The state legislative session recently ended for the year. There were many good measures that passed, but many more, however, that did not come to floor for a vote.
Here are a few noteworthy items that passed that I was pleased about. This list is not comprehensive, but I wanted to share with you some highlights.
- We repealed the annual notice requirement required by the Wage Theft Prevention Act. My colleagues and I have been pushing for this repeal for the past four years to make doing business more affordable in New York. At the same time, we added protections for employees to get them their wages due.
- Lifted restrictions for brewers, farm brewers, micro-distillers, wineries, and farm wineries.
- Enacted $3 billion in tax cuts over three years, including a real property and corporate franchise tax cut for manufacturers. We also accelerated the phase-out of 18-A (energy-assessment surcharges).
- Provided public retirement service credit for military service rendered during times of peace and hostilities. We also improved educational opportunities for children of military personnel and of veterans.
- Delayed Common Core test results from counting against teachers and students.
- Increased penalties for texting and cell-phone violations while driving.
- Established the Beginning Farmers New York Fund for new farmers to improve operations.
- Provided additional state aid to public schools, increased funding for the tuition assistance program (TAP) for higher education, and increased library aid.
While this is a good list of accomplishments, there is still more to do.
- While we passed measures that assist farms, we need to help all small businesses to prosper and reduce the cost of doing business in New York.
- We need to cut spending and pass meaningful mandate relief.
- We failed to adopt penalties for how public-assistance recipients use electronic benefits cards (EBTs). We passed a measure in the budget that places penalties on the establishment for selling alcohol, tobacco, and lottery tickets to EBT card recipients, but we did not put any penalties in place for those who attempt to pay for such items with EBT cards.
- We also did not pass meaningful ethics reform, such as stripping public officials of their pensions if they are convicted of a crime.
William (Will) A. Barclay is the Republican representative of the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses most of Oswego County, including the cities of Oswego and Fulton, as well as the town of Lysander in Onondaga County and town of Ellisburg in Jefferson County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (315) 598-5185.