Governor Cuomo Outlines 2020 Agenda: Making Progress Happen
In 10th State of the State Address, Governor Advances Bold Agenda to Continue New York's Role as Progressive Capital of the Nation
January 8, 2020
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today delivered his 2020 State of the State address. The Governor's 2020 agenda - Making Progress Happen - features nation-leading proposals to tackle critical issues facing New York and the country including a domestic terrorism law to address the spike in hate crimes, a $3 billion environmental bond act to fight climate change, legalized cannabis and historic infrastructure and economic development investments like a new Empire Station Complex and a reimagined Erie Canal. The Governor's agenda also includes plans to help middle class families including an expanded free college tuition program, protections for gig economy workers, paid sick leave and tax cuts for middle class New Yorkers and small businesses.
"Our ship of state is stronger than it has been in decades, but the ocean we navigate is as tempest tossed as we have seen. Waves of anxiety, injustice and frustration are being fanned by winds of anger and division, creating a political and social superstorm, but these are the times when New York is called upon to show leadership and set a course for a troubled nation," Governor Cuomo said. "New York is the progressive capital of the nation and we must fulfill that destiny again this year. Working together, we have achieved the best progressive state government in the nation. We have accomplished more together than we could have imagined and now we must do even more. Our current challenges are daunting - but it is nothing New York can't handle. This year we will continue to address the issues causing anxiety and frustration with an agenda that fosters economic growth and social progress, proposes a nation-leading response to climate change and keeps New Yorkers safe. This is a robust agenda - but we can do all of this. Our state government has accomplished the impossible - over and over again and we will do it again this year."
2020 MAKING PROGRESS HAPPEN HIGHLIGHTS
Passing the Hate Crime Anti-Terrorism Act: To address the disturbing number of anti-Semitic and other discriminatory attacks in New York, the Governor is proposing a first-in-the-nation domestic terrorism law to include mass violence motivated by hate, creating a new A-1 class felony punishable by up to life in prison without parole. The Governor is also proposing New York schools add a curriculum that teaches civic values and the state's rich history of diversity and religious freedom. The Battery Park City Authority will develop a plan to expand the Museum of Jewish Heritage on the Holocaust to be a learning destination for school children across the state.
Creating $3 Billion 'Restore Mother Nature' Bond Act: The new reality of extreme weather demands a new response. Investing in environmental restoration is essential to New York's continued economic success. This year, Governor Cuomo will launch Restore Mother Nature - the nation's most aggressive program for habitat restoration and flood reduction, funded in part by a $3 billion environmental bond act.
Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Working New Yorkers: To further empower New York's low-wage workers and protect all consumers in the State, Governor Cuomo will ensure that all working New Yorkers have access to sick leave. Businesses with five to 99 employees will provide their employees at least five days of job-protected paid sick leave per year and businesses with 100 employees or more will provide at least seven days of paid sick leave per year. Smaller businesses, with four or fewer employees, will guarantee five days of job-protected unpaid sick leave to their employees every year. Small businesses already providing paid sick leave will be able to so.
Legalizing Cannabis: Governor Cuomo proposes a comprehensive regulatory approach to legalize cannabis, creating a new Office of Cannabis Management to specialize in cannabis regulation - overseeing the medical, adult-use and hemp programs. The proposal will administer social equity licensing opportunities, develop an egalitarian adult-use market structure and facilitate market entry through access to capital, technical assistance and incubation of equity entrepreneurs. The proposal will also correct past harms to individuals and communities that have disproportionally been impacted by prohibition. To safeguard public health, the proposal limits the sale of cannabis products to adults 21 and over and establishes stringent quality and safety controls including oversight over the packaging, labeling, advertising and testing of all cannabis products. These efforts will be done in coordination with neighboring states Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Governor will also propose creating a first of its kind Global Cannabis and Hemp Center for Science, Research and Education with SUNY and other expert partners.
Lowering Tax Rates for Small Businesses: To continue the State's robust economic growth and record of job creation, Governor Cuomo will propose comprehensive tax relief for small businesses, including: reducing the corporate tax rate for small businesses from 6.5 percent to 4 percent; tripling the current income exclusion for farmers and sole proprietors; making the investment tax credit refundable for farmers; and repealing the penalty on S corporations for underpayment of estimated taxes.
Continuing Middle Class Tax Cuts: Governor Cuomo will continue to lower Personal Income Tax rates for middle-class New Yorkers. In 2020, the third year of the multi-year tax cuts enacted in 2016, income tax rates have been lowered from 6.85 percent to 6.09 percent for taxpayers in the $40,000-$150,000 income bracket, and to 6.1 percent in the $150,000-$300,000 income bracket. These cuts are expected to save New Yorkers over $1.8 billion this year. Furthermore, income tax rates will continue to drop to 5.5 percent for taxpayers in the $26,000 to $150,000 tax bracket and 6 percent in the $150,000-$300,000 bracket. When the cuts are fully phased in, middle class taxpayers will have received an income tax rate cut up to 20 percent, amounting to a projected $4.2 billion in annual savings for six million filers by 2025. As the new rates phase in, they will be the State's lowest middle-class tax rates in more than 70 years.
Protecting Gig Economy Workers: This year a significant percentage of the workforce will be in jobs related to the new "gig economy." This emerging sector has spurred exciting consumer innovations, however, many of the gig economy workers are excluded from the unprecedented employee protections and rights New York has enacted because the law has not caught up with changes in the economy. To continue supporting the best workplaces for workers and employers, Governor Cuomo will introduce legislation to make sure all of New York's workers receive basic employee protections and access to critical safety nets.
Fighting Childhood Poverty: Governor Cuomo proposes a significant expansion of the Empire Child tax credit. Currently this critical credit for low-income families only applies to children 4-16 years old. This proposal will eliminate this unfair distinction and expand the tax credit to families with children between the ages of 0-3 making under $50,000. This will provide an average of a $400 benefit per family to nearly 400,000 working class families with children under four years old - approximately 172,500 families with children over the age of three will get an additional benefit and 225,500 families with children three and under will get this benefit for the first time.
Empaneling Blue Ribbon Task Force to Expand Electric Vehicles: Governor Cuomo will convene an electric vehicle (EV) technology task force led by Binghamton University's Dr. M. Stanley Whittingham - who was awarded a 2019 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry for his work on lithium ion batteries - and co-chaired by NYSERDA to identify research and development opportunities and expand the transportation innovation economy across New York State.
Ensuring Cellular Coverage Across New York: Governor Cuomo will launch a comprehensive plan to put New York on a path to full cellular service coverage. The Governor will also advance legislation to standardize the permitting of next generation small cell technology on municipal-owned infrastructure statewide and will support a series of regulatory improvements to promote private cellular infrastructure in areas determined to have significant pockets of unreliable cell coverage.
