We have some new legislation and budget initiatives to discuss!
We’re officially one month into the 2020 legislative session and to keep you in the loop, I’d like to tell you about a few pieces of legislation I support that you might be interested to know about. I’ll also be giving you a preview of some of my funding priorities as we near the 2020-21 state budget cycle, which touches just about every issue you can think of--education, health, environment, transportation, taxes, libraries, the opioid crisis and more.
This past week, the State Legislature held joint budget hearings in Albany on transportation, environmental conservation, health and mental health, and agriculture, among other subjects, and more hearings will be held in the coming weeks. In my view, it's not enough to hold hearings in Albany, and I will be convening a budget hearing with my colleague, Senator James Skoufis, specifically for our region on Thursday, March 5, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm (hold the date!). I will let you know the location as soon as it's confirmed. In this budget process, I'll be listening to you and fighting for a 2020-21 budget that is responsive to the needs and priorities of our communities.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and questions about any of the bills or issues mentioned below.
Requires the Department of Health to monitor the prescription drug registry to crack down on illegal over-prescribing.
Increases the Farm Workforce Retention Credit from $600 to $1,200 to farmers for employees who work 500 or more hours each year.
Ensures that those in need of insulin have affordable access to it.
Codifies New York’s fracking ban into state law.
Raises revenue on Wall Street to make sure corporations pay their fair share.
- Combating the Opioid Crisis and Eliminating Pill Mills in New York
- Providing Relief for Farmers on Labor Costs
- Increasing Access to Insulin and Other Life-Sustaining Medication
- Fighting Corporate Greed and Putting Our Communities First
- Ending the Destructive Practice of Fracking in New York
- Advocating for State Funding to Protect our Local Roads at the Joint Budget Hearing on Transportation
- Calling out PBMs for Rising Prescription Drug Costs at the Joint Budget Hearing on Health/Medicaid
An update on my work for NY-19: action on the opioid epidemic, PFAS contamination, rural broadband, and more
It’s been a busy start to the year: I wrapped up my first in-district work week of 2020 and introduced legislation to help support students in workforce development programs.
On Tuesday, Chatham Police Chief Peter Volkmann joined me as my guest for the State of the Union Address. Chief Volkmann is working on the front lines of the opioid epidemic, doing life-saving work in Columbia County to respond to overdoses and connect individuals with treatment facilities. His innovative program, Chatham Cares 4 U, is a model for the country when it comes to opioid treatment and recovery. We need to work together at all levels of government to end the opioid epidemic, and that’s why I’m lucky to have Chief Volkmann as a partner in these efforts.
Here’s an update on my work for NY-19:Read more
I just wanted to check in and give you a legislative update on seven of my bills that were signed into law in the last couple of weeks (bringing the total to nearly 20 for the year thus far!). I’m proud to report that the bills I’ll be discussing below passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support. One of the most significant of these from a statewide perspective is nation-leading legislation on the production and sale of hemp and CBD products, which will benefit New York farmers and create jobs while making sure we have quality and safety standards to protect consumers.
|S6184A||Creates a regulatory framework for growing, processing, and selling hemp extract and CBD products in New York.|
|S6163||Expands voting hours for the 2020 Presidential primary election in upstate New York.|
|S6235||Extends the Hudson Valley Community Preservation Act to Ulster County.|
|S4945||Simplifies record keeping and eliminates an administrative burden for farmers who own agricultural vehicles.|
|S1012||Authorizes the Enlarged City School District of Middletown to create a health insurance reserve fund.|
|S5510||Allows Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County to apply for capital grants for improvements to the Education Center and 4-H park in Otisville.|
|S5438||Enables the City of Middletown to opt out of a regulatory burden that requires the City to hire a plumbing inspector.|
- Making it Easier for Upstate Voters to Participate in the 2020 Presidential Primary
- The Ulster County Community Preservation Act Becomes Law
- Cutting Through Red Tape for Farm Vehicle Registration
- Protecting Middletown Schools’ Health Insurance Program
- Enabling State Fair Capital Funding for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County
- Updating Middletown Plumbing Limitations to 21st Century Standards
Hope you had a restful Thanksgiving holiday with loved ones.
