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Home Energy Assistance Program Opened October 1st

October 4, 2021- More than $373 million in home heating aid is becoming available for low- and middle-income New Yorkers who need assistance keeping their homes warm during the upcoming winter season. Applications opened Friday, October 1st for the Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as HEAP, which is overseen by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and provides federal funding to assist homeowners and renters with their heating costs during the cold weather months.

Eligible homeowners and renters may receive up to $751 in heating assistance, depending on their income, household size and how they heat their home. A family of four may have a maximum gross monthly income of $5,249 or an annual gross income of $62,983 and still qualify for benefits-a modest increase from the previous year’s threshold.

In the 2021 season, 17263 Rocklanders received assistance. 35,129 Westchester residents, 19,541 Orange County residents and 19,541 Ulster County residents received home energy assistance. Apply online here.


Increase in Minimum Wage December 31st

September 29, 2021 – Starting December 31, 2021, the minimum wage is going up to $13.20 an hour in New York State. The Department of Labor said the increase coincides with the scheduled increase to $15 an hour on Long Island and Westchester County.

The state DOL had authority under state law this year to raise the minimum wage above its current rate of $12.50 an hour outside New York City and its immediate suburbs. The agency said the increase is the result of “evidence of pressure for wages to rise in the midst of a pandemic-driven labor shortage.”

The minimum wage was already set to rise December 31st from $14 an hour to 15 per hour on Long Island and in Westchester. But the increase in the rest of the state is new after the state Legislature passed a scale in 2016 to increase the minimum wage over the next five years, first hitting $15 an hour in New York City at the end of 2018 for large employers.


September 22, 2021 – Thirty local governments in New York State ended 2020 in some form of fiscal stress, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today. The communities were identified by the Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (FSMS). Clarkstown was the only town in Rockland to rate as “susceptible to fiscal stress.”

DiNapoli releases fiscal stress scores on municipalities (excluding New York City) twice a year. The latest round of scores announced today identified 19 local governments designated in fiscal stress, including six counties, four cities, and nine towns. This release is based on financial information of local governments operating on a calendar year basis (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31) for 2020 and covers all counties and towns, 44 cities, and 10 villages. In April, DiNapoli announced that 11 local governments with non-calendar fiscal years were in stress.


New York Law Makes Contractors Liable for Wages Paid to Their Subcontractors

September 6, 2021 – This legislation (A.3350-A/S.2766-C) makes contractors on construction projects jointly liable for wages owed to employees of their subcontractors. Construction contractors are not currently liable for wages of their subcontractors’ employees unless there is an employment relationship between the contractor and the employee of the subcontractor. This bill applies prospectively to contracts entered 120 days after the bill becomes law. It also allows contractors to demand payroll information from subcontractors and withhold payment if the information is not provided. Read more…


New Moratorium on COVID-related Commercial Evictions, Effective Through January 15, 2022

September 2, 2021 – The legislation’s moratorium on commercial evictions and commercial foreclosure proceedings apply to small businesses with 100 or fewer employees that demonstrate a financial hardship. Tenants must submit a hardship declaration, or a document explaining the source of the hardship, to prevent evictions. Read more…


Legislation Passed Extending Virtual Public Meetings

September 2, 2021 – Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation (S.50001/A.40001) extending virtual access to public meetings under New York State’s Open Meetings Law, which allows New Yorkers to virtually participate in local government meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation, which was initially implemented by Executive Order during last year’s State of Emergency, allows state and local government meetings that are normally held in person to be held remotely instead, as long as the public has the ability to view or listen to the meeting and as long as the meeting is recorded and later transcribed.


Change to Insurance Law Provides Less-Expensive Way to Protect Wireless Communication Equipment

July 22, 2021 – Legislation amends state Insurance Law to expand the coverage that a credit card issuer, debit card issuer, or bank may offer to their customers. The law specifically authorizes coverage to protect a cell phone and other wireless communication equipment if it is damaged, lost, stolen, or incurs a breakdown. Read more…


New York’s Wide-Ranging Ban of Harmful Pesticide is Among First in the U.S.; Banning Pesticides Containing Chlorpyrifos Protects Public Health and Safeguards Environment and Pollinators