Expanding Free College Tuition to More Middle Class Families: To expand the transformational opportunity of the Excelsior Scholarship to more middle class families, Governor Cuomo is proposing to raise the Excelsior eligibility threshold from $125,000 to $150,000 of adjusted gross family income for New York's families. By increasing the threshold, more than 230,000, or nearly 58 percent of New York resident students will go to a SUNY or CUNY college tuition free.
Addressing Veteran and Law Enforcement Suicides and Homelessness: The Governor will invest $1 million to partner with organizations to help veterans, law enforcement and first responders with suicide prevention efforts. The Governor will also direct state agencies to expand suicide prevention strategies for veterans, law enforcement, correctional officers and first responders, including a new campaign by the Office of Mental Health to reduce the stigma of mental illness. Additionally, the State will convene a panel of stakeholders and experts at its annual Suicide Prevention Conference to develop and implement strategies for preventing suicide among these special populations. The Governor will also invest $5 million to expand permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans through the state's Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP).
Increasing and Modernizing Emergency Response Capacity: Over 60 percent of New York counties have been flooded twice in the past 10 years. We must be ready to handle these increasing, life-threatening, emergency situations. It is a new and growing challenge for our state operations. The Governor will propose a plan to increase and update our emergency response capacity so our brave women and men have the right equipment to do their jobs.
Adding E Pluribus Unum to the State Seal: Our founding fathers said clearly that the idea of unity was the key to America's future. In 1782, on the first seal of the United States, they said it in three simple words - E pluribus unum, out of many one. This federal government and our nation seem to have forgotten that essential American principle. In this time of turmoil, New York State will remind the nation of who we are by adding E pluribus unum to the seal of the state, proclaiming at this ugly time the simple truth that without unity we are nothing.
Requiring Public Officials to Disclose Their Tax Returns: Governor Cuomo will propose the "Nothing to Hide" law to make our government the most transparent in the nation. The law will require that the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, the Comptroller, every state commissioner and every Assembly Member and Senator make their tax returns public. Further, any elected official in the State who earns over $100,000 a year will have to do the same.
Streamline and Simplify New York's Court System: Since taking her seat in 2016, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore of the New York State Court of Appeals has thoroughly overhauled administration of New York's complex and intricate court system, and Chief Judge DiFiore recently proposed a more ambitious series of reforms. Governor Cuomo will work with Chief Judge DiFiore and the Legislature to pursue the efficiency, transparency and fairness goals identified by the Chief Judge.
Building the Empire Station Complex: Governor Cuomo proposes redeveloping the full city block south of Penn Station to add rail capacity. This expansion would increase overall track capacity by nearly 40 percent by adding at least 8 new tracks to the existing 21 tracks, dramatically increase passenger terminal capacity, ease congestion with widened sidewalks and prominent subway entrances and add new development opportunities on adjoining parcels that will transform the area. As part of this plan, Governor Cuomo further proposes to explore acquiring the Madison Square Garden Theater to create a new 8th Avenue entrance to the existing Penn Station. Together, these actions will combine the Moynihan Train Hall, existing Penn Station and the block south of Penn into an interconnected Empire Station Complex.
Reimagining the Erie Canal: Building on the findings of the Reimagine the Canal Task Force, Governor Cuomo is recommending that the New York Power Authority approve a $300 million investment over the next five years at the board's January meeting. A $100 million economic development fund will be invested in communities along the Canal and a separate $65 million investment will be devoted to solutions that will help prevent ice jams and related flooding in the Schenectady area. The remaining $135 million of the plan's funding will subsequently be allocated to research recommended by the Reimagine Task Force, as well as to solutions related to flood mitigation, invasive species prevention and ecosystem restoration.
COMBATTING CLIMATE CHANGE
Banning Single Use and Packaging Styrofoam Products: To build on the progress of last year's plastic bag bill, the Governor is proposing new legislation to prohibit the distribution and use of expanded polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, single-use food containers and packaging materials by January 1, 2022.
Growing New York's Green Economy
Expanding the Electric Vehicle Industry in New York: Governor Cuomo is proposing a multi-pronged electric vehicle initiative, a plan to reduce emissions from residences and commercial buildings and a major workforce development initiative.
- Electrify Upstate Transit Systems: Governor Cuomo will require five of the largest upstate and suburban transit authorities — that currently operate 1,400 transit busses — to electrify 25 percent of their fleets by 2025 and 100 percent by 2035.
- Build a Robust Network of EV Chargers Throughout New York: In order to transition smoothly to electric vehicles, New Yorkers need ample publicly available fast-charging opportunities, and businesses need to be able to affordably install chargers. The New York Power Authority, in partnership with NYSERDA and private industry, will ensure that 10 or more fast-charging locations are available in every REDC region by the end of 2022, that every travel plaza on the New York State Thruway has charging stations by the end of 2024 and that a total of at least 800 new chargers are installed statewide over the next five years.
- Invest $100 Million in Green Bank Financing to Attract EV-Sector Manufacturers and Other Related Businesses: The NY Green Bank will make $100 million in financing available to help clean-transportation businesses locate or expand in New York.
Retrofitting Homes and Businesses to Lower Carbon Emissions: In 2020, the State will undertake a multi-part initiative to bend the curve on fossil fuel consumption in buildings. NYSERDA will launch a $30 million Empire Building Retrofit Challenge to demonstrate scalable and replicable solutions for high-profile commercial and multi-family buildings across the State. The Challenge will solicit proposals from property owners, developers, equipment manufacturers and energy efficiency providers to demonstrate innovative and integrated solutions that can reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from commercial and multi-family buildings, and that can be scaled and replicated across the State.
Strengthening New York's Position as the Hub of the U.S. Offshore Wind Industry: In 2020, NYSERDA will issue its second solicitation for offshore wind facilities, which is expected to yield at least an additional 1,000 megawatts of clean power. NYSERDA, DOT and ESD will also initiate a competitive process to award $200 million in public investments in port infrastructure improvements.
Protecting the Health of Lake George's Waters: The State will provide an additional $9.4 million in grants to upgrade the Lake George wastewater treatment plant to preserve the water quality and natural beauty of Lake George.
Expanding Renewable Energy Power in New York to Meet Zero Carbon Emissions by 2040
Increasing Solar, Onshore Wind and Storage Capacity by More Than 1,000 Megawatts: NYSERDA will make competitive awards to 21 large-scale solar, wind and energy storage projects across upstate New York, totaling over 1,000 megawatts of renewable capacity and 40 megawatts of energy storage capacity. Taken together, these efforts will spur over $2.5 billion in private sector investments toward the development, construction and operation of clean energy projects, create over 2,000 short-term and long-term jobs and generate enough renewable electricity annually to power over 350,000 homes. In addition, NYPA will work with state agencies and authorities and its customers to competitively contract for clean energy resources to further accelerate progress towards meeting the State's aggressive renewable energy goals.
