GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL’S FIRST 45 DAYS
TO: INTERESTED PARTIES
FROM: OFFICE OF GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL
DATE: OCTOBER 7
RE: GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL’S FIRST 45 DAYS
As the completion of her first 45-day mark approaches, Governor Kathy Hochul has hit the ground running to deliver immediate results and make government work for all New Yorkers.
When Governor Hochul took office, she faced a number of uniquely pressing issues and impending deadlines including the rise of the Delta variant, back-to-back hurricanes, and the health care worker vaccination mandate – on top of the critical responsibilities involved in setting up a new Administration. Vowing to eliminate distractions in Albany, Hochul put progress over politics and immediately got to work solving problems.
Governor Hochul has focused her early efforts on combating COVID-19 through increased vaccine and mask requirements, getting pandemic aid out the door more quickly to struggling renters, landlords and immigrants, and taking bold, decisive action on the state’s other highest priority issues, like the crisis at Rikers Island and the expiration of the rental moratorium.
This is all while Governor Hochul has set a new tone in Albany and across the state. She has built a new, diverse, and experienced leadership team who will meet the highest ethical standards. Hochul immediately brought more transparency to Albany by releasing accurate nursing home death data, requiring state agencies to submit their plans to increase transparency, and is currently overhauling her Administration’s ethics rules. And she has shown that collaboration is not a dirty word, and that teamwork across New York State can – and will – get the job done for New Yorkers.
There is still more work ahead. But in her first 45 days, Governor Kathy Hochul has been fierce, dedicated, and decisive in moving New York forward.
COMBATING COVID-19: Governor Hochul is laser-focused on fighting COVID-19 and taking smart, science-based steps to slow the spread of the Delta variant, get New Yorkers back to work and keep kids in school:
Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers:
Held firm on nation-leading health care worker vaccine mandate to boost vaccination rates and keep New Yorkers safe:
- “New York’s Hochul Proves Vaccine Mandates Work” – Bloomberg
- “Gov. Kathy Hochul is right to want health care workers to be vaccinated. With all the other mandates and protocols in hospitals to prevent infection, it is absurd to think that any health care worker, or their unions, would argue for the right to risk patient health by not being vaccinated. No one should have to worry about coming out of a hospital sicker than when they went in.” – Times-Union editorial
Released a comprehensive plan to tackle staffing shortages:
- “On Monday night, Ms. Hochul signed an executive order making it easier for licensed health care workers from other states and countries to work in New York in the event of any staffing shortages Good for Governor Hochul.”– Mara Gay, NY Times
- “We are grateful to Governor Hochul for her leadership and for her bold and strategic plan to support nurses, patients, and ensuring the best possible care” – Pat Kane, RN, Executive Director of New York State Nurses Association
Day 1 vs. Day 45 COVID/Vaccine Data
- Statewide positivity rate as of Oct. 7: 2.23% (On August 24: 3.6%)
- Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) as of Oct. 7: 84.9% (On August 24: 78.7%)
- More than 2.2 million total vaccines administered since swearing-in
Mask Mandate for Schools & VaxToSchool Program:
- Implemented a mask requirement in schools to help get our kids, teachers and students back to school safely. (“With her mandate, Hochul took a stand not only for the health of the state’s children, but for the ability of schools to provide a full year of in-person education. It was an essential requirement, at least as the school year begins.” – Buffalo News editorial)
- Announced $65M in funding and other measures to ensure the wide availability of COVID-19 booster shots for older and vulnerable New Yorkers. (“We have seen some positive steps being taken already. Gov. Kathy Hochul has cleared the way for EMTs to administer shots” Auburn Citizen editorial)
- Announced a series of additional universal mask requirementsdesigned to protect New Yorkers against the highly contagious Delta variant and the recent surge in COVID-19 infections statewide.
