Jones Co-hosts Plattsburgh Small Business Roundtable
PLATTSBURGH — On Wednesday, Assemblymen D. Billy Jones (D-Plattsburgh) and Al Stirpe Jr. (D-Cicero), who chairs the Assembly’s Small Business Committee co-hosted the Plattsburgh Small Business Roundtable at the Plattsburgh Town Offices.
Jones heard directly from small businesses in the North Country about the challenges they face and ways the state can better help them thrive.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the North Country’s economy,” Jones said.
“Having run my family’s dairy farm, I know all too well the barriers small businesses face.
“From evolving safety requirements to strengthened environmental protections, state regulations continuously change and many local entrepreneurs find themselves caught up in the red tape.
“It is always helpful to hear directly from small businesses in the North Country, so that I can go back to Albany and fight for legislation to give them a better chance at success.”
Attendees — which represented a wide variety of North Country businesses, farms, government agencies and community organizations — discussed barriers such as finding skilled workers and the state’s changing regulations for businesses, including new protections for farm labor and an increased minimum wage.
Small-business owners also expressed concerns regarding access to broadband internet and cellular coverage, which has become a necessity in day-to-day business activities.
Jones serves on several Assembly committees related to small business policy, including the Small Business Committee; the Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry; the Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee; and the Agriculture Committee.
Jones co-sponsored legislation to reduce regulatory fines for small businesses by allowing them the opportunity to fix first-time violations.
The bill passed both the Assembly and Senate and will be delivered to the governor’s desk later this year.
Stec Seeks Bail Reform
PLATTSBURGH — Assemblyman Dan Stec (R,C,I-Queensbury) once again called on the governor to delay bail reform measures set to take effect in New York on January 1, 2020 in light of a recent car chase in Warren County which resulted in the death of an innocent man.
The new bail changes, which have received backlash from elected officials and law enforcement around the state, were adopted with the passage of the state budget in January.
Stec and other critics of the state’s bail reforms fear that discretion has been taken away from our judges, which will allow dangerous criminals back out on the street while awaiting trial.
Stec’s letter reiterated his stance in opposition of the bail reform changes and encourages the governor to delay them so the state Legislature can close loopholes.
“After the tragic loss of an innocent man in the North Country, I hope the governor sees the dangers of the new bail reform measures,” Stec said in a release.
“I was adamantly against the reforms during budget negotiations. There are far too many loopholes that allow dangerous criminals back out on the street while awaiting trial. I encourage the governor to reconsider his stance and at the very least delay them so they can be reworked to better protect our communities.”
Stefanik Supports Medical Breakthrough
PLATTSBURGH — Congresswoman Elise Stefanik offered an amendment to promote medical breakthroughs in the fight against Alzheimer’s, by excluding drugs used to treat or cure the disease from the list of drugs the HHS secretary can select for government price controls.
“With one in four Americans struggling to afford their medications, it is incumbent on us to push for bipartisan solutions to lower the costs of prescription drugs for patients and families,” Stefanik said in a release.
“H.R. 3 is a radical proposal that threatens Americans’ access to life-saving medication. Let’s be clear: government price controls, take-it-or-leave-it offers dressed up as negotiations, and the threat of a 95 percent sales tax is a tax on innovation and a tax on life-saving cures. In contrast, my amendment ensures ongoing research to end Alzheimer’s disease for patients and families will not be endangered or stifled by the Democrats’ partisan legislation.”
Stefanik Introduces State Workforce Incentive Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) and Fred Keller (R-Penn.) introduced the State Workforce Incentive Act, which would reform the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
The legislation shifts the program to a state-directed program of annual loan repayment benefits for workers in high-need occupations.
“While too many hardworking Americans carry the burden of student debt, the broken PSLF program has only sown confusion and frustration for borrowers seeking relief,” Stefanik said in a statement.
“Fundamental flaws in the current program’s design limit it from providing a straightforward incentive to pursue in-demand jobs.”
The legislation levels the playing field for borrowers and targets relief to low- and middle-income household, the congresswoman said.
“Further, it empowers states to address the workforce and public-service needs in their communities, such as beginning farmers or childcare professionals.
“It’s time for a new approach, and this bill delivers a state-led solution to the $1.5 trillion student debt problem facing our nation.”