2021 New York State of the State
On Monday, January 11, 2021, Governor Cuomo issued his 11th State of the State address. In the first of four speeches, the Governor outlined a seven-point plan for 2021 and touched on several key policy items for this year. Most of these topics were discussed generally; we will provide greater detail on items of specific importance as more information becomes available. Some of these items include:
- COVID-19 recovery
- Increased COVID-19 Testing
- Medical Supplies Act
- Comprehensive telemedicine expansion
- Vaccine Distribution
- Social, Economic, and Racial justice
- Creation of a Public Health Corps
- Addressing the $15 Billion State Budget Deficit, drawing on Federal Support
- Expand Broadband Access, and Reduce Costs
- Workforce Retraining
- Most Aggressive Green Infrastructure Program in the Country
- Rent and Mortgage Relief; Housing Protections
- Eliminate Healthcare Premiums for 400,000 New Yorkers
- Election Reforms
- Sports Wagering
- Adult Use Cannabis
Traditionally, Governor Cuomo releases a briefing book, which is a comprehensive outline of his agenda. Once that book is released, we will analyze it and communicate pertinent items to our clients. In the interim, below is a list of the specific proposals that Governor Cuomo has issued so far.
On Monday, January 11, Governor Cuomo issued his 11 th State of the State address, commencing a series of four speeches outlining his 2021 agenda. The Governor’s speech detailed the difficult situation that New York is currently in, from the financial difficulties facing the State, to the public health crisi s, to the economic crises facing New York’s economy. He outlined a seven point plan, focusing on the following:
- Defeat the COVID 19 pandemic through a high performing hospital system.
- Vaccinate the State’s population.
- Address the short term economic crisis, including a $15 billion State budget deficit.
- Plan an economic resurgence by reopening the economy safely and smartly.
- Make New York a leader in the shift to Green Energy.
- Anticipate how COVID will transform society and economy, and capitalize on those changes.
- Address the systemic injustices, inequity, racism, and social abuse.
Bolster Protections for Residential and Commercial Tenants
The Governor will propose legislation codifying and extending the moratorium on COVID-related commercial evictions. Governor Cuomo will also propose legislation to codify protections the state has provided tenants by Executive Order.
Expand Access to Telehealth
Governor Cuomo will propose comprehensive telehealth reform. These proposals would adjust reimbursement incentives to encourage telehealth, eliminate regulatory prohibitions on the delivery of telehealth, remove location requirements, create new training programs, and establish other programs to incentivize innovative uses of telehealth.
The Governor has issued a proposal in which the New York State Gaming Commission will issue an RFP to select and license a sports operator or platform to offer mobile sports wagering in New York. This operator or platform must have a partnership with one of the existing licensed commercial casinos. The Commission will also require any entity operating mobile wagering apps include safeguards against abuses and addiction.
Adult Use Cannabis
Under Governor Cuomo’s proposal, a new Office of Cannabis Management would be created to oversee the new adult-use program, as well as the State’s existing medical and cannabinoid hemp programs. Additionally, an equitable structure for the adult-use market will be created by offering licensing opportunities and assistance to entrepreneurs in communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Once fully implemented, legalization is expected to generate more than $300 million in tax revenue.
New York Nurses to Receive Priority Access to SUNY and CUNY Programs
Governor Cuomo has announced proposed legislation under which licensed nurses and nursing candidates will receive priority admission to all SUNY and CUNY programs across the State beginning in the fall of 2021 to fulfill baccalaureate credentials and continue practicing.
Modernize the Office of Professional Medical Misconduct
Governor Cuomo will introduce legislation to ensure that the Office has adequate tools for the effective investigation and discipline of state-licensed physicians, physician assistants, and specialist assistants. The Governor will also propose new renewal requirements for licensed medical professions to streamline oversight, strengthen disciplinary actions for misconduct, and attempt to bolster transparency for licensed professionals.
Prohibit Utility Disconnections during Emergencies
Governor Cuomo will propose legislation that would create penalties for electric, gas, water, telecommunications, cable, and internet utilities that disconnect customers in regions under a state emergency declaration.
The Governor will propose several voting reforms in New York, including: expanding access to early voting; no-excuse absentee voting for all; additional time to request absentee ballots; and speeding up absentee vote counting.
Combatting Domestic and Gender-Based Violence
Governor Cuomo has announced a package of initiative to address domestic violence and gender-based violence. The agenda will include: a proposal allowing courts to require abusers to pay for damages to the housing unit; moving expenses and other housing costs related to domestic violence; a proposal to require the Office of Court Administration report domestic violence felony statistics to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services monthly; and he Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence will be transformed into a reimagined agency, the Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, and will be tasked with addressing the intersection of the many forms of intimate partner violence, including domestic violence and sexual violence, in a survivor-centered and comprehensive manner.
Connect High Line to the New Moynihan Train Hall
Governor Cuomo has also announced a proposal to extend the High Line in Manhattan to give pedestrians seamless access to the elevated pathway from Moynihan Train Hall. As part of a public-private partnership, Brookfield Property Group will partner with Empire State Development, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Friends of the High Line to build an L-shaped connection from the 10th Avenue terminus of the High Line to Brookfield’s Manhattan West public space.