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ALBANY – New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a package of legislation aimed at addressing discrimination and racial injustice. Legislation S.2987-A/A.5679 declares racism a public health crisis. Legislation S.70-A/A.2230 enacts the hate crimes analysis and review act. Legislation S.6639-A/A.6896-A requires the collection of certain demographic data by certain state agencies, boards, departments, and commissions. Legislation S.1451-A/A.191 requires a health equity assessment to be filed with an application for any project that will affect a hospital’s health care services. Legislation A.1451-A/A.6215 requires the New York State Office of Technology Services to advise all state agencies in the implementation of language translation technology. Legislation S.4316/A.4572 expands the list of diseases for which a newborn can be screened in order to include conditions more prevalent in newborns from the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia.
“For far too long, communities of color in New York have been held back by systemic racism and inequitable treatment,” Governor Hochul said. “I am proud to sign legislation that addresses this crisis head-on, addressing racism, expanding equity and improving access for all.”
Legislation S.2987-A/A.5679 declares racism a public health crisis and establishes a working group to promote racial equity throughout the State of New York.
Senator Kevin Parker said, “Framing racism as a public health issue compels organizations and governmental agencies to address the crisis in the systemic ways that other threats to public health have been addressed. For decades, racial inequalities have caused significant mental, physical, and financial hardships for people of color. These inequities have impacted how they live, the resources they have access to and more importantly their quality of healthcare. I applaud Governor Hochul for making equity a priority.”
Assemblymember Taylor Darling said, “I would like to thank my colleague and Senate Sponsor, Senator Parker for recognizing the need for this legislation. Declaring Racism a public health crisis is vital because racism continues to result in a lack of resources and opportunities for people in communities of color. The effects of the covid-19 pandemic on the African American community intimately shows the need for this working group to specifically focus on our needs holistically. This law will establish a working group within the department of health to promote racial equity throughout the State of New York and address some of the enormous issues we are currently facing. We have a lot of work to do and this a great start. Thank you Governor Hochul for signing this bill into law. Ever Upward.”
Legislation S.70-A/A.2230 enacts the hate crimes analysis and review act, specifying the collection and reporting of certain demographic data regarding the victims and alleged perpetrators of hate crimes.
Senator Brad Hoylman said, “I’m extremely grateful Governor Hochul is signing my Hate Crimes Analysis & Review Act with Assembly Member Karines Reyes to ensure New York State collects and releases demographic data about hate crime victims and perpetrators. It’s important we collect the demographic data on hate crimes to understand the root causes of these pernicious acts and take steps to head them off, which is especially true since there’s recently been a dramatic increase in hate crimes in New York.”
Assemblymember Karines Reyes said, “Our state is meant to be a beacon of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but without the tools to protect our marginalized communities these words carry little truth behind them. The Hate Crimes Analysis and Review Act ensures that we collect accurate demographic data of perpetrators and victims to better protect the communities being targeted. Without data, the plight of many will remain invisible. I thank the Governor for taking action to help our state better understand how hate crimes and our response to them affect our communities.”
Legislation S.6639-A/A.6896-A requires the collection of certain demographic information by certain state agencies, boards, departments, and commissions in order to keep a more accurate and relevant public record of Asian-American populations in New York.
Senator Julia Salazar said, “As New York continues to face the devastation caused by the COVID-19 public health crisis, it is essential that the needs of all of our communities be understood and met. For the diverse Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities in New York this cannot be accomplished without detailed data that recognizes and respects the experiences of the numerous groups that make up the AAPI communities. This law takes a bold step towards making that possible. Thank you to my colleague, Assemblymember Yuh-line Niou for leading the way on this legislation, and to the advocates and activists in the AAPI community who have fought for years for this recognition.”
Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou said, “I thank Governor Hochul for signing this legislation and helping ensure New York’s Asian-Americans are fully seen and represented in our state’s decision making. We cannot begin to address the challenges in our AAPI communities until we recognize the diversity within the AAPI community itself. While some AAPI communities share traditions or connections based on history or location, the majority of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are members of distinct ethnic groups who have their own culture, languages, and needs. This law will allow our state to collect crucial data and information for each community, in order to help address the unique problems each community faces and better serve our AAPI New Yorkers statewide.”
Legislation A.1451-A/A.6215 requires the New York State Office of Technology Services to advise all state agencies in the implementation of language translation technology. This will ensure agency websites are translatable into the most common non-English languages spoken by New Yorkers.
Senator Brad Hoylman said, “I appreciate Governor Hochul signing my bill with Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou to require the translation of New York State agency websites for non-English speakers. More than five million New Yorkers live in households where the primary language isn’t English and now they’ll be guaranteed access to critical information about COVID-19, housing, unemployment benefits, public education and other crucial government services in their own language. I’m also thankful to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for her commitment to equity for all New Yorkers and leadership in making these bills a priority in the State Senate.”
Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou said, “Asian-American communities are among the most impoverished in New York. They also faced some of the toughest headwinds even before the pandemic began while also being unable to navigate critical government services due to a lack of language accessibility. This legislation improves equity of access to crucial government services by implementing language accessibility in our government and helps build a New York that works for all of us, regardless of the language we speak.
Legislation S.1451-A/A.191 requires a health equity assessment to be filed with an application for any project that will affect a hospital’s health care services.
Legislation S.4316/A.4572 expands the list of diseases and conditions for which a newborn can be screened. Adrenoleukodystrophy and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, conditions that are predominantly found in newborns from the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia, will be added to the list of required conditions that all newborns are screened for.
Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “As health disparities persist, it is important that we continue to implement measures that seek to build an equitable health care delivery system and address the needs of our ethnically diverse population. Changes to our healthcare institutions will now need to undergo a health equity assessment to ensure they are aligned with our goal of improving care in underserved communities. We have also added G6PD enzyme deficiency to newborn screenings, which primarily impacts babies of color. I thank Governor Hochul for signing these two bills into law, which will help us continue fighting the disparities plaguing our healthcare system.”
Assemblymember Richard Gottfried said, “There is widespread recognition among advocates, public health analysts, and others that consolidation in health care goes hand in hand with disparities. This bill is a critical step toward ensuring health equity when facilities expand, contract, or merge, and was drafted in consultation with leading public health and community advocates. Governor Hochul has taken a great step for health equity in signing this bill. I thank her, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate sponsor Gustavo Rivera, and the many others whose assistance helped make this law.”