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Senate Advances Protections, Quality of Life for Elder New Yorkers

Bill Sponsor, Senator Alessandra Biaggi said, “We always have an obligation to look after our elders, especially when they find themselves in vulnerable and traumatic situations. Elder abuse is tragically widespread, and it is imperative that our seniors have access to help and resources if they are ever facing abuse or neglect. Creating the nation’s first temporary elder abuse shelter here in the Bronx will allow New York State to lead in determining how best to keep our elders safe, and set an example for the entire country. I am proud to sponsor this legislation and thank Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins for prioritizing this legislation.”

Bill Sponsor, Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “The Senate Majority continues to pass legislation to provide our seniors the protections they need and deserve. As Chair of the Health Committee, I am proud to sponsor a bill to allow additional New Yorkers to access affordable coverage for their medications through EPIC.  Our seniors have been affected tremendously by this pandemic and these bills go a long way to provide them the relief they deserve.”

Bill Sponsor, Senator Diane Savino said, "Currently, 40  states and the District of Columbia have protections in place for utility customers. It is time for New York to do the same, especially in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee. Creating an independent Office of the Utility Consumer Advocate will give New Yorkers real representation when it comes to utility services, and I am proud to sponsor this legislation which will help so many people across the state."

Bill Sponsor, Senator James Sanders Jr. said,  “Our elders have given us so much. It is our duty to protect them because they are such a vulnerable population, which unfortunately makes them the victims of abuse and scams. The legislation that my colleagues and I are introducing targets such areas by increasing protections but also includes resources and services to improve the quality of life for our seniors.”

Bill Sponsor, Senator Jose M. Serrano said, “There have been ample studies on the mental and physical health benefits of an active lifestyle, especially for older New Yorkers. There are a number of recreational opportunities for active seniors in our State Park system, and I'm proud to sponsor legislation that will create a curated listing of hiking and walking trails for sightseeing, exercise and general wellbeing, ensuring that older populations can enjoy and access the natural wonders of our State Parks and public lands.”

Bill Sponsor, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “SCRIE and DRIE are quite literally lifelines for thousands of our most vulnerable New Yorkers. This bill will allow localities such as the city of New York to raise the income eligibility limits to $55,000 beginning July 1, 2021. It applies to those residing in rentals, Mitchell Lamas, co-ops and condos. People retire on a fixed income and, while expenses increase, housing costs will remain stable and the senior citizen can remain in their home. I thank Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and my colleagues for supporting this legislation.”

Senate Majority Deputy Leader, Senator Michael Gianaris, said, “The State Senate is dedicated to preserving the dignity and respect of our elders. This legislation would improve the lives of our seniors by providing support in housing facilities, helping those experiencing elder abuse, and enhancing worker protections. I am proud this legislation passed the Senate and commit to continuing to helping the most vulnerable New Yorkers.”

Senator Jamaal Bailey said, “This package of legislation will safeguard elders and senior citizens in New York State through the granting of protections that guarantee rights and increase quality of life. The passage of these bills will see housing protections expanded for seniors in our state. Court approval will be needed to terminate residency for seniors or those with disabilities living in facilities with more than 20 units. Expanding the income eligibility for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and the Disabled Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) programs guarantees that many seniors and disabled New Yorkers do not see rent increases force them to vacate their residences. We worked to ensure that necessary medicine is affordable and available to our seniors who need it. The development of Elder Abuse Prevention Training and the establishment of an elder abuse shelter aftercare pilot program will work to reduce instances of elder abuse and provide refuge and services to those who had to endure it. Expanding encore entrepreneurship in the state will empower those who are 50 and older to become first-time business owners and create an expanded generation of business owners. Addressing the needs of seniors and older adults in New York State is extremely important and I would like to thank Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins for her leadership, as well as my colleagues who sponsored the pieces of legislation included in this package.“

Senator John Brooks said, “Senior citizens have spent their entire lives contributing to and bettering our communities. They have a right to be protected from the abuse and mistreatment that many are facing today. The legislation included in this package provides needed solutions to many problems facing older New Yorkers, including protections against elder abuse, housing protections, consumer protections, and more. I fully support these measures that will address many of the most pressing issues facing seniors in our state.”

Senator Jeremy Cooney said, “All New Yorkers deserve to live full lives. This suite of legislation will help protect seniors by keeping them in their homes, encouraging them to pursue their passion, stay in the workforce, and prioritize their health and safety. I am honored to be part of a Majority Conference that is committed to looking out for our most vulnerable communities.”

Senator Simcha Felder said, “I am honored to support and protect our seniors so that they remain active, independent and continue contributing to our families and communities. The bills we pass today will improve financial independence and health care, create a more age inclusive society and help seniors on fixed incomes enjoy their retirement years in the neighborhoods they know in the homes they created with love.”

Senator Pete Harckham said, “This new group of legislation will help ensure that residents can age safely and with dignity while also offering initiatives that can keep them in the workplace longer.”

Senator Brad Hoylman said, “Every single senior in New York should be able to age with dignity. This package of legislation will help keep seniors in their homes, create a pilot program for housing shelters singularly devoted to victims of senior abuse, and expand Medicare eligibility. Our elders are vital members of our communities, and I’m deeply grateful Senate Majority Leader Andrea-Stewart Cousins is committed to improving their quality of life.”

Senator Robert Jackson said, “Older New Yorkers are a growing population in our state with special needs that our policies must account for. Today’s legislation includes a framework to protect them from abuse or neglect, as well as to make sure they can take full advantage of all the benefits our great state has to offer. As someone who’s 70 years young myself, I am proud to pass this package of bills geared toward our elder New Yorkers today!”

Senator Tim Kennedy said, “As a state, we have an obligation to our senior citizens, both to protect them and empower them. I'm proud to join my colleagues in advancing this aggressive agenda targeted at improving the lives of New York's seniors.”

Senator Liz Krueger said, “Older New Yorkers make up a rapidly growing proportion of our population, and we must make a concerted effort to address their needs effectively. From increasing housing and workforce protections to expanding healthcare and economic opportunities, this package of bills takes important steps toward recognizing and addressing the chronically underserved needs of older adults in our state.”

Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “I am pleased to pass legislation that addresses the many challenges seniors face. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed vulnerabilities, especially in nursing homes. Our seniors deserve to be protected. The legislative package we passed today provides necessary resources and support to allow them to remain active and in their home for as long as possible.”

Senator Sean Ryan said, “Elder abuse is a problem that, sadly, is often overlooked, and the pandemic has made the situation worse. In Western New York, legal service providers saw a significant increase in clients experiencing elder abuse throughout the last year. The bills passed today will support seniors in our state and help protect them from abuse, neglect, and predatory behavior.”

Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, “Over the next 40 years, Americans ages 65 and older will reach 80 million in 2040—more than doubling the current number. Older Americans remain in the workforce longer and face widening economic disparities, especially in our communities of color. As our population ages, we need to ensure that our seniors are protected throughout their golden years. This bill package would expand Medicare eligibility and senior housing protections, implement elder abuse prevention training for senior service providers and establish an Office of Older Adult Workforce Development within the State Office for the Aging. I am proud to support my Senate colleagues in expanding protections for elder New Yorkers.”

Senator James Skoufis said, “As our communities age and the needs of our elder friends, family, and neighbors continue to shift, we must ensure that New York's quality of life protections meet the moment. I am thrilled to join my majority colleagues in taking decisive steps to support our elder community at work and at home.”

Senator Kevin Thomas said, “The New York State Senate Majority is committed to supporting older adults and their families. I am proud to support this important package of legislation, which will strengthen protections against elder abuse and enhance quality of life for seniors across our state.”