January 5, 2021
From Governor Kathy Hochul’s State Of The State Address:
GOVERNOR HOCHUL ANNOUNCES NEW INVESTMENT IN NEW YORK’S STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND SCHOOLS
Governor Hochul’s Plan will Incentivize Teaching as a Profession; Create a Robust Pipeline for Future Educators
Plan will Address New York’s Ongoing Teacher Shortage and Dramatically Increase Funding for K-12 Education
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a plan to rebuild New York’s teacher workforce, with an emphasis on recruiting and retaining teachers throughout the state to resolve the ongoing teacher shortage. Governor Hochul’s bold plan includes providing incentives for teachers, accelerating the state certification process, addressing student needs and creating a robust pipeline of future educators to ensure this shortage never again threatens the opportunities for families and children.
“Far more must be done to help New York’s school system overcome the challenges that existed before and were exacerbated by the pandemic,” Governor Hochul said. “We must do more to support students and teachers in our state and encourage a new generation to enter the field of education so that New York never again faces the chronic staffing shortages we are seeing today.”
In October, Governor Hochul announced that New York State will finally deliver on the promise of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and phase-in full funding of Foundation Aid to New York school districts by the 2023-24 school year. This will mean billions in additional support for the districts across the state and an unprecedented opportunity to bolster New York’s education system.
New York, however, is also facing a steep retirement cliff in the coming years -one that has been exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. The state needs approximately 180,000 new teachers over the next decade to meet workforce needs.
To meet this crisis head on, Governor Hochul will take immediate actions to recruit and retain teachers, accelerate the teacher certification process, and dramatically increase funding for K-12 education. This includes:
• Providing incentives to attract more teachers and school workers: As an immediate step to shore up teacher shortages, the $35,000 income limit for certain retirees will be temporarily waived, thereby incentivizing some of the roughly 169,000 retired teachers throughout the state to rejoin the workforce. Retired counselors and school bus drivers will also be incentivized to return to work. Alternative teacher certification programs, such as the New York City Teaching Collaborative, will also be expanded to make it easier and more appealing for professionals in other careers to become teachers. Aspiring teachers will apprentice in high-need school districts while pursuing a master’s degree in their field.
• Accelerating the teacher certification process: The State Education Department (SED) will be provided additional staff for its teacher certification office to reduce review time. Additionally, the Governor will work with the Legislature and the SED to reform the certification process to allow for provisionally approved teachers to work immediately if they meet coursework, fingerprint, and background check requirements, thereby enabling candidates to teach while they wait for SED to complete its lengthy approval process. Provisional approval will also be extended to school counselors, social workers, and other SED-licensed professions with current job market shortages, as well as for retirees with expired licenses in good standing.
• Providing learning and mental health grants: These grants will go to school districts to help address these challenges by providing resources, including more counselors and mental health programs and expanded learning opportunities.
• Connecting student service corps with community groups to meet local needs: The Student Service Corps initiative will utilize the talent and energy of the tens of thousands of SUNY and CUNY students in programs related to childcare, education, counseling, and mental health to work with nonprofits schools and community organizations to help meet local needs for children and communities.
• Creating a state teacher residency program: The Empire State Teacher Residency Program will provide matching funding for local districts to create two-year residency programs for graduate-level teacher candidates. Funded programs will involve SUNY, the City University of New York (CUNY), and/or private colleges partnering with public school districts to provide reduced or free tuition for teaching candidates, including books and fees, mentoring, and a stipend to cover living expenses. The program will prioritize diversity among teacher residents and partnering mentors and will place an emphasis on both high-need subject areas and geographic locations with teacher shortages.
• Funding new cohorts of the master teacher program: These cohorts will be aimed at supporting teachers of color, Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers, and guidance counselors. Special programming will focus on ensuring that all students have information and opportunities about CTE programs and alternative career pathways.
• Upskilling teacher support workers to earn their certifications: This will provide funding for paraprofessionals to gain skills and credentials to become teachers, with a priority on diversity in the workforce. This program will cover two years of part-time tuition, fees, and books at SUNY and CUNY for those awarded paraprofessionals who remain employed in a school district while pursuing a teaching degree, and it will provide support for participants pursuing a teaching degree. School districts will be required to pair candidates with professional mentors.
• Providing schools with billions of dollars by fully funding Foundation Aid: Fully funding Foundation Aid will bring to an end a 29-year battle over adequate funding of public schools -particularly those with higher-need students. This bold decision means all schools will now receive equitable resources.
