3.17.22 Advocacy Alert: Hochul Extends State of Emergency, Signs Sexual Harassment Bills
March 17, 2022
State of Emergency Extended
Governor Kathy Hochul has issued an Executive Order extending New York’s state of emergency declaration for COVID-19. The state of emergency was scheduled to expire today, but Hochul extended the declaration through April 15.
Declaring a state of emergency triggers the NY HERO Act, meaning employers must continue to abide by a number of disease prevention measures.
The extension comes as New York has its lowest number of positive COVID cases since July.
3/21 Update: The state reversed course and said employers no longer need to implement their workforce safety plans. Learn more here.
Hochul Signs Sexual Harassment Prevention Legislation
Yesterday, Governor Hochul signed into law a package of legislation to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.
One bill will create a confidential hotline within the state’s Division of Human Rights for the purpose of reporting workplace sexual harassment. DHR will connect callers to pro-bono attorneys, who can apprise callers of their rights and give legal advice.
Another bill clarifies that leaking an employee’s personnel records because he or she has made a complaint about workplace harassment constitutes unlawful retaliation. The bill is a jab at former Governor Cuomo, whose administration leaked unflattering personnel records of Lindsay Boylan after she accused Cuomo of sexual harassment.
The signing of this legislative package serves as a reminder to employers of their responsibilities to combat workplace sexual harassment. All employers are required to provide anti-harassment training and adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy. Resources for preventing sexual harassment are available here.
In preparation for the 2023 elections, the BNP hosted an Erie County Executive Candidate Forum. Both candidates for Erie County’s highest office – incumbent Mark Poloncarz and challenger Chrissy Casilio – were given 45 minutes to address BNP members in a guided discussion.
After years of relentless advocacy to bolster Upstate NY’s innovation and manufacturing industries, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins announced the Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse region have joined forces with a proposal to become a federally-designated Tech Hub in the first-of-its-kind nationwide competition created in his CHIPS & Science Bill.
The BNP organized a Capital Conversations event as part of our Government Affairs series to examine the workings of the H-1B program and explore potential reforms that could strengthen our regional economy.