July 21, 2021 – Final regulations were released today prohibiting the sale, distribution, possession, and use of pesticide products containing the active ingredient chlorpyrifos. In 2019, Governor Cuomo directed the State Department of Environmental Conservation to ban the organophosphate pesticide chlorpyrifos to safeguard public health and protect environmental resources, particularly pollinators. New York is the first state in the U.S. to completely ban pesticides that contain chlorpyrifos, and its regulations are the most stringent in terms of the prohibited uses of this organophosphate pesticide. Read more…



Governor Announces More than $7 Million Available to Advance Low Carbon Solutions for Multifamily Buildings

July 9, 2021 – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $7.8 million is available through the Low Carbon Pathways for Multifamily Buildings program for owners or managers of multifamily buildings to implement low carbon solutions as part of planned upgrades. This new incentive complements existing capital planning support and free resources, which together provide a step-by-step pathway to decarbonize buildings. Today’s announcement supports New York’s progress toward Governor Cuomo’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Read more…


Governor Cuomo Announces New York Will Explore Potential Role of Green Hydrogen as Part of Comprehensive Decarbonization Strategy

July 8, 2021 – State Collaborating with National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Additional Partners to Study Possible Applications for Green Hydrogen, Making $12.5 Million Available for Long Duration Energy Storage Solutions. Read more…


May 26, 2021 – New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced that the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s (Fund) estimated overall investment return was 33.55 percent for the state fiscal year (SFY) that ended March 31, 2021, reflecting the financial markets’ dramatic rebound from lows reached during the COVID-19 pandemic. The return on investments increased the Fund’s value to an estimated $254.8 billion. Read more…


$800 Million Small Business Recovery Grant Program to Provide Funding to Small Businesses to Help Them Recover From the Economic Impact of the Pandemic; Online Applications Accepted Starting June 10

May 25, 2021 – The small business recovery grant program makes up to $800 million in funding available for small businesses to help them recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. Applications for the program will be accepted starting June 10 for small and micro businesses and small for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations to help them recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. Flexible grants up to $50,000 will be made available to eligible small businesses and can be used for operating expenses, including payroll, rent or mortgage payments, taxes, utilities, personal protective equipment, or other business expenses incurred during the pandemic. Over 330,000 small and micro businesses are potentially eligible for this program, including 57 percent of the State’s certified MWBEs.

ESD has created a website –NYSBusinessRecovery.ny.gov – to highlight the various resources available to support small businesses seeking pandemic relief. The website will be continuously updated as more details and funding information as it becomes available.


New York Extends the Moratorium on COVID-related Residential and Commercial Evictions and Foreclosure Proceedings for Those Filing a Hardship Declaration Until August 31, 2021

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed an extension of the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 and the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act. The legislation (S.6362-A/A.7175-A) extends protections prohibiting residential and commercial evictions, foreclosure proceedings, credit discrimination and negative credit reporting related to the COVID-19 pandemic until August 31, 2021.

Commercial Evictions:
The legislation places a moratorium on evictions until August 31, 2021 for commercial tenants have endured COVID-related hardship. The legislation applies to small businesses with under 50 employees that demonstrate a financial hardship. Tenants must submit a hardship declaration, or a document explaining the source of the hardship, to prevent evictions.

Commercial Foreclosure Proceedings:
The legislation places a moratorium on commercial foreclosure proceedings until August 31, 2021.

Tax Lien Sales
The legislation prevents local governments from engaging in a tax lien sale or a tax foreclosure until at least August 31, 2021. Payments due to the locality are still due.

Read more…


Curfew Will Be Removed for Outdoor Dining Areas Beginning May 17 and Indoor Areas Beginning May 31

April 28, 2021 – The 12 a.m. food and beverage service curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining areas beginning May 17 and for indoor dining areas beginning May 31.

The 1 a.m. curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result will be lifted beginning May 17, with the curfew for all catered events set to be lifted May 31.

Catered events can resume at residences beginning May 3 above the State’s residential gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, as long as the events are staffed by a professional, licensed caterer, permitted by the respective locality or municipality, and strictly adhere to health and safety guidance, including social and event gathering limits, masks, and social distancing. Also on May 3, the guidance for dancing among attendees at catered events will be aligned with neighboring states, replacing fixed dance zones for each table with social distancing and masks.

