Helming: Successes of the 2021 NY legislative session | Columns

Earlier this year, another veterans bill I co-sponsored was signed into law. It expands access to veterans treatment courts to ensure that veterans with PTSD, depression and other challenges receive the support they need when they return from service.

For our agriculture industry, I was proud to co-sponsor legislation to make the Nourish New York program permanent. This important initiative supports our hardworking farmers and helps get healthy, locally grown food on family tables through area food banks like Foodlink, the Food Bank of Central New York, and Food Bank of the Southern Tier. Again, I urge the governor to sign the bill into law.

Two of my bills that passed the Senate have been sent to the Assembly. One would help boost volunteer firefighter recruitment by allowing student volunteers to safely observe an active emergency or hazardous response. The other would create the Rural Suicide Prevention Council to address the higher rates of suicide in rural counties.

Success is also about what didn’t get done. Thanks to many of you who signed my petition, the climate bill that would have resulted in higher gas taxes for every New Yorker failed to come before the Senate for a vote. In addition, we were able to stop the governor’s proposed overhaul of the New York State Canal System and protect our local canal communities and businesses.

Though the legislative session has ended, work continues on many important issues, including the full reopening of our schools in September. I will continue to push the state to end the mask mandate on our schoolchildren and return local control to our school districts and parents.

Read More:Helming: Successes of the 2021 NY legislative session | Columns