Prepare the Electric Grid for New, Renewable Generation: The state will put together a plan for authorizing and building new transmission capacity to bring clean and renewable power to areas that need additional electricity capacity, prioritizing using existing rights of way. The plan will include upgrading the grid with smart new technology that increases the capacity and effectiveness of the system, such as battery storage technology.
CONTINUING UNPRECEDENTED ECONOMIC GROWTH
Investing in Economic Development and Small Businesses in Every Region
Investing in Round 10 of the Successful Regional Economic Development Councils: In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) to develop long-term regional strategic economic development plans. Since then, the State has invested over $6.9 billion through the REDCs, funding more than 8,300 projects and supporting more than 240,000 jobs across the state. To build on the success of the REDC program, the Governor proposes continuing this regional economic development approach with a tenth round of the REDC process.
Investing in the Fifth Round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative: The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise families. Participating communities are nominated by the State's ten REDCs based on the downtown's potential for transformation. Through four rounds of awards, each winning community was awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community's vision for revitalization. Governor Cuomo will continue the program with $100 million for a fifth round of DRI investments.
Growing the Upstate Tech Economy: Governor Cuomo will continue to foster the growing Upstate tech economy. The Governor will continue to propel the Finger Lakes Forward plan by supporting the expansion of three industry-leading high technology companies in the City of Rochester. The Governor will continue to strengthen the Mohawk Valley and Central New York as a hub of the drone industry. In addition, the Governor will continue to support the Syracuse Surge by expanding the Tech Garden in Downtown Syracuse, a highly successful incubator of innovative companies.
Streamlining MWBE Certification Process and Create Statewide Integrated Application Portal: Governor Cuomo will direct Empire State Development's Division of Minority and Women's Business Development to establish a Statewide Integrated MWBE Application Portal. This will allow business owners to apply for any and all MWBE Certification programs in New York using one website and one common application. The portal will also provide applicants with direct assistance from program staff in order to make the process of completing the application as accessible as possible. The Governor is also announcing additional improvements to the MWBE certification process, including: extending MWBE certifications from three years to five years; expanding the Division of Minority and Women's Business Development's internal resources and working with external stakeholders to streamline and reduce the time associated with the application review process; and releasing updated information and guidance that explains the certification process and providing increased technical assistance to applicants as they navigate the certification process.
Fight for the Full Deductibility of State and Local Taxes: Governor Cuomo fought the federal tax bill every step of the way while it was under consideration in Congress. Washington's drastic curtailment of the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction was a financial attack on New Yorkers. New York passed the first property tax cap in history and the Trump administration, in one swoop, raised our taxes to send more money to their politically favored states. Our Federal representatives must fight for us. The US Senate must overturn the SALT assault this year. We will continue to demand the unfair taxation stop, and that it stop now.
Growing Recreation and Tourism
Growing New York State's World Class Park System with New, Expanded and Upgraded State Parks: Governor Cuomo is committed to continuing to improve and expand the State's network of beautiful public open spaces, and the Restore Mother Nature initiative will include two unique and spectacular new parks. New York will reimagine the formerly industrial Hudson River waterfront in Kingston by creating a new 508-acre State Park that will protect over a mile of riverfront and create a series of trails. New York State will also create the first linear, water-based park connecting five revitalized Upper Hudson boat launches into the Hudson Eagles State Recreation Area. In addition to the creation of two new parks, State Parks will continue to implement its capital plan, with new land acquisitions in the Mid-Hudson Valley that add 4,000 acres of land to seven state parks through a $20.6 million State investment.
Transferring Pier 76 Tow Pound to Hudson River Park for Reuse: Governor Cuomo proposes effectuating the long deferred transfer of Pier 76 from its use as a tow pound for the NYPD to the control of the Hudson River Park Trust to integrate into the park complex. The pier is the last significant opportunity for west side waterfront access. As part of the Governor's proposal, Pier 76 will be vacated at the end of this year, and the Hudson River Park Trust, in consultation with the City of New York, the relevant community boards and representatives, the local elected officials and Assembly and Senate members and other stakeholders, will develop a reuse plan.
Rebuilding the Recently Destroyed Mid-Station Lodge at Whiteface Mountain: A recent fire destroyed the Whiteface Mid-Station lodge. The State will support a $14 million project to completely rebuild the historic outpost, helping to ensure that the resort continues to be a successful world-class destination attracting visitors all year round.
Supporting New York's Agriculture Industry
Increasing Diversity in New York's Agricultural Industry: In order to support minority and women farmers and to ensure our agricultural industries represent an inclusive and viable career path for everyone, Governor Cuomo will direct the Commissioner of Agriculture to convene a workgroup of diverse stakeholders to develop a strategic plan for supporting diversity and racial equity in New York State Agriculture. The strategic plan will be due no later than December 2020 and with this plan in place, NY will support the diversity in farming today and for future generations.
Expand the Use of Locally Produced Food in School Meals: To expand the "NY Thursdays" program to schools throughout the State, Governor Cuomo will convene a working group of food system thought leaders to identify new ways to connect local foods with schools. In developing innovative procurement solutions and removing barriers keeping local produce from schools, the group will also consider how to strengthen the tie between agriculture and community. To start, the State will support a pilot program to replace individual-serving milk cartons with bulk milk dispensers in school cafeterias - this will reduce waste and save energy and transportation costs.
Supporting New York's Craft Beverage Industry
Permitting the Sale of Alcohol in Movie Theaters: Governor Cuomo will propose to amend the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law to remove the requirement that movie theaters serve meals at tables in order to serve alcoholic beverages. Patrons will be allowed one alcoholic beverage per transaction so long as they have tickets to a movie rated PG-13 or higher. This proposal will create new revenue streams for movie theaters while saving them the need to make large capital investments in renovations that may not be in keeping with the traditional style of the theater building.
Removing Antiquated Prohibition Era Barriers to Investment in New York State for Alcoholic Beverage Businesses: The Governor proposes amending New York's Tied House Law, an arcane provision of the Alcoholic Beverage Control - or ABC - Law that makes relocating to or opening or investing in a business in New York needlessly difficult. To remove these restrictive barriers to investment, Governor Cuomo proposes amending New York's Tied House Law to match the federal approach, continuing the message that New York is open for business.