Starting May 3, seating at bars will be allowed in New York City, consistent with the food services guidance that is in effect statewide. Read more…


Website Launch for Office of Cannabis Management

April 2, 2021 – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the website launch for the New York State Office of Cannabis Management. This website educates the public on the OCM’s regulatory structure which, with the Cannabis Control Board, will oversee the licensure, cultivation, production, distribution, sale and taxation of medical, adult-use and cannabinoid hemp within New York State. The website also provides resources for individuals seeking medical cannabis practitioners, caregivers and medical cannabis IDs as well as businesses seeking licensure to participate in adult-use, medical and cannabinoid hemp industries. Read more…


Restaurants Outside New York City Can Move to 75 Percent Indoor Capacity Starting March 19

March 7, 2021 – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that restaurants outside of New York City, which have been operating at 50 percent capacity, can now move to 75 percent capacity starting March 19. The data has shown that restaurants can operate safely and in accordance with strict health protocols at 75 percent capacity. New York City restaurant capacity will remain at 35 percent capacity. Read more…


March 4, 2021 – The New York State Common Retirement Fund (Fund) has reached agreements with five major U.S. companies, including Domino’s Pizza Inc., to set targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), adopt new energy efficiency measures and increase their use of renewable energy, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, trustee of the Fund, announced today. In response to the agreements, the Fund withdrew the shareholder resolutions with the companies. Read more…


Proposed Legislation Would Extend Moratorium on Commercial Evictions Until May 1, 2021

January 11, 2021 – The Governor will advance legislation to codify an existing Executive Order to extend a statewide moratorium on commercial evictions until May 1, 2021 for tenants who have endured COVID-related hardship. Landlords can evict tenants who are creating safety or health hazards.  

The Governor will codify and extend existing Executive Orders to ban late payments or fees for missed rent payments during the pandemic. It will also allow renters facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to use their security deposit as payment and repay their security deposit over time.  Read more…


Legislation (S.6829/A.8829-A) Prohibits the Use of TCE as a Vapor Degreaser, Refrigerant, Cleaning Product and Other Uses

December 28, 2020 – Governor Cuomo today signed legislation (S.6829/A.8829-A) banning the most harmful uses of trichloroethylene, or TCE, a toxic chemical used in industrial and commercial processes. The legislation bans TCE’s use as a vapor degreaser, an intermediate chemical in the production of other chemicals, a refrigerant, an extraction solvent or in any other manufacturing or industrial cleaning process or use.

TCE is typically used as an industrial cleaning and degreasing agent in manufacturing processes. It can enter the body through water, air, food and soil. It easily evaporates into the atmosphere and enters groundwater.  Read more…



Sales Tax Deadline for Restaurants Extended Until March 2021

December 22, 2020 – A three-month extension to the deadline for restaurants in orange zones, including New York City, to turn over sales taxes to the state has been implemented. Restaurants in impacted areas were required to suspend indoor dining temporarily. Extending the sales tax deadline for payment of taxes due on December 21 to March 2021 will ease tax burdens for restaurants and bars in communities where COVID-19 metrics necessitated additional restrictions. Affected restaurants should follow guidance from the Tax Department to request this relief.



Legislation Designates a Scheme to Defraud by Disposal of Solid Waste; Imposes Stiffer Penalties on Offenders

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S6758-B/A10803a) to strengthen penalties against the illegal disposal of construction debris, demolition debris, and other hazardous substances. The legislation also designates fraudulent schemes involving the disposal of solid waste as a new crime. These strengthened penalties will provide strong new tools for law enforcement to use as they work to stop unlawful waste dumping activities. Read more…


Professional | Business Directory


December 14, 2020- The retail sector, one of New York City’s biggest employers, is having an uneven recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with “non-essential” retailers struggling but online sellers booming, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Read more…


Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency; Extension of Commercial Evictions Ban Until January 31, 2021

December 11, 2020 – According to Executive Order 202.81, The directive contained in Executive Order 202.48, which modified the directive in Executive Order in 202.28, as continued by Executive Order 202.75 that prohibited the initiation of a proceeding or enforcement of an eviction of any commercial tenant for nonpayment of rent or a foreclosure of any commercial mortgage for nonpayment is hereby continued until January 31, 2021. Read more… 


New E-Commerce Opportunities Available for Restaurants and Food Service Establishments Affected by COVID-19 | Ritual and PayPal Commit $1 Million Towards Discounted Purchases for Customers of Participating New York Businesses on Ritual ONE

December 11, 2020 – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the second phase of New York’s Empire State Digital initiative to support the state’s restaurants and food service industry affected by COVID-19 has launched. Beginning today and extending through April 2021, e-commerce company Ritual will offer its commission-free digital ordering platform Ritual ONE to New York’s restaurants and food service businesses at no cost, for pickup and delivery. Additionally, PayPal has committed $1 million towards discounted purchases for customers of participating businesses on Ritual ONE in February 2021, at no expense to the businesses. This follows the Governor’s extension of the moratorium on commercial evictions to support restaurants and small businesses. Read more...


