I hope you and your family are safe, healthy and enjoying your summer! As we head into August, I wanted to share with you what I have accomplished recently to improve our community. With the recent heat waves that we have been facing, I sponsored a bill authorizing the New York State Energy and Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to draft a report on establishing a new renewable energy laboratory. I also co-sponsored several bills to help reduce our carbon footprint, protect our community against natural disasters and bolster our workforce and economy. Finally, I’m hosting an upcoming event on Home Safety and Fall Prevention in Colonie to help keep our vulnerable residents safe. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any community issue, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 518-377-0902 or SteckP@nyassembly.gov.
Assemblymember Phil Steck
New York State has long been committed to expanding and advancing renewable energy projects strengthening energy efficiency standards to reduce greenhouse gases and dependency on out-of-state fossil fuels, promote public health and create new jobs. I sponsored a bill authorizing the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to prepare a report on the feasibility, costs, and benefits of establishing a renewable energy laboratory (Ch. 396 of 2022). The report will examine partnerships with businesses and educational institutions, promote economic development and manufacturing, and consider how a laboratory will increase diversity in the industry. Furthermore, this bill will help us achieve the ambitious goals set forth by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019.
Currently, New York State law limits non-licensed design professional ownership in a design firm to less than 25% of the firm’s outstanding shares. Most states are far less restrictive and allow for a higher percentage of ownership of design firms by employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and individuals. These expanded ownership provisions have led to the creation of more than one hundred Design Professional Corporations (DPC). To that end, I co-sponsored a bill to expand ownership of DPCs by ESOPs and non-licensed professionals while still maintaining 75% control of DPCs by licensed design professionals (Ch. 439 of 2022). Increasing the allowable ownership by ESOPs will bring New York in line with practices in other states and allow design firms to be more competitive in attracting and retaining talented professionals.
The Upstate Flood Mitigation Task Force has yet to meet since its inception in 2017, meaning the last study conducted on this issue was completed by the Army Corp of Engineers in 1999. It’s critical that we evaluate potential solutions in areas that have recently experienced floods. I co-sponsored legislation that ensures the Upstate Flood Mitigation Task Force can begin work on evaluating these solutions (Ch. 370 of 2022). In addition, this law also requires the task force to produce their initial report, which has been not published yet, by July 1, 2023. This will ensure that the task force meets its goals of strengthening flood management and mitigation across areas impacted by the Erie Canal.
Home Safety and Fall Prevention event
On August 22, I will be hosting a Home Safety and Fall Prevention Luncheon at noon at the Lakeview Dining Room at Colonie Senior Services Center. Colonie EMS responds to more fall-related calls than anything else. Please join me for lunch and hear from Colonie EMS Outreach Coordinator David Plouff about how you can stay safe at home and avoid falls. I will also be available to discuss any issues that are important to you and the community. Together, we’ll learn about how you can prevent falls and other injuries to you and your loved ones at home.
Tips and Important Information
988 is the new three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) and is now available nationwide. The hotline is a direct connection to licensed mental health professionals for anyone experiencing suicidal ideation, a substance abuse crisis and other severe emotional distress. This free service is available to everyone and can be contacted via chat, text, or phone. Call or text 988 to be connected to a trained crisis counselor, as well as access support in Spanish by pressing 2 and access interpretation services available in over 150 languages. To access 988 via chat, please visit 988lifeline.org.
The Assembly Majority recently passed The Diaper Initiative Affordability for Parents and Elderly Remedy (DIAPER) Act eliminating the sales tax on child and adult diapers (Ch. 386 of 2022). Diapers are an essential need that no baby should ever have to go without, and this law ensures they will be more affordable to hardworking families. Further, since most childcare providers require parents to provide disposable diapers for their kids, removing taxes on diapers will ease the burden on families looking to utilize these services.
Cooling Centers can help vulnerable residents or anyone without access to air conditioning stay safe and healthy during the hottest months of the year. To find a cooling center near you, please visit apps.health.ny.gov/statistics/environmental/public_health_tracking/tracker/#/CCMap.
Beginning on May 3, 2023, the federal government will begin enforcing the REAL ID law. The law requires your driver license, permit or ID card to be REAL ID compliant if you wish to use it as identification when boarding flights within the U.S. or entering military bases and certain federal buildings. Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued drivers licenses, permits and ID cards. The Act also prohibits federal agencies, like the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), from accepting cards for official purposes from states that do not meet these standards. You can obtain a REAL ID at any time, but you will need to go to a DMV Office with proof of identity, Social Security Number, date of birth, U.S. residence status and two different proofs of New York State residence. There is no additional cost to get a REAL ID beyond administrative fees. For more information, visit dmv.ny.gov/driver-license/federal-real-id.