Albany, NY – On Wednesday, June 21st, 2023, Assemblymember Grace Lee completed her first legislative session in the New York State Assembly, marking the end of a successful six months that saw the passage of a number of bills to tackle issues important to Lower Manhattan. In particular, Assemblymember Lee played a key role in passing legislation to address housing, support for the Asian American community, environmental conservation, and public safety.
“I was elected to fight for the wellbeing of my Lower Manhattan community, and I am really proud of our achievements during my first session in the Assembly,” said Assemblymember Grace Lee. “NYCHA residents who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic will see their rent arrears erased. Schoolchildren across New York State will have the day off for Lunar New Year to celebrate with family and friends. New York is finally taking the proactive steps necessary to avoid climate disaster. Now, I look forward to being back in the district to hear feedback and concerns from my constituents and begin preparations for next year’s session. As always, I remain committed to building a safer, healthier, and stronger city for Lower Manhattan residents.”
In this year’s state budget, Assemblymember Lee led the effort to bring $391 million to New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), paying for the rental arrears of public and subsidized housing residents that were previously excluded from the program. This funding will provide direct relief to thousands of families in New York, including thousands of public housing residents in Assemblymember Lee’s district. This funding was the most significant piece of housing legislation passed during this year’s session, and it showcases Assemblymember Lee’s commitment to building secure, equitable, and affordable housing in New York.
Supporting Asian American Communities
As the first Korean-American woman elected to the New York State Assembly and the Co-Chair of the Assembly’s Asian Pacific American Task Force, Assemblymember Lee fought throughout this year’s session to address the challenges faced by New York’s rapidly growing Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, including the severe rise in anti-Asian hate and violence that began during the pandemic.
In this year’s budget, Assemblymember Lee secured $30 million in funding for AAPI organizations - an unprecedented investment in New York’s AAPI community. This money will be used to support over 100 AAPI-serving nonprofits and will provide culturally-competent, language-accessible services to AAPI communities across the state.
Assemblymember Lee also passed historic, first-in-the-nation legislation to make Lunar New Year a statewide school holiday in New York (A7768), bringing recognition to the most important annual holiday in Asian culture and to the millions of New Yorkers who celebrate it each year. In addition, Assemblymember Lee was proud to support the bill to make Diwali a New York City public school holiday for the hundreds of thousands of Asian New Yorkers and their families who celebrate it (A7769).
Assemblymember Lee also co-sponsored and passed a bill (A3301A) to establish an AAPI Commission in New York State that will develop policies and coordinate programs to improve the overall wellbeing and representation of New York’s AAPI community.
To fight against anti-Asian prejudice, Assemblymember Lee introduced legislation with Senator John Liu to bring Asian American history to public school curriculums in New York State (A6579).
Assemblymember Lee remembers well the devastating impact Superstorm Sandy had on the Lower Manhattan community. This session, Assemblymember Lee fought to protect New Yorkers from the existential threat posed by climate change by co-sponsoring legislation to accelerate New York’s transition to a green economy. This included the Build Public Renewables Act to enable the creation of new renewable power infrastructure in New York and make the state’s power supply completely renewable by 2030, as well as the “All-Electric Buildings” Act to make all newly erected buildings 100% electric starting in 2025.
Assemblymember Lee also sponsored and passed a bill that extends the authority of the Department of Environmental Conservation to manage the overfished Atlantic Cod population (A7438).
Assemblymember Lee worked to keep New Yorkers safe by sponsoring and passing a bill (A6798) to prohibit the sale of sodium nitrite to minors, a chemical preservative increasingly used by minors for self-harm and suicide.
Assemblymember Lee also passed legislation to extend New York’s Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking for another four years to ensure it can continue its work to prevent human trafficking and help survivors (A7360).
Finally, Assemblymember Lee and Senator Brad Hoylman sponsored legislation to prevent hate from spreading online by requiring social media companies to issue public reports about how they moderate harmful content on their platforms (A6789).