Professional | Business Directory


Public-Private Partnership Between Empire State Development, Start Small Think Big and the New York State Bar Association Will Provide Small Businesses and Landlords with Pro Bono Legal Assistance to Renegotiate Lease Terms in Wake of COVID-19

December 10, 2020 – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of the New York Forward Small Business Lease Assistance Partnership. Recognizing the economic impact of COVID-19, this program will provide small businesses and their landlords with informational resources and pro bono assistance to help both parties reach mutually-beneficial lease workout agreements. This service is available to all New York State small businesses and landlords, and participation is voluntary. Over the next year, the partnership has the capacity to serve thousands of small businesses statewide. Read more…



December 9, 2020 – New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today that the New York State Common Retirement Fund (Fund), valued at an estimated $226 billion, has adopted a goal to transition its portfolio to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. This process will include completion within four years of a review of investments in energy sector companies, using minimum standards to assess transition readiness and climate-related investment risk, with, where consistent with fiduciary duty, divestment of companies that fail to meet minimum standards. Read more…


Going Into Winter Season, Highly Destructive SLF Pest Confirmed on Staten Island, Areas in the Hudson Valley, and in the Southern Tier; Monitoring Ongoing and Public Urged to Continue to Report Findings of Insects and Egg Masses Through the Colder Months

November 24, 2020 – The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets today urged the public to stay vigilant and report live Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) or overwintering egg masses, following additional confirmed finds of the invasive species in areas of the Hudson Valley and the Southern Tier. SLF, an invasive pest from Asia, was first confirmed in the State on Staten Island in August. Adult SLF and egg masses have since been found in Port Jervis, Sloatsburg, Orangeburg, and Ithaca. The destructive insect feeds on more than 70 plant species, including tree-of-heaven, and plants and crops that are critical to New York’s agricultural economy, such as maple trees. Read more…


Unemployed and Underemployed New Yorkers Can Access Nearly 4,000 Online Free Courses And Certificate Programs On Coursera

November 17, 2020 – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of a new online training platform which will enable unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers weathering the COVID-19 pandemic to learn new skills, earn certificates, and advance their careers at no cost. The new tool will provide access to nearly 4,000 online programs taught by leading professors and industry professionals on Coursera, with a focus on high-growth and in-demand sectors like advanced manufacturing, technology, and health care, among others.  Read more…


November 12, 2020 – As policymakers consider possible expansion of revenue streams from gaming, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released a report today on the industry in the state that calls for improvements in finding an appropriate balance between reliance on revenue generated from gaming activities and problem gambling. Read more…


$11 Million in Volkswagen Settlement Funds to Expand Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Stations in New York

November 12, 2020 – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the availability of $11 million to build out the state’s network of fast charging stations to support wider adoption of electric vehicles. The Direct Current Fast Charger program will be administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to scale up electric vehicle infrastructure in areas of the state where access to fast charging stations is limited, and will also prioritize improving the availability of charging infrastructure in disadvantaged communities. Applications for the first round are being accepted through February 18, 2021. Read more…



Cashless Tolling to Go Live Overnight on NYS Thruway’s Ticketed System Beginning Friday, November 13, More Than a Month Ahead of Schedule

November 11, 2020 – Cashless tolling will go live on the New York State Thruway’s ticketed system – more than a month ahead of schedule – during the overnight hours of Friday, November 13, into Saturday, November 14. The historic conversion will take place simultaneously at 58 tolling locations across the Thruway’s 450-mile ticketed system. Read more…


New Law Deters Abusive “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation” – Known as SLAPP Lawsuits; Requires Costs and Attorney’s Fees to be Recovered Regarding SLAPP lawsuits

November 10, 2020 – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation that protects citizens’ rights to free speech and petition by deterring abusive “strategic lawsuits against public participation,” known as SLAPPs. SLAPP lawsuits are frivolous litigation brought by affluent plaintiffs who have the ability to spend large sums of money by using expensive and time-consuming litigation to obstruct those exercising their right to free speech. The legislation amends the Civil Rights Law to require costs and attorney’s fees to be recovered regarding these frivolous lawsuits, which will deter plaintiffs from bringing such lawsuits in the first place. Read more…