November is dedicated to honoring the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes. Our veterans answered the call to serve and it is our solemn duty to ensure they can access care, benefits, and work opportunities when they come home. From meeting with my Veterans Advisory Committee, to visiting the many upstate organizations that support veterans as they transition to civilian life, I’m committed to understanding all the needs of our local veterans and addressing those needs in Congress.
To that end, I’m proud to report that the first piece of legislation I introduced, the Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act, detailed below, passed the House unanimously. I will continue to work to push this bipartisan legislation through the Senate so we can better support our veterans and their spouses.
Thank you to everyone who has served our nation so bravely and shared stories and experiences with our community. We are forever grateful for your service.
- LEGISLATIVE ACTION FOR VETERANS
- HEARING FROM VETERANS IN UPSTATE
- HONORING OUR VETERANS ON VETERANS DAY
- ACCESSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
- SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
- CONNECT WITH US
This past week saw three of my bills signed into law, all passing in the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support:
✓ S.660 Prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on their private reproductive health decisions.
✓ S.4207A Increases incentives for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers.
✓ S.2611 Grants amnesty to the Roscoe Central School District from overly punitive building aid penalties.
See below for more details!
The ‘Boss Bill’ Becomes Law
Last session, I proudly sponsored the ‘Boss Bill,’ which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their reproductive health decisions. No one should have to fear that they will lose their job or be demoted because of their private choices.
Supporting our First Responders
You may remember back in June that I told you about a bill that I introduced which would nearly double the maximum amount that a municipality can pay into a retirement fund (known as a Length of Service Awards Program or LOSAP) for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers. The current cap is $700 and the new law gives municipalities the ability to raise it to $1,200 per year. Offering higher incentives will help with recruiting and retaining these brave volunteers who fulfill such a vital role in keeping our communities safe.
Protecting the Roscoe CSD from Building Aid Penalties
From the day I took office, I have been working to get amnesty for the Roscoe and Monticello Central School Districts from the steep and overly punitive building aid penalties imposed on both districts due to the late filing of capital cost reports. I am thrilled to report that my Roscoe bill was signed into law, forgiving a building aid penalty of $1.1 million, and I will continue to fight to bring this same relief to the Monticello Central School District, which faces a similar penalty.
I encourage you to contact my office at (845) 344-3311 or email@example.com should you have any questions about the new laws mentioned.
Senator Jen Metzger, 42nd District
Let's keep in touch. Visit my Senate website to share your thoughts on legislation and issues facing our district. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram for regular updates on legislation, upcoming events, and to see what I get up to in my travels across the district.
817 Legislative Office Bldg
Albany, NY 12247
201 Dolson Ave, Suite F
Middletown, NY 10940
59 N. Main St
Liberty, NY 12754
It’s been a busy few weeks working on upstate priorities in Washington, D.C. and at home in NY-19.
Hearing from people in our region shapes the work that I do in Congress: from addressing the lack of investment in rural communities, to making college more affordable, to holding my 27th town hall. Here are a few highlights:
- LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
- SUPPORTING OUR COMMUNITY AND HONORING OUR LEADERS
- ACCESSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
- CONNECT WITH US
It’s been a busy few weeks both in the district and in Washington. In addition to introducing several bills, I convened discussions on the issues important to our region, including strengthening our rural infrastructure and combating the opioid epidemic plaguing upstate communities. I also held my 24th, 25th and 26th town halls.
Investing in rural infrastructure is investing in our communities. Small businesses, families, schools, and health care providers across upstate suffer daily from a lack of access to broadband. That’s why I brought FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks to Hudson to hear directly from folks about the issues they face getting connected and how the federal government can support local efforts to expand broadband access. Following our conversations, I introduced legislation to address two of the biggest challenges we face: 1) inaccurate broadband maps; and 2) inadequate internet speeds. Investing in rural infrastructure and ensuring connectivity for upstate communities will continue to be a priority as long as I represent you in Congress.