- Responding to low vaccination rates among 12-17 year old New Yorkers, launched a comprehensive campaign to launch 120 pop-up sites to encourage young New Yorkers to get vaccinated. (“School-aged kids, adults take their shot at ‘VaxtoSchool’ pop-up vaccination site” – Newsday)
PANDEMIC RELIEF TO NEW YORK RENTERS, LANDLORDS, IMMIGRANTS: Governor Hochul has accelerated getting pandemic relief money out the door to New Yorkers.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program
- Nearly quadrupled the amount of rent relief money out the door since August 24: Oct. 7: More than $800 million out the door by the end of this week (On Aug. 24: $203 million)
- New York State is ranked first nationally in payments made or obligated, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (“New York Went From Worst to Best At Handing Out Rent Relief”– Curbed)
Excluded Workers Fund
- More than $1 billion has been distributed through the Excluded Workers Fund, the first large-scale program of its kind in the nation, to more than 73,000 immigrant New Yorkers who were not eligible for state and federal unemployment insurance benefits – many of whom were essential workers.
- By the end of October, the Hochul Administration will have fully distributed the $2.1 billion authorized by the Legislature.
New Eviction Moratorium
- Recognizing that many New Yorkers are still struggling from the economic impact of the pandemic, Governor Hochul convened an Extraordinary Session and worked with the Legislature to pass a new eviction moratorium until January 15, 2022. (“Hochul’s first big win is a new eviction moratorium” – Curbed)
RESETTING THE TONE IN ALBANY: Governor Hochul is ushering in a new era of transparency, enforcing high ethical standards in her Administration, and pushing for real, bold ethics reforms to restore trust in government.
- Announced a “Government Transparency Initiative” and required all New York State agency heads to submit plans on how they will improve transparency by October 20. (“In New York, open government laws have often been perverted into ways to keep secrets. Gov. Kathy Hochul took office in August vowing to make transparency a hallmark of her administration. This week she started turning words into action.” – Buffalo News editorial)
- On Day One, began releasing an additional set of nursing home fatality data in daily COVID-19 updates that had not been previously disclosed by the prior administration. (“Gov. Kathy Hochul took a positive first step Tuesday in fulfilling her pledge to make her administration more transparent by releasing updated figures on the number of covid-related deaths in New York.” – Daily Gazette editorial)
Pushing for Real, Bold Ethics Reforms
- Appointed new commissionersto serve on the Joint Committee on Public Ethics (JCOPE)
- Vowed to turn JCOPE “upside down” and announcedthat her Administration has started the process of working with good government groups, legislators, and the public to put forward real, bold reforms.
TACKLING PRESSING ISSUES: Governor Hochul is taking critical steps to address other uniquely pressing issues the state faces.
Confronting the Crisis at Rikers Island
- Signed “Less is More Act” into law, which brings New York’s parole system into the 21st century and leads the country on humane criminal justice reform. The legislation modifies the standard of evidence and certain other procedures when determining whether to revoke the community supervision of a person on parole.
- Enacted specific provisions ahead of timeline set by Legislators to release 212 incarcerated individuals so far that are eligible under parole reforms.
“Less is More is law: Gov. Hochul signs an important criminal justice reform bill” – New York Daily News
“Gov. Hochul signs sweeping criminal justice reform bill ‘Less is More’ – News12
Tina Luongo, Attorney-In-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society said, “The Legal Aid Society lauds Governor Kathy Hochul and the Legislature for enacting this critical bill into law which will literally save lives.”
The Reverend Peter Cook, Executive Director, New York State Council of Churches, said, “The New York State Council of Churches thanks Governor Kathy Hochul for signing the Less is More bill into law. For far too long, so many previously incarcerated New Yorkers have needlessly been threatened with reincarceration if they miss a curfew or appointment while on parole.”
JoAnne Page, President & CEO of the Fortune Society said, “We applaud Governor Hochul for signing this bill in to law. It will, literally, save lives.”
- Signed an executive orderto expand remote court hearings to expedite proceedings and allow corrections staff to be reallocated from the transportation of detainees to housing supervision and safety at Rikers Island.
- Reached agreement with the NYC Department of Corrections to allow for incarcerated individuals who have been sentenced to at least ninety days to be transferredfrom Rikers Island to New York State facilities.
Committed New York to be a Global Leader in the Fight against Climate Change
- Announced major green energy initiatives to combat climate change and create good paying jobs:
- Two major transmission infrastructure projectsto bring Upstate and Canadian renewable energy to New York City.
- Doubledgoal to install at least 10 gigawatts of distributed solar in New York State by 2030.
- A first-of-its-kindeffort to monitor air quality in frontline environmental justice communities.
