COVID-19 and Legislative Update — Wednesday, April 29, 2020

I hope you and your family are continuing to stay healthy and safe during this time.

Last week, twenty-four of my Assembly colleagues signed onto my letter urging New York’s Congressional Delegation to prioritize a 21st Century, New Deal-style Works Progress Administration (WPA) to address the high levels of unemployment and economic challenges we now face as a result of COVID-19.

I was also joined by Assemblymember John McDonald in hosting a virtual town hall to discuss COVID-19’s impact on state and local nonprofits this week where a host of 518 organizations spoke to the challenges they face in our economy

Moreover, the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day last week is a good reminder that despite the current challenges — climate change remains the transcendent threat of our time.

Additionally, please find the most recent updates and condensed COVID-19 Capital Region information and resources below!

Most Recent NY-ON-PAUSE/COVID-19 Updates:

Legislative News and Events:

Career Transitioning and Job Search During COVID-19 Forum This Thursday, April 30th. Join me and Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, from 9:45a — 10:45a on Thursday, April 30th, 2020, for a virtual town hall on adjusting your career transition or job search amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Hear from Noah Simon, UAlbany Director of Career and Professional Development, Elizabeth Miller, Executive Director, Capital District Women’s Employment & Resource Center, Jason Benitez Vice President, Talent and Inclusion, Capital Region Chamber for Commerce and Brian Williams, Commissioner, Rensselaer County One Stop Career Center. With major changes you may be facing as a jobseeker in the current market, hear from professionals and learn tips on researching available opportunities, networking, and positioning yourself for success from local job search experts.

Re-Cap: Nonprofits Virtual Town Hall. This past week, we held yet another one of our virtual town halls: NYS Nonprofits: COVID-19’s Impact and the Path Forward, to discuss the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the Capital Region’s nonprofit agencies/organizations and the path forward in a rapidly changing economy. With well over 100+ attendees, if you missed the town hall — please follow the link in this section to view a full recording of it. Participating in the discussion was a host of 518 nonprofits including; Diane Cameron from the Unity House of Troy, Janine Robitaille from the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, Jeannine Garab from the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York, Natasha Pernicka from the The Food Pantries for the Capital District, and Bill Piskutz from the Palace Theatre.

Two Dozen Assemblymembers Join in Sending New WPA Letter. On Friday, I was joined by twenty-four of my Assembly colleagues from around New York State in sending a letter urging our statewide congressional delegation to make creating a modern-day, New Deal-style Works Progress Administration (WPA) jobs program, a priority in any future economic recovery. We need a smart — yet massive — federal investment in the American and NY workforce if we’re to address skyrocketing unemployment numbers and economic challenges not seen since the Great Depression. Creating a new, WPA-style jobs program, as part of our national recovery strategy, would reinvigorate and restart the U.S. economy for years to come. #NewWPA

Read the full letter here:

Earth Day 2020–50th Anniversary. On the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day this year, as we celebrate the international cause to conserve our planet’s natural resources, sustain our environment, and combat climate change — we also recognize New York’s progress as we strive to meet the nation’s most ambitious climate action goals laid out under the historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. I’m proud of the steps we’ve taken here in #NYS over the last two years — but with more work to do, we need to continue working to ensure that #NYLeads in the fight to preserve our environment and fight the effects of climate change. For helpful tips and a how-to guide for how to transition to a ‘zero-waste’ lifestyle, visit ZWCD’s 101 page.

Clean & Healthy NY Interview — What Does Earth Day Mean to You? Thank you to Clean and Healthy New York for having me on to discuss what Earth Day means on its 50th anniversary, and what we’re doing in New York and the progress we’ve made in preserving and protecting our environment for generations to come. 🌎

Compassionate Volunteer Program Letter Sent by NY Legislators. I joined several of my Assembly colleagues in signing onto a letter urging the creation of a ‘compassionate volunteer’ program that would allow selected volunteers to remain with loved ones stricken with COVID-19 at the family’s request to provide mental support, company, and otherwise. I spoke to CBS 6 about why this is so critical during this stressful time for families and why I was so quick to lend my support.

U.S. Senate Passes 4th COVID19 Stimulus Bill. The United States Senate passed what is now the fourth stimulus bill related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will provide needed funds to the critical Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses. Unfortunately, major federal aid to state and local governments was left off the table at a time when states and local gov’ts — especially here in New York where we’re the hardest hit — need a lifeline in the face of revenue shortfalls.

USDA Increases SNAP Monthly Payments. Encouraging news this week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week announcing an increase in monthly SNAP benefits through an additional emergency allotment that will bring some needed relief to thousands of working families struggling to put food on the table.

NYSDOL Unemployment Insurance Update. The New York State Department of Labor has launched an updated application for New Yorkers to apply for traditional Unemployment Insurance (UI) or the new #COVID19 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Workers are now able to input their information to see if they should apply for either UI or PUA or both — and can do it in one go.

NYS Comptroller Launches Financial Resources Toolkit. The New York State Comptroller’s Office has released a COVID-19 financial resources toolkit for families and individuals navigating this challenging time when it comes to financial wellbeing.

Community Updates:

Ramadan Mubarak. Wishing the entire Muslim community in the Capital Region a blessed Ramadan that will hopefully bring you the courage and strength to overcome any challenges or obstacles in your life. Ramadan Mubarak!

Local Preschooler Nails ‘Scrubs’ and Goes Viral. Read this piece from the Times Union on a local preschool singing sensation! Go Lulu!

U.S. Census Launches COVID-19 Resource List. The United States Census has put together a detailed analysis and interactive map of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States to help keep you informed about what’s going on in your community.

National Library Week and #NYLibraryWeek. Last week was #NationalLibraryWeek and #NYLibraryWeek! Especially now, we recognize the unique role that our public libraries play in our communities, providing vital resources, access to critical services, and a safe space for all. Let’s continue to support our 109th libraries: Altamont Free Library, Albany NY Library, Bethlehem Public Library, Guilderland Public Library, and Voorheesville Public Library!

Guilderland and Washington Park Farmer’s Markets Go Virtual. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects here in the Capital Region, the Guilderland and Washington Park Farmer’s Markets have decided to go virtual for their seasonal openings. Click on the link in the beginning for more information!

40th Old Songs Festival in Altamont and Voorheesville Suspended. In light of the serious and deadly public health concerns surrounding the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic sweeping the nation and globe, the Board of Directors of Old Songs, Inc. decided this week to postpone the 40th Old Songs Festival to June 25–27, 2021.

Schuyler Center COVID-19 Resource Guide. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about families’ health and mental health, social isolation, economic insecurity, child welfare, child development, and parenting needs, the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy has compiled a body of informative links, phone numbers, and text numbers to connect families to resources that may be helpful during this stressful and challenging time.

REMEMBER: Should you have any questions during this time please do not hesitate to utilize my office as a resource at (518) 455–4178 or



Member of NYS Assembly - 109th AD, representing Albany, Bethlehem, Guilderland, and New Scotland. Follows, replies ≠ endorsement.