Creating the Craft Beverage Workforce of the Future with a New Alcoholic Beverage License for Educational Institutions: Governor Cuomo proposes the creation of a post-secondary institution license under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, which would remove restrictions and reduce administrative burden. By allowing an educational institution the privilege of producing any alcoholic beverage under one license and allowing the institution the ability to retail their product under the same license, this proposal will help create the workforce for the future of the craft beverage industry in New York.
REBUILDING A NEW NY
Investing in the MTA's Capital Plan to Provide More Reliable and Accessible Public Transportation Downstate
Increasing Accessibility: By investing $5.2 billion to make 70 subway stations ADA accessible, the largest investment in accessibility in New York City Transit history, stations serving more than 60 percent of riders will be ADA accessible.
Funding Phase 2 of the New Second Avenue Subway: Governor Cuomo has championed the Second Avenue Subway project creating transformative new travel options for residents of East Harlem and the Bronx increasing the reach, capacity and accessibility of the regional transportation system. The first phase of Second Avenue Subway has successfully added capacity, accessibility and resiliency to the system. Phase 2 will add three new fully accessible stations and a connection with Metro-North. Serving 300,000 daily riders together with Phase 1, it will further relieve congestion on the 4/5/6 trains and strengthen access to jobs and education for Harlem and East Harlem residents. Together with 2015- 2019 program funding, the 2020-2024 plan provides the entire $6.9 billion project cost, which is approximately equal between federal and local sources.
Installing a State-of-the-Art Subway Signal System: MTA and New York City Transit will dramatically accelerate the modernization of its aging signal system. The plan provides funding to modernize signaling on six of the system's busiest lines: Fulton, Queens Blvd East, Crosstown, 63rd St., Astoria and Lexington Avenue lines. New lines will be outfitted with state-of-the-art technology that will replace traditional "fixed block" signals, currently one of the leading causes of subway service delays. This investment will provide a needed transformation and modernization of the NYCT subway system.
Improving Penn Station Access - Connecting Metro-North New Haven Line and the East Bronx to Penn Station: The 2020-2024 MTA Capital Program fully funds Penn Station Access, which will carry New Haven Line riders as well as residents of the East Bronx directly into Penn Station. The project includes: building four new fully accessible stations in the underserved neighborhoods of Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester/Van Nest and Hunts Point; upgrading power and signal systems; and installing new track, realigning existing track and replacing railroad bridges to accommodate more trains. This historical investment will reduce travel times while also providing critical system resiliency if Metro-North's service to Grand Central Station is ever interrupted. Penn Station Access will also provide substantial travel time reductions to Metro-North customers reverse commuting from Manhattan and customers traveling between the Bronx and the northern suburbs, a rapidly growing segment of Metro-North riders.
Completing the Long Island Rail Road East Side Access Project: The capital program includes full funding for completing the East Side Access for Long Island Rail Road into Grand Central Terminal. Creation of direct LIRR service from the Long Island/Queens corridor into GCT in Manhattan's East Midtown has long been recognized as a long-needed and critical transportation link in the New York Metropolitan region. East Side Access will shorten commutes for 76,000 passengers per day and will improve the travel experience of 30,000 daily customers who currently arrive at Penn Station on overcrowded trains.
Purchasing Thousands of Modern MTA Subway Cars and Buses: The new Capital Program provides for purchases of over 1,900 new subway cars and 2,400 new buses that will allow New York City Transit to retire its oldest cars and modernize and transform the existing fleet. Thousands of new subway cars will utilize advanced signals being installed throughout the system, bringing enhanced service and improved reliability to New Yorkers. The new capital program will also allow NYCT, in conjunction with MTA Bus, to add 500 zero-emission, all-electric buses to the fleet, replacing older diesel-fueled buses and improving air quality.
Continued Infrastructure Investment Across the State
Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition Round 2: In 2016, the Governor announced $200 million in funding for an Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization grant program. This initiative has transformed commercial passenger and cargo service airports across the state. This year the Governor is announcing a second round of funding for Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization. Airports across the state will be encouraged to submit proposals to enhance safety and economic development, improve airport operations and access, reduce environmental impact and create better passenger experiences.
Developing an Innovative Strategy to Build High Speed Rail in New York: Governor Cuomo will convene a team of forward-thinking experts and engineers to reexamine past high-speed rail plans, question and rethink every assumption and method and recommend a new plan for how to build faster, greener, more reliable high-speed rail in New York.
Making the "New York Buy American" Act Permanent: Governor Cuomo proposes making the Buy American Act, which is set to expire in April 2020, a permanent fixture in New York State. By requiring State agencies to use high-quality American-made structural iron and steel, we will continue to create union jobs and ensure our infrastructure projects will last long into the future.
Transforming Buffalo's North Aud Block: The State will develop Canalside's North Aud Block, featuring mixed use residential and commercial buildings and a piazza for public use, based on community and stakeholder input. This also includes the rail station that is forthcoming in Buffalo and its coordination with the new North Aud Block neighborhood.
Supporting New York Workers
Enacting Comprehensive E-Bike Legislation: As new technology emerges, we must encourage innovation without compromising safety. There is no need for us to choose between legalizing e-bikes and keeping riders, pedestrians and drivers alike safe, and this year Governor Cuomo will introduce comprehensive legislation that does just that.
Enacting Stronger Wage Lien Laws: New York has among the strongest laws in the nation with respect to wage theft. Often, judgments are difficult to collect when a worker has prevailed in court. The current laws create barriers in enforcement of that judgment. A lien is a strong legal remedy that will allow a victim to ensure that a judgment can ultimately be paid, before issuance of a judgment. This year, Governor Cuomo will propose legislation to ensure that in cases where a claim would not be collected, that a Judge could authorize the placement of a lien to ensure that victims can be made whole.
Expanding New York's $175 Million Workforce Development Initiative to Meet Emerging Job Demand
Launching the First-in-the-Nation Future of Work Centers: With unemployment at historic lows across many parts of New York, state employers are increasingly looking for more nimble ways to ensure they have employees with in-demand skills. Governor Cuomo will build on the success of the Northland Workforce Training Center in Buffalo and establish two nation-leading Future of Work Centers. These Future of Work Centers will partner with the private sector, community organizations and SUNY/CUNY to create new short-term, non-degree credential and micro-credential programs to quickly address employer skill needs, both for existing workers as well as new workers.
Investing $14 Million in Apprenticeship Expansion Across New York State: To ensure apprenticeship opportunities continue to meet the needs of both New York's businesses and New York's underserved communities, New York State will invest $14 million into expanding apprenticeship opportunities across the State this year. The Governor's Office of Workforce Development and the New York State Department of Labor will engage the expertise of the Regional Economic Development Councils in making program decisions.