- Announced $600 million in grants available for water infrastructure and resiliency projects statewide
- Proposed a $1 billion increase to the newly renamed “Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act“
- Announces $59 Million “Clean Green Schools” initiativeto improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions in Pre-K-12 schools
- President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe said, “Just in time for Climate Week NYC, we’re excited to see Governor Kathy Hochul prioritizing the environment and announcing additional investments that will create a clean and healthy New York…”
- Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director, UPROSE, said, “For generations, black, brown, and low-income communities have been the reluctant hosts of polluting infrastructure and toxic emissions from fossil fuel plants, highways, solid waste, and diesel trucks to name a few- creating a legacy of historic health disparities. We are encouraged to hear that the years of frontline community leadership that passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019 has now been realized in the State’s announcement today…”
- Rahwa Ghirmatzion, PUSH Buffalo executive director and member of the Climate Justice Working Group, said, “I am excited about Governor Kathy Hochul’s commitment to addressing the climate crisis through the swift implementation of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Today’s news to expand air quality monitoring to the neighborhood level and directly working with local community based organizations is what environmental justice leaders have advocated for years.”
- Peggy Shepard, executive director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice, said, “Studies show that the effect of air pollution on the health of New Yorkers who live in communities disproportionately impacted by pollution can be devastating. This air monitoring initiative will be crucial to providing the hyperlocal data necessary to reduce greenhouse gases and the co-pollutants that contribute to health disparities in impacted communities. This is great news from the Governor.”
- “This exciting new commitment to local solar in New York, combined with New York’s planned procurement of grid-scale renewables, demonstrates that the Empire State is serious about climate action and reaching 70% renewable energy by 2030, said Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York.
Swift Response to Help New Yorkers Recover in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
- Immediately deployed New York State resources to hard-hit areas.
- Secured a Major Disaster Declaration from President Bidento put the full force of the White House behind New York’s recovery from Ida.
- Announced a first-in-nation $27 million Ida recovery relief fund for immigrant New Yorkers excluded from FEMA benefits.
- Make the Road Co-Executive Director Theo Oshiro said, “We applaud Governor Hochul for taking the step to provide critical relief for immigrants excluded from federal disaster assistance. Through this fund, neighbors and loved ones in dire need of relief will be able to begin repairing their homes and move forward with their lives.”
- Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. President and CEO Wayne Ho said, “The Chinese-American Planning Council is proud to partner with New York State to provide emergency relief to undocumented immigrants affected by Hurricane Ida. Many undocumented individuals and families do not qualify for FEMA assistance. We are glad this new resource will be made available to help them get back on their feet during this difficult time.”
- MinKwon Center for Community Action Executive Director John Park said, “The MinKwon Center for Community Action is proud to partner on this meaningful initiative to connect resources to undocumented immigrants impacted by hurricane Ida. Many undocumented immigrants in New York, often over-represented in rented basement dwellings, experienced substantial losses when the sewage and drainage systems were overrun by flashflood waters caused by Ida. With federal policy barring undocumented households including DREAMers from receiving direct FEMA disaster relief funds, we are thankful for Governor Hochul and Mayor de Blasio’s announcement of this needed resource and showing that our neighbors, regardless of immigration status, should not be cruelly denied storm disaster or pandemic relief aid, but treated as the valuable human beings we all are.”
Getting New York’s Cannabis Industry Up and Running
- Appointed Reuben R. McDaniel, III and Jessica Garciato the Board of Office of Cannabis Management.
- Nominated and secured confirmation of former Assemblymember Tremaine Wrightas Chair of New York’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB), and Christopher Alexander, a longtime advocate and author of New York State’s cannabis legalization laws, as Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM).
- “Accomplishing in a few weeks what it was taking months for Andrew Cuomo to get around to, Gov. Hochul filled openings atop the state’s new legal-marijuana bureaucracy.” – New York Daily News editorial
Affirming Abortion Rights in the Face of Anti-Abortion Wave
- In response to anti-abortion laws in Texas and across the country, announced agendato cement New York State as a safe harbor for those seeking abortion care.
- Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union said, “In the face of Texas’ blatantly unconstitutional attacks on abortion access, we applaud Governor Hochul’s decisive action in partnering with experts and stakeholders to ensure New York is a haven state for all who need abortion care. We will not let Texas, or any other state that tries to follow suit, turn back the clock.”
- Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund said, “We applaud Governor Hochul for taking bold action to ensure that New York State is doing all it can to ensure access to all New Yorkers and all those who travel here for care. We invite governors and legislators in states across the country to follow her lead.”
Standing Up to Hate Crimes
- To fight back against the recent rise in hate crimes,announced nearly $25 million available to strengthen security at nonprofit organizations.
Addressing Historic Subway Power Outage
- In aftermath of historic widespread subway power outage,directed MTA to investigate the cause and released the findings in a public, transparent way.
Building a talented, experienced and diverse team to move New York forward, including:
- Brian Benjamin, Lieutenant Governor, first Afro-Caribbean
- Karen Persichilli Keogh, Secretary to the Governor
- Elizabeth Fine, Counsel to the Governor
- Kathryn Garcia, Director of State Operations
- Robert Mujica, Director of the Budget
- Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH, Acting Commissioner, Department of Health
- Rory M. Christian, Chair, Public Service Commission, and Chief Executive Officer, Department of Public Service
- Adrienne Harris, Acting Superintendent, Department of Financial Services
- Neysa Alsina, Special Advisor on Pandemic Relief
- Amit Singh Bagga, Deputy Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs
- Melissa Bochenski, Deputy Chief of Staff
- Sinéad Doherty, Deputy Secretary for Executive Operations
- Chatodd Floyd, Deputy Secretary for Legislative Affairs and Policy
- Robin Chappelle Golston, Executive Deputy Secretary
- Julissa Gutierrez, Chief Diversity Officer
- Jeff Lewis, Chief of Staff
- Stacy Lynch, Chief of Staff to Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin
- Marty Mack, Appointments Secretary
- Shirley Paul, Senior Advisor and Director of Constituency Affairs
- Padma Seemangal, Deputy Secretary for Policy Operations
- Linda Sun, Deputy Chief of Staff
- Julie Wood, Communications Director
By the Numbers since August 24
- 72 public events
- 42 press availabilities
- 15 counties visited
Boosting Workplace Safety and Putting More Money in Workers’ Pockets
- Announced designation of COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease under New York State’s HERO Act.
Mario Cilento, President, New York State AFL-CIO, said,”I thank Governor Hochul for taking decisive action, particularly on Labor Day, to ensure the critically important NY HERO Act is applied as intended, to protect workers from COVID-19 and future communicable disease events. From day one, Governor Hochul promised to work collaboratively with the Legislature and Labor to deliver for working people, and this action fulfills that promise.”
- Signed four pieces of legislationto help boost workplace safety and put more money in the pockets of working New Yorkers:
Establish a demonstration program to implement speed violation monitoring systems in work zones
Make construction contractors liable for the wages owed to their subcontractors
Require the payment of prevailing wage to building service employees at high-end co-ops and condos
Extend Shared Work Benefits
Gary LaBarbera, President of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council, said, “We thank Governor Hochul for signing this critical legislation into law, which will provide New York’s construction workers with a new remedy to fight back against wage theft violations that deprive hardworking men and women of their dignity and livelihoods
SEIU Local 32BJ President Kyle Bragg said, “On this Labor Day, 32BJ commends Governor Kathy Hochul for signing legislation to lift up New York’s workers with better wages & benefits and strengthened protections. More than 2,000 building service workers who risked their lives to keep New Yorkers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic will finally start earning wages that can sustain their families…”
New York City District Council of Carpenters Executive Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Geiger said, “For years, exploited workers have been ripped off by greedy contractors with nowhere to turn. This legislation will ensure every construction worker in New York isprotected from wage theft. It is especially fitting that it will be signed into law by Governor Hochul who has been a steadfast ally of labor and workers everywhere…”
Where We’re Going
Over the next 45 days and beyond, New York’s best days are ahead.
Whether it is working to put an end to the pandemic, push for more economic relief, combat the gun violence crisis, or fix our broken criminal justice system, Governor Hochul will continue to bring a fresh, collaborative approach to governing.
There is still more work to do, and Governor Hochul is ready to take bold action to do what is best for New Yorkers.