My Top Ten Priorities for the 2022 Legislative Session
Today marks the start of the next legislative session. From now through June, I’ll be laser-focused on helping New York recover from the pandemic and getting our economy back on track. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the big projects I’m hoping to tackle this year.
- New Deal For CUNY — my landmark bill would make CUNY schools tuition free, invest in the campus’s capital infrastructure, lower teacher to student ratios and provide for more mental health counselors. Our district has one of the highest percentages of students who attend CUNY. We need to prepare our students for the workforce of the future and revitalize our economy with quality higher education for all New Yorkers. My bill will do that by reversing the decade-long decline in CUNY funding, making tuition more affordable, hiring more professors, modernizing buildings, and making sure that CUNY continues to be the single greatest pathway to the middle class.
- Street Safety- This past year was the deadliest year in almost a decade on NYC streets. No pedestrian should have to live in fear of crossing the street. I’ll keep fighting for bold action to address speeding, hold reckless drivers accountable, support those impacted by a crash, and reduce overall hospitalizations due to traffic incidents. We need to renew the life-saving speed camera program, pass Sammy’s Law, and enact the entire Crash Victim’s Rights and Safety Act.
- Property tax reform- The property tax system in the city has been broken for decades, picking winners and losers by neighborhood and intensifying housing inequality. With the completion of the NYC Property Tax Reform Commission’s final report, it’s time to finally get this done. I’m fighting to pass two bills that will provide relief to middle class homeowners and provide transparency on why the city keeps raising property tax values.
- Small business and job recovery — Our small businesses are still trying to recover from the pandemic and the New York City unemployment rate is still higher than the rest of the state. While New York invested $1 billion in small business recovery last year, many businesses were left out, meaning they couldn’t hire new employees. Making sure we have a robust neighborhood focused recovery that gives local businesses the support they need while also creating good paying and safe jobs for our neighbors can’t be ignored. This work will require partnering with merchant associations, chambers of commerce, workforce development programs, and organized labor to put our recovery back on track.
- Stopping sexual harassment and discrimination- In recent years we’ve passed landmark legislation and removed abusers from office, but we have to continue to do the work changing the laws that empower them in the first place. I’m focused on passing my bills to protect legislative employees, put a stop to predatory practices in non-disclosure agreements that silence victims, and make it easier for survivors to come forward.
- Tackling runaway hospital costs — Why does an MRI cost $500 at one hospital and $7300 at another hospital down the block? Every dollar that goes towards runaway hospital costs is one less dollar that could have gone to wages for workers, and, in the case of government spending, to fund important public services and programs on which New Yorkers rely. I have legislation that will put a stop to the anti-competitive contracting practices hospitals engage in that keep driving up the cost of care.
- Investing in our public workforce — Our public sector is facing the same challenges across the state — mass attrition and staffing shortages. I’m committed to focusing on the vast disinvestment in our public sector workforce in the upcoming legislative session and that includes hazard pay for those workers who have continued to put their health and safety on the line during this pandemic.
- Preventing Gun violence- While the federal government has failed to take action to protect Americans from gun violence, New York must continue to act decisively to stop gun violence and protect families from the pain of losing a loved one. For years we have been passing common sense legislation to keep ghost guns off our streets and to increase background checks, but we can do more to stop the iron pipeline from bringing illegal guns into our state across state lines.
- Affordable Childcare — The pandemic has exposed one of the most glaring loopholes in our social safety net: the lack of quality, affordable childcare in many parts of our city. As a new parent myself, I feel this directly. We shouldn’t have to wait around another decade for Congress to pass a national program for affordable childcare — Albany has an opportunity this year to provide huge relief to millions of working- and middle-class families.
- Infrastructure Investments — Now that President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, New York stands to gain tens of billions of dollars to invest in our roads, bridges, buildings, and transportation systems. From clean energy to subway elevators, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest back into the hard infrastructure that makes our city and state run. I want to make sure that we use this money effectively and efficiently to meet our transit accessibility, climate action, and workforce goals.
What else do you think my team and I should be working on? As always, I welcome your thoughts, suggestions, questions, and concerns. You can email me directly at email@example.com or call my office at 718–238–6044.