Training Workers for the Green Economy: New York will create an industry-driven green jobs training program to address the need for an energy workforce. First, the Excelsior Automotive Technician Task Force will broaden the scope of its work to include electric vehicles. New York State will also invest an additional $40 million — for a total investment of $100 million — over the next five years to build a talent pipeline of clean energy workers and provide the existing workforce with opportunities to enhance their skills. In addition, SUNY Farmingdale and Stony Brook will formally solicit partners for its $20 million Offshore Wind Training Institute, so that training can begin in 2021. Finally, Parks and DEC will partner with Hudson Valley Community College, Alfred State University, Excelsior Corps and Job Corps to create a Solar Energy Corps to train students to install solar energy equipment.
Creating the State's First Comprehensive Education and Training Center: Governor Cuomo is proposing creating a comprehensive education and workforce training center to meet science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics job demand in Syracuse. The multipurpose facility will house a regional high school and a worker training and apprenticeship program administered by SUNY Empire State College and in partnership with other local colleges and universities. The Governor is also including a new state of the art workforce training program that will offer high school equivalency, advanced technical certification and college degrees to prepare school graduates and any member of the community to enter emerging sectors.
Bringing New Yorkers Out of Poverty
Continuing Historic Investments in Affordable Housing: The Governor plans to diversify the State's affordable housing initiatives, expanding the State's efforts to manufactured home parks, addressing the urban blight in the state's upstate cities and helping families continue to move to neighborhoods of opportunity. Additionally, the State will continue to prioritize community renewal and revitalization, supporting projects that are part of coordinated neighborhood plans, integrate access to transportation and that are developed through inclusive, transparent processes in which community members are able to participate.
Expanding Access to Safe and Affordable Banking Services, Credit and Financial Education: The Governor will propose a sweeping financial access and inclusion agenda that builds on the work his administration has done to expand access to safe and affordable banking services, credit and financial education. First, the Governor will propose legislation to provide $25 million in new funding over five years for New York's local financial service providers. Under the Governor's proposal, these providers will leverage this funding to support underserved communities across New York. They will work closely with the NYS Department of Financial Services and other state agencies to create an accessible, statewide network of safe and affordable banking services and financial literacy programs. Second, the Governor will propose the creation of a statewide office of financial inclusion and empowerment to meet the financial services needs of low- and middle- income New Yorkers across the state.
Stopping Nuisance Robocalls: Governor Cuomo will propose nation-leading legislation to unmask and fight back against bad actors and their egregious practices of spoofing and robocalling. The legislation will require telephone providers to block robocalls or be held responsible; require telephone providers to fully implement an industry-based call authentication protocol as soon as possible; and create new penalties against telecom companies that don't comply and double penalties against robocallers for "Do Not Call" law violations.
Ensuring the Strongest Net Neutrality Protections for all New Yorkers: The Governor will introduce legislation to prevent the blocking, throttling and paid prioritization of online content — practices that undermine a free and open internet. The legislation will also prohibit so-called "zero-rating" practices, which penalize consumers for accessing content or applications that are not preferred by their internet provider. The legislation will also codify into law Governor Cuomo's 2018 Executive Order mandating that state government entities may not enter into contracts with internet service providers unless they follow net neutrality principles.
Licensing and Regulating Debt Collection Companies: The Governor will propose legislation to give the Department of Financial Services (DFS) authority to license debt collection entities and empower DFS to examine and investigate suspected abuses, including by requiring the submission of information to DFS and authorizing DFS investigators to enter a debt collector's office at any time to review its books and records. This new oversight authority would also allow the Department to bring punitive administrative actions against unscrupulous debt collectors. The proposal will also combat schemes intended to defraud people into paying debts they do not owe.
Fighting Elder Financial Fraud: Governor Cuomo will propose that New York financial institutions report to the New York Office of Children and Family Services, Adult Protective Services and other authorities when a hold is placed on an elderly consumer's transaction or account due to a suspicion of elder financial abuse. The proposal would create parameters for the holds and provide financial institutions and employees with immunity from civil liability for holding transactions and reporting when there is a reasonable suspicion of elder financial abuse.
Protecting New York Consumers from Unfair and Abusive Practices by Strengthening New York's Consumer Protection Laws: Governor Cuomo is proposing a broad consumer protection agenda to enable New York to respond effectively to the absence of federal consumer protection enforcement and ensure New York consumers are fully protected from new predatory financial products flooding the marketplace. First, the Governor proposes making New York State consumer protection law consistent with federal law. Second, the Governor proposes eliminating unnecessary exemptions for consumer financial products and services. Third, the Governor will close loopholes and create a level playing field for regulated entities. And finally, the Governor proposes amending the Insurance Law to increase maximum fines for violations of law and ensure DFS has the authority to maintain civil enforcement actions to address violations.
Passing First-in-the-Nation Inclusive Equal Rights Amendment: Governor Cuomo will seek to amend the New York State Constitution's Equal Rights Amendment so that New York sets the national standard for how states protect equal rights. The Governor will seek to add sex as a protected class to Section 11 of Article I, ensuring that all New Yorkers, regardless of their gender, are fully protected by the State constitution. Additionally, he will push for the addition of other categories, including ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity so that those critically important protections are also enshrined into the State constitution.
Creating a Women's Corporate Leadership Academy: Governor Cuomo will direct Empire State College to create a Women's Corporate Leadership Academy. The Academy will promote women's increased participation in American corporate leadership, including on corporate boards, through targeted programming that supports women in preparing for executive and board leadership positions. The Academy will also develop programming for organizations with the goal of creating more institutional equity.
Investing in Women Entrepreneurs: As the drivers of New York State's economic strategic planning, Governor Cuomo tasks ESD and the REDCs to assess and, as necessary, address the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. The 2020 REDC Guidebook will require each region to incorporate ways to address these challenges in its strategic plan. In order to implement these strategies, $20 million of Empire State Development grant funding will be available across ten regions for projects advancing the needs of women entrepreneurs.
Improving Representation for Women on Corporate Boards: Governor Cuomo recently signed legislation that requires the New York State Department of State and the Department of Taxation and Finance to conduct a study of female representation on corporate boards. The agencies will analyze the number of women who currently serve on the boards of directors of all domestic and foreign corporations in the state. The data will provide a comprehensive understanding of the issue that will guide policy decisions designed to address these inequities.
Banning the "Pink Tax": Governor Cuomo will advance legislation to prohibit gender-based pricing discrimination for substantially similar or like kind goods and services. The legislation would require certain service providers to post price lists for standard services and notice that gender-based price discrimination is prohibited under state law. Businesses that violate the law would be subject to civil penalties.
