eNews: November 2021

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Dear e-News Reader:

I hope that you had a Happy Thanksgiving and will have a safe and healthy holiday season. If you would like to sign up for your booster shot, visit: https://www.vaccines.gov/search/. I am currently getting ready for the legislative session to begin in January where we will have many important issues to tackle. As always, my office is open and available to answers your calls or emails. You can reach us at 607-723-9047 or lupardd@nyassembly.gov.

Legislation WIll Help Address Truck Driver ShortageEarlier this month, Governor Hochul signed a bill I introduced which creates a Young Adult CDL Class A program for 18-20 year olds. Previously, they could only get a CDL Class B which prevented them from being able to drive tractor-trailers and other larger vehicles in NYS. They will now need 300 hours of behind the wheel training with an experienced driver, along with rigorous in-classroom instruction.

We made the announcement at Burr Trucking in Vestal where I was joined by Mirabito’s Vice-President for Human Resources Craig Biondi, and Mark Stone, General Manager of Burr Trucking. It’s projected that the trucking industry will have a shortage of 165,000 drivers by 2026; this shortage is contributing to current supply chain challenges.

Supporting Local Efforts to Decrease Gun Violence

Back in July, it was announced that NYS had funding available for a statewide effort to decrease gun violence through youth development. I helped secure $250,000 for three organizations; Binghamton Central School District ($100K), the Binghamton Bulldogs Basketball Team ($75K) , and the YMCA Binghamton Branch ($75K). The grants will pay for youth advocates, after-school sports programming, scholarships for summer clinics, and evening and weekend community building events between law enforcement and participating youth.

Give the Gift of a Holiday Meal

For the second year in a row, I am partnering with CHOW, Broome-Tioga BOCES, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Regional Farmers Market to create Holiday Giving Boxes. The goal is to raise $7,500 which will pay for 150 complete and nutritious meals for families this holiday season.

The boxes will include a turkey, and all the fixings including locally grown potatoes, carrots, beets squash and a homemade pie. Each box costs $50, but donations of any amount will be accepted and are appreciated. To donate visit https://justgiving.com/campaign/hgb21.

Ag Hearing on Supporting Small and Medium Sized Farms

As the Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, it is important that farmers and Ag organizations have a direct voice with State government. That is why I hosted a budget hearing in Albany on ways the state can better support small and medium sized farms.These hearings are very helpful as we begin discussions about next year’s budget. While the pandemic highlighted the many vulnerabilities within our food supply chain, it also raised awareness about the need to better support NY’s entire farm economy. I’d like to thank those who testified and the many colleagues who participated in the hearing.

Infrastructure Bill Signed Into Law

On November 15th, President Biden signed into law the Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Bill. This $1 trillion bill is the single largest infrastructure investment since the Great Depression. NYS will be seeing billions of dollars of investment. The bill allocates over $11.5 Billion in funding to rebuild our roads and bridges, with a new focus on climate change resilience. NYS will also receive funding to help provide better access to clean drinking water through the removal of lead pipes and improving our water infrastructure. Our local transit system, BC Transit, will see over $27 Million of new investment over the next 4 years and our airport is also in line for assistance. Lastly, the bill allocates $100 Million to help get every New Yorker access to reliable broadband internet. To read more about the infrastructure bill you can visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/bipartisan-infrastructure-law/