GOVERNOR HOCHUL ANNOUNCES PLAN TO ACHIEVE 2 MILLION CLIMATE-FRIENDLY HOMES BY 2030
With Buildings Accounting for More than a Third of New York’s Climate Pollution, Governor Launches Unprecedented Commitment to Accelerating Green, Electrified or Electrification-Ready Buildings
Governor Hochul Will Also Propose Legislation To Ensure That All New Building Construction Is Zero-Emissions By 2027
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a plan to achieve 2 million climate-friendly, electrified or electrification-ready homes by 2030 as part of the 2022 State of the State. Governor Hochul also announced proposed legislation to ensure that all new building construction reaches zero-emissions by 2027. This unprecedented commitment to curb building emissions, which cause more than one third of New York’s climate pollution, will also ensure that more than 800,000 low-to-moderate income households can secure clean energy upgrades.
“To make real progress on climate change, it’s time to tackle major sources of pollution head-on, ensure greener housing is available to all New Yorkers, and pave the way toward a more sustainable future,” Governor Hochul said. “This transformative investment in green infrastructure will cement New York’s status at the forefront of climate action and ensure equity in our transition to a cleaner, greener state.”
Governor Hochul’s plan to achieve a minimum of 1 million electrified homes and up to 1 million electrification-ready homes by 2030 is anchored by a robust series of legislative and policy actions. The plan will:
• Require zero on-site greenhouse gas emissions for new construction no later than 2027
• Upgrade New York’s appliance efficiency standards, reducing energy use while saving New Yorkers billions of dollars in utility costs
• Mandate energy benchmarking for large buildings, making it easier to track energy-efficiency improvements over time
• Convene the finance, mortgage and banking industries to help align private capital with this housing sustainability goal
• Provide the training programs necessary to ensure that New York has a skilled workforce to deliver these services
• Introduce legislation to level the playing field for clean energy alternatives and end the obligation to serve customers with natural gas that currently exists in state law, tailored to maintain affordability for New York’s most vulnerable customers
• Direct New York State Energy and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), Department of Public Service (DPS), and Department of State (DOS) to deliver an executable plan to achieve this goal this year, with a funding proposal and strategies to leverage private capital
• Raise the current rate of electrification of approximately 20,000 homes per year more than tenfold by the end of the decade
• Establish a dedicated green electrification fund and electrify low-income homes through HCR’s new $25 billion, five-year housing capital plan, which will advance the state’s goals of creating green affordable housing
As part of this plan, Governor Hochul will also direct DPS to ensure that gas utilities minimize investments in costly new gas infrastructure, promote alternatives to minimize gas demand, and engage members of disadvantaged communities fully and fairly in the gas transition.
Governor Hochul will also put forward a nation-leading legislative proposal for new construction building codes that will:
• Require new construction statewide to have zero on-site greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2027
• Incorporate achievement of New York State’s greenhouse gas reduction objectives in developing the new construction code
• Update building code cost-effectiveness criteria to account for the full lifetime of installed equipment
• Expand the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council to include the President and CEO of NYSERDA and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner
This commitment is part of the Governor’s comprehensive agenda to decarbonize buildings in New York, which also includes bringing green energy solutions to over 1,000 public schools.
GOVERNOR HOCHUL ANNOUNCES ‘JAILS TO JOBS’ — A NEW INITIATIVE TO IMPROVE RE-ENTRY INTO THE WORKFORCE AND REDUCE RECIDIVISM
‘Jails to Jobs’ Will Help Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals With Education and Opportunity
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the ‘Jails to Jobs’ initiative as part of her 2022 State of the State. ‘Jails to Jobs’ aims to improve re-entry into the workforce and reduce recidivism by focusing on connecting previously incarcerated individuals with education, resources and opportunities for job placement.
“There is no justice in a system that continues to unduly punish formerly incarcerated individuals who have served their time and paid their debts to society,” Governor Hochul said. “We know how the proper training, opportunity, or college degree can lift up any New Yorker no matter where you come from, which is why we must harness the power of education to help formerly incarcerated individuals with re-entry, while also ensuring the justice system itself doesn’t stand in the way of someone trying to improve their life.”
