Because so many people registered to participate in its three virtual sessions, New York’s Department of Labor this week added an additional public hearing to its Farm Laborer Wage Board schedule for Friday, January 28, at 2 p.m.
The three-member board is considering the existing 60-hour-per-week overtime threshold for farm workers in New York State “and the extent to which the overtime work threshold may be lowered.” Some worker advocate groups want the threshold dropped to 40 hours per week; farm advocates are pushing back vigorously to keep the bar at its current 60 hours per week.
Happy New Year!
I had difficulty celebrating the 2022 New Year. I was certainly unable to make any resolutions. After all, I’ve spent the last two years being very resolute. As the third year of the pandemic loomed, I saw the year beginning with a continued onslaught of information, from new or revised protocols, to new plans to protect our health, our community, and our way of life. But what I didn’t see was any real difference as a result of those protocols. Our holidays were still upended by this pandemic.
The holiday season has always been a cherished time in my role at Springbrook. It offers a connection to the people who make up Springbrook, be they family members, students, residents, staff, or donors. I missed the celebrations and contact with the Springbrook community of individuals, families, and incredible staff!
Being connected to the people of Springbrook — to our mission — is one reason I chose the location
of my office. My space looks out on Springbrook’s main campus playground and the pathways used by many of the students going to and from school. This vantage point gives me the opportunity to glance over my computer screen to see the reasons why I am at Springbrook.
By Ted Potrikus
Her beloved Buffalo Bills lost in a weekend heartbreaker, but aside from that, Governor Kathy Hochul has had a pretty good couple of weeks.
She’s able to talk about turning the corner against the winter Omicron surge, with seven-day averages for new hospital admissions, new cases, and cases-per-100,000 declining in every part of the state.
She laid out a blueprint for New York’s upcoming fiscal year, a $216 billion bonanza adorned with property tax rebates, pandemic recovery initiatives, infrastructure improvements, record-setting education aid, and big-spending ideas that aim to keep environmentalists green with joy. It’s a something-for-everybody package with enough in it to elate most of the disparate constituencies that constitute the Empire State
Governor Hochul’s mask mandate is back on – the office of New York Attorney General Tish James says an appellate judge granted a stay in the lawsuit late Tuesday afternoon (January 25) and the mandate remains in full effect while the case is in appeal.
A State Supreme Court judge on Long Island ruled the mandate unconstitutional on January 24; the ruling now proceeds through the court systems appeals process (Appellate division and then, possibly, to the Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state.
A COVID-weary public confronts the conundrum daily: Is this good news? Is it bad news?
We have to admit that we’re a little bit confused.
The Omicron caseload is frightening on its surface — ridiculously high numbers on a daily basis, top-of-the-fold newspaper coverage, lead-story status.
We’re so attuned to scary numbers and frightening graphs that when we hear about record-shattering daily positive tests coming back, the first thing we want to do is retreat to our quarantine corners and hide. We worry that we’re all going to become experts in the Greek alphabet before this is finished.
But then we look past the raw data and hear the experts say that with Omicron, it’s important to take a more analytical approach. Governor Kathy Hochul, on Monday, said, “People are testing at a much higher rate. It’s shocking in the scale of the number of people who are testing positive, but we’re grateful cases are not presenting themselves as severely as they did with Delta.” She cited encouraging news out of South Africa, where Omicron first was detected — a sharp jolt in positives followed by an equally sharp decline. “We have so many more defenses this time,” she said.
Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2022 State of the State message calls for a two-term limit for New York’s four top offices – governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and comptroller.
Her plan tracks a similar call from the state’s likely Republican candidate for governor in 2022, Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin. Rep. Zeldin’s plan, announced December 1, 2021, would affect only the governor’s office.
Any term limit proposal would require an amendment to the state’s constitution — a lengthy process that demands approval from two separate sessions of the state Legislature, and then from voters.
Governor Hochul also seeks to bar outside income for statewide elected officials while serving in office, unless the income is derived from teaching purposes.
“I want people to believe in their government again,” Governor Hochul said. “With these bold reforms, we will ensure New Yorkers know their leaders work for them and are focused on serving the people of this state.”
In his December announcement, Rep. Zeldin said, “I have always believed that our founding fathers envisioned a system of citizen elected leaders who would bring their unique new ideas, experience and vision to government and then move on. As governor, I would term-limit myself to two terms regardless of whether the state legislature takes this action.”
While New York law imposes no limit on the number of terms a statewide elected official or a state legislator can hold, some municipalities throughout the state have enacted local term-limit ordinances. New York City, for example, caps citywide officials and City Council members to two terms in their respective offices.
By Ted Potrikus
New York’s governor delivers a state-of-the-state address at the start of each calendar year; the speech a sitting governor gives at the onset of an election year is, however, always something a little different, a little more ambitious in scope.
Such is the case today (January 5) with a brief-by-comparison speech from Governor Kathy Hochul – her first since assuming the mantle after disgraced ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo stepped down. Hers was an address filled with the usual something-for-everybody on the menu – with very little that any opponents could attack outright. And, the address appears to open the door for discussions on bail reform.
But a state-of-the-state is rather like looking through an annual gift catalog – there are plenty of things in there that one would put on a wish list. Only a few of them stand a chance of showing up when the time for gift-giving arrives.
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced she will extend her indoor mask mandate by two weeks, keeping it in place across New York through January 29, 2022 rather than its original January 15 expiration.
“This is all geared toward keeping the economy open,” she said during her New Year’s Eve “Winter Surge 2.0” press briefing. “The alternative is to shut it all down.” “The reason that we don’t have to do this is that we now have the defenses in place – testing, vaccines, boosters, masks – that we didn’t have in March 2020,” she said. “We can take steps to make sure we’re protected against Omicron.”