Addressing the Student Loan Debt Crisis' Impact on Women of Color: Governor Cuomo will direct DFS and the Governor's Council on Women and Girls to launch a new statewide initiative to address the impact of the student debt crisis experienced by women of color in New York State. As a first step, DFS and the Governor's Council on Women and Girls will hold roundtable discussions and town hall meetings statewide that are designed to elevate the voices of female student and community leaders of color and raise awareness to the disproportionate impact of the student debt crisis.
Ensuring Pay Equity at State and Local Authorities: The Governor and the New York State Authorities Budget Office are announcing a benchmark survey to collect reporting from all authorities on their current pay scales in relation to gender in order to ensure compliance with the Pay Equity Law among state and local authorities. The survey will collect information about the types of employment taking place at state and local authorities, whether there are gaps in pay scales relating to gender and what actions the authorities will take to ensure compliance.
Requiring Sexual Harassment Data Disclosure from State Contractors: Governor Cuomo will propose measures requiring potential state contractors to provide a report of the number of adverse judgments, adverse administrative rulings and settlements relating to sexual harassment within the past year. The information will be available to state agencies seeking to contract with that entity, and the Office of State Comptroller will submit summary reports of the data annually to the Governor, certain agency heads and the Legislature.
Expanding Access to Fertility Services: Governor Cuomo will work to expand coverage and raise awareness of available fertility services. The Governor will encourage employers to offer fertility coverage, ensure that no one is discriminated against for seeking fertility services and expand awareness of existing benefits.
Comprehensive Plan to Address Maternal Mortality: Governor Cuomo will continue to invest $8 million over two years to support: the expansion and enhancement of Community Health Worker services across New York State; the implementation of implicit bias training and post-birth training for medical providers; the creation of a comprehensive perinatal data warehouse; the convening of a Maternal Mortality Review Board to review all maternal deaths; and a strategic outreach program in key communities across the state to increase the ratio of perinatal healthcare providers who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups.
Requiring Uniform, High-Quality Care Standards for all Sexual Assault Survivors: Governor Cuomo will propose that all hospitals be required to adhere to the same high-quality, victim-centered care standards when treating sexual assault survivors to ensure that New York's healthcare system is prepared to provide the highest quality care for victims in every rural, urban and suburban community.
Modernize Support to Domestic Violence Victims: Governor Cuomo proposes to pilot an innovative, survivor-centered model that reduces the barriers and challenges to domestic violence service provision in New York State by providing a comprehensive flexible funding model to support a continuum of services based on each survivor's needs. The proposed model will also support survivors by enhancing systemic responses that hold abusers accountable and decrease their levels of lethality. In addition, Governor Cuomo also proposes the creation of Domestic Violence Regional Councils that will coordinate with the existing New York State Domestic Violence Advisory Council to further the relationships built through the Task Force and enhance communication regarding the needs of survivors, domestic violence programs and communities.
Strengthening Protections for Domestic Violence Victims Seeking a Divorce: Governor Cuomo will advance legislation to require courts to specifically consider the effects of domestic violence on the future financial circumstances of each party. This will require a court to examine the circumstances and results of domestic violence and would allow the court to find that a party has a diminished future ability to make a living due to acts of domestic violence committed against them by the other party.
Protecting Domestic Violence Victims from Gun Violence: Governor Cuomo will propose the following measures to protect victims of domestic violence: allowing law enforcement to remove firearms from the scene of a domestic dispute; requiring law enforcement to remove firearms from the home of an individual who becomes subject to a protective order arising out of a domestic dispute; and establishing a domestic violence misdemeanor to ensure that abusers lose access to firearms immediately upon conviction.
Stopping Reproductive Coercion: The Governor proposes the development of partnerships between domestic violence agencies and sexual and reproductive health clinics to increase awareness of, and identify and respond to, sexual abuse and sexual and reproductive coercion.
Protecting LGBTQ New Yorkers
Legalizing Gestational Surrogacy in New York State: Governor Cuomo will champion legislation that lifts the ban on gestational surrogacy. The legislation will also establish criteria for surrogacy contracts that provide the strongest protections in the nation for parents and surrogates, ensuring all parties provide informed consent at every step of the process. The legislation would also create a Surrogates' Bill of Rights, which would ensure the unfettered right of surrogates to make their own healthcare decisions, including whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy and that surrogates have access to comprehensive health insurance and independent legal counsel of their choosing, all paid for by the intended parents. The Governor's legislation will also create a streamlined process for establishing parenthood when one of the individuals is a non-biological parent, a process known as "second parent adoption."
LGBTQ-Affirming Addiction Services: In order to reduce rates of addiction in the LGBTQ community, Governor Cuomo will direct the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports to develop clinical practice standards for addiction treatment programs when working with LGBTQ individuals. OASAS will also implement an accompanying endorsement for programs that meet these standards so that consumers can identify programs that are providing the best quality of care to LGBTQ individuals.
Extending Data Privacy Protections to LGBTQ Dating Apps: Governor Cuomo will advance legislation to amend the Dating Services Consumer Bill of Rights, to replace "members of the opposite sex" with the word "persons," in the law's definition of "social referral services." The legislation will also extend the law's coverage to include social referral services that do not charge any fees. These amendments will ensure that services used by New Yorkers to meet friends and significant others may not provide different protections depending on the sexual orientation or gender identity of the individuals being matched.
Protecting Vulnerable Children
Reducing Overrepresentation of Minority Children in Foster Care: Governor Cuomo is committed to equal treatment for all families who experience the child welfare system regardless of race and ethnicity. The implementation of a "Blind Removal" Process statewide is another step toward ensuring social justice and human rights for the children and families of New York. OCFS has partnered with the University at Albany to create a Blind Removal Process toolkit. This toolkit is designed to aid counties through the process of assessment readiness followed by implementation of the Blind Removal Process. Once finalized, it will be disseminated to all counties across New York State.
Establishing the NYS AmeriCorps Foster Care Success Program: The Governor will create the New York State AmeriCorps Foster Care Success program, enabling youth transitioning from foster care the opportunity to participate in AmeriCorps service and be given intensive and specialized training and "wrap-around" supportive services. Within the first three years of this program, or more of the participants will have successfully transitioned to full-time employment or academic study.
Keeping Kids Out of Foster Care with a Kin-First Firewall: To further promote kinship foster care, New York State will mandate that each local social services district establish a Kin-First Firewall policy - a second look at every child removed to ensure that all steps are taken to make the first placement a kinship placement where appropriate. This simple step was tested in successful pilots that resulted in significant increases in kinship placements.
