Here are the Top 5 items from February 2020
1. ANNUAL CONSTITUENT SURVEY NOW AVAILABLE:
Right now, we’re in the middle of negotiating the State Budget and also reviewing important policies such as the recently enacted criminal justice reforms. But, as our legislative session progresses, it would be helpful to know what you think about specific topics that are being discussed at the Capitol. If you’re a resident in my district, you should be receiving my annual Constituent Survey in the next few days if you haven’t already. I hear from residents on a regular basis about what’s important to them, however, this survey makes it easier to hear from a larger number of people. I’d encourage you to fill out this year’s survey online, which will save you a stamp and help us get you the results quicker. The online survey form can be found here.
2. PLASTIC BAG BAN TAKES EFFECT IN NYS:
As of March 1st, most plastic carryout bags will no longer available in New York State. Many stores, like Wegmans, eliminated the bags earlier to prepare customers; others stopped using bags as soon as they ran out of their stock. Customers now have the choice between reusable bags – which many have been taking advantage of for years – or paper. Counties and individual stores can charge a $0.05 fee on paper bags if they choose. The new ban on these bags is an important step in cutting down on harmful plastic waste & protecting our environment.
3. MAPLE EXPERIENCE PROVIDES BIG BOOST TO AG EDUCATION:
New York is the second-largest producer of maple in the country, and has doubled production over the last ten years. This major agricultural industry is an important part of the state’s economy and producers are now able to connect with new – and younger – consumers with the “Maple Experience.” I was able to secure funding in last year’s budget for the NYS Maple Producers’ Association to purchase a new mobile unit that has been traveling around the state since it was introduced at last summer’s State Fair. So far, more than 6,000 students at more than a dozen schools have visited the “Maple Experience,” learning about maple production and getting hands-on demonstrations of the process. It’s very exciting to see students’ reactions to the demonstrations and taste real maple syrup, often for the first time. The Maple Producers’ Association has done a terrific job complementing our ongoing commitment to agricultural education, which has tremendous benefits to both producers and consumers. Read more about the success of the “Maple Experience” by clicking here.
Students at Johnson City Elementary School visited the Maple Experience in October.
4. STATE BUDGET WORK ONGOING AT THE CAPITOL:
March is one of the busiest months at the Capitol as the Legislature works to finalize the State Budget by April 1st. This year’s budget is especially challenging given the $6 billion gap we’re facing. Rising Medicaid costs have largely contributed to this deficit and the Governor has convened a Medicaid Redesign Team to propose solutions and help close the gap. Meanwhile, I am busy meeting with constituents and statewide advocacy groups to help develop my own priorities. As the Chair of the Agriculture Committee, I am pushing for funding that will continue helping farmers and food producers, along with supporting our popular Farm-to-School initiative. Other top priorities include tax relief, school aid, climate resilience, infrastructure, and support for small businesses.
5. MEETING WITH CONSTITUENTS IN ALBANY:
An important part of the budget and legislative process is meeting with constituents to learn more about the issues that are important to them. I spent time with dozens of groups from Broome County during the month of February including representatives from our local PTA, ACHIEVE, Southern Tier Independence Center, Broome County Chamber of Commerce, and numerous labor unions, among others. Local students also visited from Tobacco Free Broome & Tioga, Union-Endicott’s Mock Senate, and Binghamton University’s Liberty Partnerships and Upward Bound programs. They always provide a unique perspective that is invaluable to me. They also see firsthand how their advocacy can really make a difference. I’m looking forward to seeing more familiar faces, and meeting new ones, as our session continues.
Assemblywoman Lupardo meets with representatives from Southern Tier Independence Center.