demographic data by certain state agencies, boards, departments, and commissions. Legislation S.1451-A/A.191 requires a health equity assessment to be filed with an application for any project that will affect a hospital’s health care services. Legislation A.1451-A/A.6215 requires the New York State Office of Technology Services to advise all state agencies in the implementation of language translation technology. Legislation S.4316/A.4572 expands the list of diseases for which a newborn can be screened in order to include conditions more prevalent in newborns from the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia.

“For far too long, communities of color in New York have been held back by systemic racism and inequitable treatment,” Governor Hochul said. “I am proud to sign legislation that addresses this crisis head-on, addressing racism, expanding equity and improving access for all.”

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