The opioid crisis is deeply prevalent in upstate New York—the 11 counties in our district are home to some of the highest overdose rates in the state. In Dutchess County alone, my home county, overdose deaths have increased by 83 percent since 2016. I have discussed this crisis at length with my Health Care Advisory Committee. Recently, I held a panel bringing together first responders, medical professionals, non-profits, and those in recovery from across the district to discuss the different ways to meet the challenge of this crisis.
I also visited with hospitals and substance abuse treatment centers as well as with veterans living with chronic pain who rely on pain medication and opioids from injuries sustained while serving our country. My discussion with veterans was an important one that highlights the complexities of addressing this crisis: there are millions of Americans living with chronic pain, and we can’t abandon them in our fight to correct the fall out from the pharmaceutical industry pushing the over-prescription of these highly additive substances in cases where they weren’t warranted. All of these visits and conversations inform my work to address this crisis at the federal level while supporting the work happening on the ground.
I hope to see you all at a town hall or at an event during the in-district work period soon! My staff also holds mobile office hours each week to bring resources from my office closer to you. You can find more details by clicking here.
I am looking forward to continuing to tackle the issues impacting our communities. Thank you all for joining me in this process and I hope to see you at a town hall in your neighborhood soon!
It was a busy and exciting August—including the enactment of my first bill, the Family Farmer Relief Act, holding seven town halls throughout the district, international travel, meeting with organizations doing important work across the region, and working on legislation critical to NY-19. I always enjoy connecting with people all across the district, and the opportunity to hear about the needs on the ground.
The last two weeks in the district focused on the priorities of seniors and older Americans, as well as an in-district work week on expanding access to affordable housing. If you’ve attended one of my 23 town halls, you will know that I am deeply focused on addressing inequality and empowering our communities with real economic opportunities from the ground up.
Seniors in Upstate New York continue to confront the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs as well as threats to Social Security and Medicare. I heard from seniors across the district about the need to ensure a safe and secure retirement for future generations. My conversations continue to focus my work in Congress to address the rising costs of prescription drugs and to expand access to affordable health care to everyone. Serving the interests of our seniors includes ensuring that their earned benefits of Social Security and Medicare remain protected and solvent for generations to come.
40 million Americans live in poverty, and one of the most critical ways to lift families out of poverty is to ensure there is affordable housing. During my last in-district work week, I focused on this issue and met with organizations and local officials committed to finding solutions. I also visited with residents of public housing to hear from them about the ways in which more support could be provided. Coming out of those conversations it is clear that far too many members of our community are struggling to find quality, affordable housing. Addressing this need is essential for upward mobility for working families, and economic growth for our communities.
I am looking forward to another active month in the district in September and thank you all for joining me in this process. I hope to see you at a town hall in your neighborhood soon!
For the first time, New York State voters will be provided with nine days of early voting before the November 5, 2019 general election. In April, the State budgeted $10 million dollars in early voting aid to localities to reimburse county Boards of Elections for their cost to implement early voting. With the promise of this funding, county election boards diligently worked in a short time frame to develop a plan to provide maximum early voting opportunities to voters.
Just sixty days before early voting begins, after the counties were required to designate their early voting sites and recruit the necessary poll workers to operate these sites, Governor Cuomo has cut the counties’ access to that funding 80%. Instead of spending time training poll workers and conducting voter outreach around early voting, county boards of elections now have to go back to the drawing board to design a new early voting plan with far fewer resources. This unilateral decision by the Governor Cuomo will have a chilling effect on voters who wish to vote early--they will now have longer distances to travel and longer lines.
I urge the Governor to reconsider this decision and to fully fund the $10 million aid to localities for early voting. Early voting is just one of the dozens of election reforms enacted this year. New York’s election administrators need consistent, dependable funding to implement these groundbreaking election reforms.