Assemblymember Harry Bronson (D-Rochester) voted to pass several measures designed to help ensure the safety of New York families and protect public health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At this time of crisis, public officials must eliminate roadblocks to public health, Bronson said. The measures passed by my colleagues and I allow New Yorkers to vote safely, maintain social distance while conducting public business, and wear a mask without fear of arrest or harassment.
Bronson helped pass a host of legislation, including measures to:
- repeal criminal penalties for wearing a mask (A.10446);
- allow for easier access to voting by mail, complementing an Executive Order that allows electronic applications for absentee ballots, and, for this year, allows ballots to be postmarked by Election Day, rather than the day before (A.10516);
- enable business corporations, not-for-profit corporations, religious institutions and cooperatives to hold virtual meetings for the duration of the declared state of emergency (A.10498);
- require residential health care facilities to prepare an annual pandemic emergency plan which includes a communication plan to provide updates on patients conditions to their families or guardians twice daily (A.10394); and
- require the Department of Health (DOH) to conduct a study on the health impacts of COVID-19 on minority communities statewide, which would be completed within one year (A.10517)
"During this unprecedented public health crisis, it's critical that we do everything we can to protect New Yorkers and implement measures that allow our state to continue functioning as we battle this pandemic together," said Bronson. "In addition, we must recognize that this pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color, which is why I helped pass legislation requiring the state to study these disparities and offer solutions. We must address this acute crisis head-on, but we must also begin the groundwork of building a fairer, stronger state -- this legislative package is an important first step."
Additionally, Bronson voted to pass a bill authorizing licensed pharmacists to administer any approved vaccine for COVID-19 no sooner than 90 days after a vaccine has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and after the Department of Health and State Education Department certify that having pharmacists administer the vaccine is in the best interest of public health (A.10508).
Allowing licensed pharmacists to administer a future COVID-19 vaccine puts New York State in a strong position to help put an end to this virus, said Bronson. Once a safe, effective vaccine is developed, demand will likely be strong. Allowing qualified, licensed health professionals to administer it will ensure greater access to the general public and improve public health statewide.