KEEPING NEW YORKERS SAFE
Ensuring Safety and Security for All
Closing the Rape Intoxication Loophole: Governor Cuomo will advance legislation rightfully clarifying that a victim's ability to consent is jeopardized whether they were voluntarily or involuntarily intoxicated. This legislation will give prosecutors the ability to ensure that sexual abusers are held accountable for their criminal acts and sexual abuse survivors are able to obtain the justice they deserve. In addition, the legislation will create the charge of rape in the first degree (a B felony) for anyone who engages in sexual intercourse with an individual who they caused to become involuntarily intoxicated.
Preventing Sexual Predators from Using Social Media, Dating Apps and Video Games to Exploit Children: Governor Cuomo will advance legislation to ensure the current law is strengthened to require affirmative disclosure by sex offenders to DCJS of all social media accounts and updating the relevant accounts that must be disclosed. DCJS will send this list to any provider that the offender discloses and the provider will be required to review this data, develop policies on how to use it and release the policy publically to their users. This legislation would also make it a crime for convicted sex offenders to misrepresent themselves online.
Banning Repeat and High-Risk Sexual Offenders from MTA Transit Systems: The Governor will advance legislation to authorize the MTA to issue orders prohibiting individuals who commit repeat sex-related violations of the MTA code of conduct, or who are high-risk sex offenders (Level 3), from using MTA transportation services for a period of three years. Additionally, this proposal will establish a new law for transit-related sex crime where, if convicted, a prohibition order may be imposed by a judge to ensure the safety of the pubic. Under this proposal, as a condition of pre-trial release, the judge may also issue a temporary prohibition order if good cause is shown that the prohibition is necessary to maintain public safety. Individuals who violate a prohibition order could be charged with Transit Trespass, an A misdemeanor.
Permitting State Police to Issue Administrative Subpoenas for Certain Online Sexual Offenses Against Children: Governor Cuomo will push for legislative approval to provide the Superintendent of State Police with administrative subpoena authority for investigations into technology-facilitated criminal offenses against children and provide the NYS Police with the investigative tools required to expeditiously investigate these heinous crimes.
Ensuring that Individuals Who Commit Serious Crimes in Other State Cannot Own a Gun in New York: Governor Cuomo will advance legislation to prohibit individuals from obtaining a gun license who commit serious offenses out-of-state that would disqualify them from obtaining a gun license if committed in New York. This will provide greater consistency in New York's licensing scheme and ensure individuals who are prohibited from purchasing a firearm are not able to do so. The Governor is also advancing legislation to require all state and local law enforcement agencies in the state to opt in to the ATF's crime gun trace data sharing program and submit crime guns recovered through the ATF's eTrace system. Additionally, Governor Cuomo is proposing legislation to amend the Mental Hygiene Law to allow New York to share reports of individuals who are a danger to themselves or others with other states.
Preventing the Manufacture and Dissemination of Ghost Guns: To address the growing concern over ghost guns, Governor Cuomo is advancing comprehensive legislation to prevent access to and use of these weapons. First, this proposal would require individuals to obtain major components of a firearm, rifle or shotgun only through an in-store transaction at a licensed gun dealer. Second, licensed dealers would be required to distribute major components only to individuals who possess valid identification and to log all transactions and would require all unfinished frames and receivers to have a serial number issued by the State Police. Third, the proposal would prohibit individuals who cannot legally possess a rifle or shotgun from possessing a major component part that could be used to build a firearm, rifle or shotgun and create new misdemeanor and felony penalties for violating these new provisions.
Strengthening Safety Measures for Occupants of Stretch Limousines and Other For-Hire Commercial Vehicles: Governor Cuomo will propose reforms to ensure there are robust safety protections for limousines and other increased passenger protections. This package of reforms will include legislation requiring that all occupants of a vehicle wear a seatbelt; will increase civil and criminal penalties for violations of a State operating permit, tampering with a federal motor vehicle safety standard tag, or altering or obtaining an invalid State inspection sticker; and will eliminate current statutory exemptions from operating permits in Transportation Law for vehicles that would otherwise be considered a bus, among other things.
Strengthening the Relationship between Local Police and the Communities they Serve: Governor Cuomo is proposing a new policy in which the State Attorney General will address tensions in police-community relations and identify solutions to improve that relationship.
A QUALITY EDUCATION FOR ALL
Ensuring a Strong Start for Every New York Student
Require Transparency to Ensure Districts Distribute State Aid in a More Equitable Manner: Governor Cuomo will continue to close the funding gap between poor and rich schools by requiring that state education funds go to the neediest schools. These requirements will ensure that districts are funding the neediest schools. Although the state distributes 70 percent of its funding to the neediest districts, the districts do not always distribute funding to their schools in an equitable manner. In fact, some school districts have schools with significantly higher needs receiving less than the average school in the district. New York will continue to drive funding equity by requiring school districts to disclose, by building, where their funds go.
Expanding Universal Pre-Kindergarten: Governor Cuomo proposes to increase funding for the 2020-21 school year for pre-kindergarten to expand access in high-need districts because early learning can bridge achievement gaps and provide benefits in the earliest stages of youth and throughout adulthood.
Supporting After School Programs in High-Need Communities: To help ensure that every child who needs a safe place to go is provided one, the Governor proposes additional funding to create more program slots in high-need communities across the State. This year's grants will also include a prioritization of funds for areas with high levels of gang involvement and high need communities.
Lowering AP Tests Fees for Low-Income Students: Governor Cuomo will continue to invest funding to ensure that the test fee for AP and IB exams is free for as many low-income students as possible. New York currently invests $5.8 million to bring the exam fee down to $5 for low-income students, so that every student can afford to take a test.
STEM Entrepreneur in Residence: The Governor proposes to pilot the STEM Entrepreneur in Residence program for the 2020-21 school year for high-need middle schools. Districts will receive a grant to match with a local STEM company that is female- or minority-owned or led. The funds will expose students to STEM careers and role models succeeding in their community. The company will bring its leadership and materials to the school for visits, as well as hosting students at the work-site.
Making College More Affordable
Requiring Transparency and Accountability for For-Profit Colleges: Governor Cuomo is proposing a for-profit college accountability program that is focused on transparency and outcomes to ensure that our students are being well served in these schools. The proposed accountability measurements include basic disclosure of funding and financing including the compensation packages of senior leadership and ownership, including any relevant bonuses and incentives.
Stopping Unscrupulous Schools that Drain Veterans of Education Benefits: The Governor will work the Department of Veteran's Services to bring more transparency to for-profit schools, identify opportunities to clarify state and federal commitments to education and ensure New York State's veterans will be protected from unscrupulous actors in the for-profit education space.
Expanding College Student Enrollment in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits: The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance will establish policy to make more community college students eligible for essential SNAP benefits. Additionally, OTDA will establish state policy that community college students engaged at least half-time in career and technical education courses of study are exempt from the requirement to work 20 hours weekly to qualify for SNAP. These students will then be able to apply for and receive SNAP if they otherwise qualify based on available income and other basic eligibility rules that apply to all SNAP households.
