eNews: April 2023

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Dear eNews Reader,

The recently passed state budget contains historic investments in education, health care, mental health, child care, and more. It also strongly supports higher education, transportation infrastructure, and our farm economy. We need to do much more on topics that remain important to our community including housing, workforce development, and emergency medical services.


1. Complicated policies delay budget

The budget also contains complicated policy initiatives that caused the budget to be one month late. The state’s bail laws were reformed and changes were made to address the state’s climate goals. One issue that has attracted a lot of attention is the move toward all electric buildings; in particular the use of gas stoves. Upstate members were successful in factoring in grid capacity when decisions are made regarding the conversion to all electric. See below for facts about this aspect of the recently passed state budget.

2. Family & Children’s Counseling Services Breaks Ground

Family & Children’s Counseling Services finally broke ground on the expansion of their Main Street facility in Binghamton. This is a long-awaited project that will fill a critical need for mental health and addiction services. All levels of government came together to get this over the finish line; I was happy to have played a role. The expansion is expected to be complete in about one year. https://www.binghamtonhomepage.com/news/family-childrens-counseling-services-groundbreaking/

3. Animal Advocacy Day at the Capitol

I was a sponsor of Animal Advocacy Day in Albany; an annual tradition that we just revived.  Many groups like the ASPCA attended advocating for increased protections for companion animals. A top priority of mine in the state budget is always the NYS Companion Animal Capital Fund. This year we were able to allocate $5M for the program that allows animal shelters to make much-needed upgrades. These investments are part of the Agriculture budget I oversee in the Assembly.

4. Public Input Sought for Harriet Tubman Statue

I joined NYS Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez, SUNY Chancellor John B. King at the BU Downtown Center to see various designs for the Harriet Tubman Statue. The statue, along with a marker honoring Tubman that was unveiled last month, will be one of 13 stops in the Freedom Trail project in Binghamton. The public was invited to help pick the winning design for the statue, and there’s still time to vote! Visit https://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/2023/04/21/help-choose-the-design-for-binghamton-harriet-tubman-statue/70130047007/ to learn more.

5. Resilient Retrofits Program Launches

In partnership with Home-Headquarters, NYS Homes & Community Renewal launched a new low-interest loan program for homeowners in Broome County who reside within the 500-year floodplain. Funds can be used for flood-proofing and climate resiliency upgrades, including new heating systems. To find out if you’re eligible and to apply, visit homehq.org/broomeretrofits or call Home HeadQuarters at 1-833-DRY-WARM.