October 28, 2020 – Sales tax revenue for local governments in New York state dropped 9.5 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period last year, according to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Sales tax collections from July to September totaled $4.3 billion, or $452 million less than last year. Read more…


Department of Health’s Cannabinoid Hemp Program Will License Processors and Retailers and Set Quality Control Standards

October 28, 2020 – The New York State Department of Health has filed proposed regulations to regulate cannabinoid hemp products in New York State. In accordance with legislation signed earlier this year, the Department is creating a Cannabinoid Hemp Program. The Program will license both cannabinoid hemp processors and retailers and set quality control standards that all cannabinoid hemp products must meet. Read more…


New York Extends Moratorium On COVID-Related Commercial Evictions Through January 1

October 20, 2020 – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed an Executive Order extending the state’s moratorium on COVID-related commercial evictions and foreclosures through January 1. This measure extends protections already in place for commercial tenants and mortgagors in recognition of the financial toll the pandemic has taken on business owners, including retail establishments and restaurants. The extension of this protection gives commercial tenants and mortgagors additional time to get back on their feet and catch up on rent or their mortgage, or to renegotiate their lease terms to avoid foreclosure moving forward.   Read the Executive Order here.

Department of Financial Services Calls for Regulation of Social Media Giants After Twitter Hack Investigation

October 14, 2020 – The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) released a report on the Department’s investigation into the July 15, 2020 hack into the Twitter accounts of cryptocurrency firms and well-known public figures. Among DFS’ findings: the global social media platform lacked adequate cybersecurity protections and, at the time of the attack, did not have a chief information security officer. The report recommends a new cybersecurity  regulatory framework for giant social media companies. Read the DFS Report here.


DFS Issues Guidance to Insurance Industry Clarifying Coverage for PrEP and Related Services

October 8, 2020 – New guidance prohibits cost-sharing for PrEP and related services for consumers. The Department of Financial Services has issued a Circular Letter to New York-regulated health insurers, clarifying coverage for pre-exposure prophylaxis, known as PrEP, for the prevention of HIV infection and related services. Read more… 


Suspension of State Debt Collection Renewed for Seventh Time

October 5, 2020 – The state has renewed, for the seventh time, an order to halt the collection of medical and student debt owed to the state of New York that has been specifically referred to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for collection for an additional 30-day period. Read more…


Final Regulations Requiring Insurers to Provide Fair Coverage for Mental Health & Substance Use Disorders Issued

October 1, 2020 – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced final regulations requiring insurers to put into place policies and procedures that will ensure that they are providing comparable coverage for mental health and substance use disorders. A full copy of the DFS regulations can be found on the DFS website. Regulations will go into effect on December 29, 2020. Read more…


“Empire State Digital” with Global E-Commerce Companies to Accelerate New York’s Small Businesses’ Ability to Compete in the Digital Economy Launched

October 1, 2020 – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced Empire State Digital, a new initiative accelerating New York State-based small businesses’ ability to grow their online presence through a first-in-the-nation program with leading global e-commerce enablers, including Shopify, Square, Clearbanc, and Etsy.  Options can be reviewed on Empire State Digital’s website which includes additional services available to small businesses. Read more…


$18 Million Initiative to Train Workers and Support Entrepreneurs During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic Announced

September 30, 2020 – New York State has been awarded an $18 million federal grant to fund educational opportunities that train New Yorkers for in-demand jobs, support entrepreneurs, and help small businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Read more…


Governor Cuomo Reminds New Yorkers “Pink Tax” Ban Goes into Effect Today

September 30, 2020 – New reforms go into effect today prohibiting businesses from charging a “pink tax,” otherwise known as the practice of charging different prices for “substantially similar” consumer goods or services that are marketed to different genders. The new measure also requires certain service providers provide price lists for standard services upon request and notifies them that gender-based price discrimination is prohibited under State law. Read more…


Initiative to Train Over 1,000 Workers to Install Green Building Technologies to Combat Climate Change Announced

September 29, 2020 – The Career Pathway Training Partnerships program in high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and electric heat pump technologies will help prepare New Yorkers for the growing number of job opportunities in the clean energy industry. The partnerships will target training over 1,000 workers and prioritize the state’s most underserved populations, including low-income New Yorkers and those residing in environmental justice communities, helping support the state’s economic recovery. Read more…