Senator May Advances Legislation to Assist Small Business and Address Healthcare Disparities

Syracuse, NY – Senator Rachel May (D-Onondaga, Madison, Oneida) is proud to pass legislation that supports small businesses and addresses healthcare disparities across the state. Over the past two weeks, the New York Senate has passed packages of legislation aimed at mitigating the challenges posed by the COVID-19 health crisis and help ensure people are able to recover both personally and professionally.

Bills to assist small business include:

  • Small Business Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium: S.471A establishes the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Business Act to protect small businesses with COVID-19 related financial hardships from eviction and foreclosure until May 1.
  • Restricting Third-Party Delivery Fees: S.1554 creates a maximum limit for the total fee that can be charged to a food service establishment by a third-party food delivery service (such as Grubhub, Seamless, Postmates, Doordash, etc.)
  • Increased Outreach From DOL on the Shared Work Program: S.18A creates a requirement for the Department of Labor to increase their efforts to provide information to employers about shared work program eligibility and have information available on the Department’s website. The shared work program can help reduce layoffs and is fully funded by the federal CARES Act during the pandemic.
  • Freezing Employers Unemployment Insurance Premiums: S.1197 freezes New York State’s unemployment insurance experience rating for one year for layoffs and closures that occurred due to COVID-19. This action will prevent significant increases in costs to employers who have experienced higher unemployment rates in 2020.
  • Partial Unemployment Insurance: S.1042A establishes a system of partial-unemployment. This would shift the current calculation that any day of work leads to a 25% reduction in benefits, and instead would reduce benefits by an amount proportional with the amount earned. This legislation will help incentivize part-time work by reducing the disincentive that a day of work will lead to a disportionate reduction of benefits.

Bills to address healthcare equity include:

  • Cultural Education for Medical Professionals: S.1352 will require healthcare professionals to complete Continuing Medical Education courses in cultural awareness and competence training.
  • Collaboration Programs to Address Healthcare Disparities: S.1374 will authorize programs to work with hospitals, home care agencies, and physicians to target health disparities thus improving health outcomes for under-served persons and reducing health care costs within the State.
  • Interagency Taskforce on Health Literacy: S.1407 will establish an interagency task force on health literacy to develop recommendations to improve access to available health services, identify barriers that prevent residents from being able to access available health services, and identify and educate groups at risk for low health literacy.
  • Study of Asthma in Cities: S.646A directs the New York State Department of Health to conduct a study on the incidences of asthma in cities having a population of more than ninety thousand.
  • Addiction Treatment Equity: S.679A establishes the Council for Treatment Equity within the Office of Addiction Services and Supports to address substance use disorder treatment disparities among vulnerable populations across the state

“The pandemic has created unique challenges that the Legislature must address,” said Senator Rachel May. “It has also shone a spotlight on issues that have existed for a very long time. Our small businesses are facing potentially insurmountable odds and we must do all we can to increase their ability to persevere. Additionally, many of our neighbors and communities have faced unequal access to healthcare for far too long, but COVID has made it impossible to ignore any longer. I am proud to be able to pass these bills that address some of these issues. I will continue to fight for a just recovery from this crisis in all corners of our economy and state.”