Stopping Abusive and Deceptive Practices from Student Loan Debt Relief Companies: The Governor will propose legislation setting standards for the student loan debt relief industry in New York. Student debt relief companies typically charge student loan borrowers substantial upfront fees and promise to assist them with consolidating multiple student loans into a single loan or alternative repayment arrangements.
A HEALTHIER NEW YORK
Ensuring Access to Affordable Healthcare
Lowering Prescription Drug Prices for All New Yorkers: The Governor will introduce a three-point plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs for all New Yorkers and hold manufactures accountable for unjustifiable, exorbitant increases in drug prices. As part of the plan, the Governor will cap the co-payments required of insured patients at $100 for a one-month supply of insulin; grant the Department of Financial Services additional authority to investigate spikes in drug costs; create the Prescription Importation Commission to identify any potential consumer savings from importing drugs from Canada and to compile a list of drugs that could be imported through the program; and proposing that Pharmacy Benefit Managers will be required to immediately register with the State and be subject to regulations requiring disclosure of financial incentives or benefits for promoting the use of certain drugs, as well as other financial arrangements affecting customers
Providing Medical Cost Transparency to Empower Patients: To enable consumers to more easily search for healthcare services, Governor Cuomo will direct the Department of Health, the Department of Financial Services and the New York State Digital and Media Services Center to create a consumer-friendly, one-stop website, called NYHealthcareCompare, where New Yorkers will easily be able to find healthcare costs, quality information and educational resources.
Expanding Protections from Surprise Medical Bills: In 2014 the Governor advanced a landmark law protecting consumers from out-of-network bills for emergency physician services in a hospital and from surprise bills in hospitals and other outpatient settings, however, the current law still allows out-of-network hospitals and doctors to bill the consumer directly for emergency services. To protect New Yorkers from unfair and unreasonable medical practices the Governor will introduce a three-point plan that will: prohibit all hospitals and emergency doctors from directly billing consumers for out-of-network services; require the disclosure of facilities fees that are unreasonably charged to New Yorkers and often not covered by insurance; and shorten the statute of limitations to collect unpaid medical debt to three years.
Combating the Opioid Epidemic
Banning Fentanyl Analogs to Further Combat the Opioid Epidemic: The Governor will introduce legislation to explicitly designate fentanyl analogs as controlled substances in New York State. This legislation will give police and law enforcement the authority to prosecute the manufacturing, sale and distribution of these drugs to the fullest extent of the law. The proposed legislation will also give the State Department of Health Commissioner the authority to add additional analogs to the list of controlled substances, enabling the State to stay in front of these deadly substances as they appear on the market.
Expanding Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment in Hard to Reach Communities: In 2020, the Governor will take still further steps to expand access to Medication-Assisted Treatment in hard to reach communities by connecting emergency departments with doctors who can prescribe buprenorphine through telehealth; adding ten new mobile clinics, one in each economic development zone statewide; providing buprenorphine in the seven correctional facilities currently offering methadone; and reorienting OASAS's existing HOPEline Services to help New Yorkers seeking addiction assistance find treatment, recovery or peer support.
Medication Assisted Treatment: New York has made significant reforms to ensure that those struggling with opioid use disorder have the opportunity to utilize medication assisted treatment, which has a proven track record at ensuring long-term recovery. This administration has already required that Medicaid and each plan have one MAT drug per therapeutic class with no prior authorization, and that if there is a prescription or refill for a drug not on the formulary that a five-day supply be given, and prior authorization is completed within 24 hours. There is more to be done. This year, Governor Cuomo will propose a single formulary for Medicaid that will ensure access to medication assisted treatment is granted quickly and efficiently without erecting unnecessary barriers to care.
Improving Public Health
Crackdown on Illegal Cigarette Sales: To further reduce smoking rates, ensure the State is not deprived of needed revenue, protect law-abiding retailers from unfair competition and prevent youth from getting access to tobacco products Governor Cuomo will introduce legislation to give the Department of Taxation and Finance new tools to counter the ability of unscrupulous retailers to continue selling cigarettes. The measure will permit DTF to shut-down offending retailers altogether by revoking their authority to collect retail sales and other taxes from customers and increase penalties for illegally selling tobacco products to minors.
Stop Vaping Products from Getting into the Hands of Youth: To protect youth from tobacco products, the Governor will introduce a comprehensive package to: ban the sale of flavored vaping products; ban all vaping-related ads targeted to youth; ban the sale of vaping carrier oils that include chemicals or ingredients that when inhaled through a vaping device are deemed to be dangerous and a significant public health risk; restrict the online, phone and mail order sale of e-liquids and e-cigarettes only to licensed vaping product retailers; end the sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products in pharmacies; and legislation to define indoor space and limit second hand smoke exposure.
SAFEGUARDING OUR DEMOCRACY
Requiring Automatic Manual Recounts in Close Elections: To fortify confidence in the integrity of election results in every race around the state, Governor Cuomo will introduce legislation establishing statewide standards for when automatic ballot recounts are triggered and the process for how such recounts will be carried out. The legislation will require automatic, manual recounts in all statewide elections in which the margin of victory for a candidate or ballot proposition is 0.2 percent of all votes cast in the contest. It will also require an automatic manual recount in all other elections in which the margin of victory for a candidate or ballot proposition is 0.5 percent of all votes cast.
Implementing a System of Automatic Voter Registration: Although New Yorkers today are given the opportunity to register to vote when interacting with State agencies, they must affirmatively ask to be registered. However, we should do more to increase participation in our democracy. Automatic voter registration will boost voter registration and turnout in this state and strengthen our democratic process. We will ensure that all automatic voter registration opportunities are available online and we will enable New Yorkers to simply apply to register to vote on the State Board of Elections website if they choose to do so.
Creating an Election Security Rapid Response Team: To fully ensure local boards of elections are properly prepared to defend against cyber attacks, the Governor will direct the creation of a Cyber Swat Team to supplement and provide additional support to the work of the State Board's Secure Election Center place ahead of the 2020 election cycle and establish a comprehensive plan should a cyber attack jeopardize results. Under this proposal, local county boards of election and the State Board will work with relevant state agencies to establish a plan to conduct a quick and efficient recount.
Counting Every New Yorker in the 2020 Census: The State will provide grants to and work with more than 60 counties and local governments to identify "trusted voices" and not-for-profit organizations that can focus on engaging "hard to count" communities, including those with high immigrant populations, children under five years old and seniors. Throughout 2020, the State will also target funds specifically towards communities and populations that remain at risk for being undercounted.
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