Attorney General Letitia James Announces Bid for Governor
New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced her candidacy for governor of the state of New York. In her press release, which can be found here as well as attached, she stated “As I’ve traveled all around New York state, I have witnessed too many working families struggling to make ends meet, and it’s clear that the status quo just won’t do, New Yorkers need a governor who isn’t afraid to stand up to powerful interests on behalf of the vulnerable. Throughout my career, I’ve taken on big forces and New Yorkers know I will never back down when it comes to fighting for them. Today, I am proud to announce my candidacy for governor of New York so we can bring transformational change that uplifts all New Yorkers.”
FDA Panel Recommended Pfizer COVID-19 Shot for Ages 5-11
The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday recommended that regulators authorize Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds. The Pfizer dose for the 5-11 year old children would be one-third of the strength given to people 12 and older, with two shots given three weeks apart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s own panel of outside experts is scheduled to meet Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.
COVID-19 Booster Vaccines
Last week CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation for a booster shot of all three available COVID-19 vaccines. For those who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the groups that are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series are: people 65 years and older, people age 18+ who live in long-term care settings, people age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions, and people age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings. For those who got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose and do not need to get the same vaccine they got initially as the CDC’s recommendations now allow for mix and match dosing for booster shots.
Time-Off for Vaccines The guidance by the Department of Labor regarding the labor law signed in March which provides time off for vaccines at the employees regular rate of pay has been updated. This update found here provides that the law applies to any COVID-19 vaccination received by an employee, including booster shots.
Division of Budget (DOB) Agency Request Submission
Governor Hochul’s Call Letter for FY 2023 New York State Executive Budget can be found here. Agencies need to submit their complete budget request no later than November 4, 2021. The letter states that Agency requests “should be consistent with funding levels in the FY 2022 Budget, and [DOB] will evaluate specific investments and initiatives that respond to critical needs. Agencies should work with their Division counterparts to ensure that use of Federal funds remains adherent to Federal requirements and maintains a multi-year approach to rebuilding.”
Governor Hochul Administration Transparency Plans
This week Governor Hochul announced transparency improvements to State government that will increase access to data and information. The new transparency plans from more than 70 executive agencies and public authorities, announced improvements to the process for fulfilling Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests, released the full recusal policies for herself, as well as recusal policies for the Lieutenant Governor and the Secretary to the Governor. The new transparency plans that State agencies recently provided to the Governor’s office can be found here. In the plans the agencies outlined ways to proactively increase transparency such as overhauling their websites, conducting statewide listening tours, expanding language access, and making better use of Project Sunlight and OpenData. Also Governor Hochul announced improvements to the FOIL process, with the goal of providing more public records on a faster timeline and reducing the backlog of thousands of FOIL requests. Agencies will no longer be required to send FOIL responses to the Executive Chamber for review, but instead will process FOIL requests directly through their agency’s General Counsel. Agencies will also be required to take immediate steps to identify and publicly post frequently requested documents and documents that have public significance, so interested parties can find relevant information without needing to file a FOIL request. The Executive Chamber will review agency requests to fill FOIL staffing and software capacity needs, as well as provide FOIL trainings to all state agencies. To view the full announcement please click here.
Governor Hochul Administration Nominations Kevin Law will be nominated as Director of the Urban Development Corporation and will be designated Chair of the UDC. He is a Partner and Executive Vice President at Tritec Real Estate Development Company where he is part of the leadership team and Chairs the firms Affordable Housing Team. Mr. Law will assume the role of Chair upon confirmation by the Senate.
· Hope Knight will be nominated as Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development and President and CEO of Empire State Development (ESD).Ms. Knight has served as President & CEO of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) since 2015. In that capacity she has advanced the economic growth, community-building, and sustainable real estate development that has immeasurably revitalized and strengthened the Southeast Queens region. Ms. Knight will serve as Acting Commissioner, President and CEO until confirmation by the Senate.
Albany political happenings·
Former Governor Andrew Cuomo was charged Thursday with a misdemeanor criminal complaint regarding sexual misconduct.
New COVID-19 Date Hub
The COVID-19 data hub can be found here.
MASKS AND TESTING
· Mask requirements will continue for interstate travel and in federal buildings. The Transportation Security Administration will double fines on airline, train and other travelers who refuse to mask up.
· The number of pharmacies offering free testing will be expanded to 10,000.
· Walmart, Amazon and Kroger will offer at-home COVID tests at cost, about a 35% savings for consumers.
· The Pentagon will double military medical teams helping local hospitals overwhelmed with virus patients.
· Federal agencies will boost shipments of a COVID-19 treatment known as monoclonal antibodies by 50%. Medical teams will be dispatched to help administer the treatments.
· Top loan amounts for small businesses affected by the pandemic will be increased to $2 million from $500,000 currently.
NYS COVID-19 Monitoring Dashboard
Below we have included the State’s Testing Tracker which includes the state’s overall testing status by clicking on the link above you can view the testing results by county. This data is current through October 27, 2021.
Accessible Virtual Meeting Platforms
The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) published a tip sheet on “How to Pick an Accessible Virtual Meeting Platform.” This resource provides best practices on the process of ensuring that virtual platforms support full accessibility for people with disabilities. Read “How to Pick an Accessible Virtual Meeting Platform”