Despite New York’s advancements in creating a fairer criminal justice system, many people in state prisons struggle to access educational opportunities. The expansion of higher-education opportunities for incarcerated populations provides clear benefits by reducing recidivism, increasing post-release employment, and saving taxpayer money. Incarcerated people who participate in correctional education programs are 43 percent less likely to reoffend and 13 percent more likely to obtain and retain employment after returning to their community. Taxpayers save roughly $5 for every $1 invested in prison education, and recidivism rates decrease due to this investment.
Governor Hochul’s ‘Jails to Jobs’ plan will help incarcerated and formerly incarcerated New Yorkers attain critical job skills and secure long-term employment, helping reduce recidivism and increase public safety.
This will be completed through:
• Refocusing Parole Officers on Career Planning and Job Placement: To better support employment opportunities for parolees and further reduce recidivism, Governor Hochul will propose that the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DJCS) collaborate to train a network of nearly 100 of the State’s parole officers and re-entry specialists on career planning and job placement. The agencies will also provide evidence-based training and other labor-focused development programs, ensuring that all of New York’s parole and probation professionals are prepared to support each individual’s return to their family and community. By 2023, nearly all of the 700 parole officers in New York State would receive this workforce training.
• Enabling Voluntary, Private-Sector, In-Prison Employment Opportunities that Pay a Competitive Wage: Governor Hochul will propose a constitutional amendment to allow for public-private partnerships that would enable hybrid work-release programs within prisons. These partnerships, which would be voluntary and pay a competitive wage, would provide critical private sector job skills to incarcerated individuals.
• Expanding Vocational, Job Readiness, and Re-Entry Programs: To strengthen existing career programs, Governor Hochul will direct DOCCS to review and expand current vocational programming, such as the re-entry computer lab pilot, and implement new initiatives, including vocational training that would allow incarcerated individuals to obtain commercial driver’s licenses.
• Restoring the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for Incarcerated Individuals: Governor Hochul will propose legislation to reverse the longstanding ban on providing State financial aid to incarcerated individuals and require universities contracting with DOCCS provide career counseling and degrees with meaningful career paths.
• Allowing for Educational Release as an Earned, Re-Entry Opportunity: State law currently allows for up to 14 hours per day of educational release for educational, vocational, or related purposes; however, the majority of incarcerated individuals enrolled in college do not qualify due to the nature of their crime. To remedy this, Governor Hochul will propose legislation to expand those eligible by allowing for incarcerated individuals who qualify for Limited Credit Time Allowance (LCTA) to participate in educational release, and to expedite the awarding of a six month LCTA credit against their sentence for this cohort.
• Passing the Clean Slate Act: Governor Hochul will push to pass the Clean Slate Act, criminal justice reform legislation that would allow for certain felony records to be sealed after seven years and certain misdemeanor records be sealed after three years, following the completion of a sentence. To be eligible for records sealing, an individual would have to have completed their prison sentence and community supervision; not have been convicted of a sex crime; and not since have acquired subsequent convictions in New York State or have pending charges during the waiting period. Reasonable exceptions will be made for appropriate categories of employment.
• Piloting a New Approach to Transitional Housing for Post-Incarceration Individuals: Governor Hochul will create a pilot program that aims to improve a formerly incarcerated individual’s ability to secure stable housing, preventing them from ending up in the shelter system. This pilot program would work with a residential treatment facility to provide stable housing for 90 days as the individual pursues a job and permanent housing.
• Eliminating Outdated Supervision Fees to Reduce Barriers for Individuals Returning to Society After Incarceration: Under New York State’s current supervision fee statute, DOCCS is required to collect a supervision fee of $30.00 per month for each person over the age of 18 on parole and post-release supervision. But the parolee population has limited income and employment opportunities, and parolees often struggle to pay these fees, resulting in a low collection rate. To facilitate re-entry for more than 30,000 parolees, Governor Hochul will propose eliminating these outdated supervision fees, reducing the financial burden on parolees.
• Fully Staffing the Parole Board and Prohibit Outside Employment for Board Members: State Law permits the Board of Parole to have up to 19 members, each appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate for a six-year term. However, as the parole board currently comprises just 15 members, Governor Hochul will nominate individuals to fill the four additional seats, increasing the board’s capacity to hear cases. Additionally, to further increase the board’s capacity and ensure that board members’ sole professional focus is on hearing cases, Governor Hochul will prohibit Parole Board Members from outside employment.
