As part of my community engagement platform, I promised to provide a regular weekly update on what’s happening up in Albany. This is an update from Week Four.

You can always email me directly at gounardes@nysenate.gov if you have any other questions, ideas, or want more information about what’s happening in Albany or the district.

*Session Week 4*

This week we had no committee meetings, which gave our legislative staff more time to work on some of our upcoming legislation (stay tuned!). You can see all of the bills we’ve introduced so far this year here.

Session

The Senate passed 16 bills during our two days this week on a number of different issues:

Election Reforms

  • S2733, S1705A, S1644, and S1632 all relate to elections and making it easier for people to run for office and vote;
  • I’m especially excited about S2733, which reduces the number of signatures candidates must collect for the 2021 election cycle by 70%. This will allow individuals to continue to do their work and run from office while staying in line with recommendations for public safety during the pandemic.

Food Access

  • S901 requires supermarkets to provide excess food to food relief organizations;
  • S878 works with the USDA to develop online fresh food purchasing options throughout the state.

Protecting Children

  • S872 requires the Office of Children and Family Services to track the number of youth placed in foster care settings and the effectiveness of recruiting foster parents;
  • S897 ensures that schools will not be financially penalized for their inability to meet the 180 day requirement due to COVID-19.

You can see all the bills the Senate has passed so far this year here.

*Budget Hearings*

Budget hearings for this year have begun! Next week we will have public hearings on housing (which you can watch here), workforce development (watch here), higher education (watch here), and mental hygiene (watch here).

Thanks for reading! As always, you can email me directly at gounardes@nysenate.gov or call my office as 718–238–6044.

NYS Senator, District 22.