• Facilitating Access to ID Cards and Other Vital Records to Enhance Opportunities for Released Persons: Incarcerated individuals often struggle to provide the documents needed to obtain a DMV Non-Driver ID card. To facilitate access to documentation needed post-incarceration that would assist in the issuance of a DMV Non-Driver ID card, Governor Hochul will propose legislation to permit a sentence and commitment or a certificate of conviction to be deemed authorization for DOCCS to obtain a certified birth certificate or transcript of birth on behalf of an incarcerated individual for the purpose of providing State identification upon release. Governor Hochul will also expand the successful pilot program established by DOCCS and DMV to process Non-Driver IDs for parolees to include a pilot program that allows for the issuance prior to the release of incarcerated individuals.
GOVERNOR HOCHUL ANNOUNCES BILLION DOLLAR RESCUE PLAN FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND STRENGTHEN NEW YORK’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY
New Tax Credit Will Provide Relief To Small Businesses Taking On COVID-Related Capital Expenses
Small Business Lending Initiative Will Provide Accessible Loans To Expanding Small Businesses
Governor Will Propose Legislation Permanently Allowing the Sale of To-Go Drinks in Bars and Restaurants
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a new Billion Dollar Rescue Plan for small businesses as part of the 2022 State of the State. Small businesses, accounting for 98 percent of all businesses statewide, are the backbone of New York’s economy and under the Governor’s plan, the state will be supporting these entities through a variety of initiatives focusing on growing the businesses of the future, helping new businesses struggling to establish themselves and providing tax relief. Additionally, to support New York’s restaurant industry, a sector that has especially been hit hard by COVID-19, the Governor will introduce legislation to permanently allow the sale of to-go drinks for bars and restaurants statewide.
“New York’s comeback depends on the recovery and success of our small businesses,” Governor Hochul said. “Since the pandemic hit, small business owners have been struggling with unprecedented challenges. New York is here with a simple message: help is on the way.”
As a former small business owner, Governor Hochul understands the challenges facing small businesses, even in the best of times. Governor Hochul is also acutely aware of how the pandemic has tested small businesses throughout New York, and what is needed in this moment to support the recovery of our small businesses.
To help small businesses at this critical moment, Governor Hochul’s Billion Dollar Rescue Plan will include targeted programs strategically designed to respond to small business needs, and to ensure that disadvantaged, minority-owned, and women-owned small businesses prosper throughout the State.
The Billion Dollar Rescue Plan includes:
• Funding for Small Businesses of the Future: This initiative will support venture capital and venture debt awards to fast-growing, venture-backed startups that either locate to, or remain and grow in, New York State. This funding will assist emerging small businesses in the innovation sector, including minority- and women-owned companies often overlooked by private-sector venture investments. Through this program, New York State will continue to be the center of innovation and small business growth.
• The Small Business COVID Capital Investment Tax Credit: This initiative will provide a tax credit to small businesses which took on COVID-related capital expenses, including retrofits, renovations, machinery and equipment related to COVID safety enhancements.
• Seed Funding for Small Businesses: This initiative will provide flexible grants to early-stage small businesses to help those that recently opened get off the ground, despite the COVID pandemic. Priority will be given to socially and economically disadvantaged small business owners.
• Small Business Lending Initiative: This initiative will provide reduced interest rates and accessible loans to expanding small businesses. As part of this effort, this initiative will seek to address disparities in the traditional loan market, which oftentimes precludes small businesses, particularly socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses, from accessing loans to grow their businesses or take on larger government contracts.
• The Excelsior Contracting Opportunities Initiative – This initiative will provide state-backed funding and technical assistance to position small businesses — particularly those which are socially and economically disadvantaged — to secure federally funded contracts related to the $1.2 trillion federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This initiative will also include the establishment of an interagency Excelsior Contracting Opportunities Council — including Empire State Development, the State Department of Transportation, the Thruway Authority, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — to identify strategies to encourage greater minority- and women-owned small business participation in forthcoming federally funded infrastructure projects across the State.
• Permanently Legalize the Sale of To-Go Drinks for Bars and Restaurants: To-go drinks were a critical revenue stream for New York’s bars and restaurants during the pandemic, helping many small businesses across the state pay their rents or mortgages. Governor Hochul will permanently allow for the sale of to-go drinks for off-premises consumption to continue supporting the recovery of bars and restaurants.
Governor Hochul will also provide $100 million in tax relief for 195,000 small businesses by widening eligibility and increasing a tax return adjustment that reduces a small business’s gross business income.