The NYSPHA Policy and Advocacy Committee is continuing to develop the full 2021 NYSPHA State Budgetary and Legislative Goals. Agenda items will be posted when available.

2021 NYSPHA State Budgetary and Legislative Goals

NYSPHA is the New York State affiliate of the American Public Health Association and serves as a statewide organization representing members from all disciplines of public health. NYSPHA’s mission is to promote and protect the public’s health through networking, professional development, advocacy and education.

NYSACHO represents the collective voice of local health departments in New York State. NYSACHO’s mission is to support, advocate for, and empower local health departments in their work to promote health and wellness to prevent disease, disability and injury throughout New York State.

NYSPHA State Budgetary Goals

In past years, NYSPHA’s budget recommendations to the Governor have included detailed recommendations for funding specific components of the public health infrastructure including topics such as supporting local health departments, chronic disease prevention, tobacco control, public water supply protection, and other issues of public health importance. Our comments have focused on the fact that public health has been underfunded traditionally, even before the current circumstances, and that opportunities to prevent disease have gone unaddressed.

However, this year the challenges presented by the COVID19 pandemic will require an innovative approach to budgeting. Therefore, NYSPHA’s budget recommendations to the Governor for his proposed 2021 Executive Budget focus on our recommendations to raise the revenue necessary to support the public health infrastructure in general, including support for the state and local health and mental health departments, and to avoid any funding reductions for health and public health programs.

NYSPHA recommended three possible sources of new revenue to avoid public health budget cuts: 1. Increase the cigarette and other tobacco taxes by $1 per pack equivalent, 2. Institute a “billionaires’ tax”, and 3. Institute a Sugar Sweetened Beverage (SSB) tax. NYSPHA has also separately endorsed the idea of a stock transfer tax.

Unfortunately, the proposed NYS Executive Budget for 2021-2022 did not incorporate any of these new sources of revenue and numerous public health lines in the State Department of Health’s budget were reduced by as much as 100% for some programs. The Article 6 General Public Health Work Program reimbursement rate for New York City for expenditures over the base grant was reduced by 50%, a loss of over $17 million for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Read PDF here.

NYSPHA has joined a coalition of public health organizations in New York State to call upon the state legislature to restore these cuts to public health programs.  See the attached sign on letter

NYSPHA State Legislative Goals

1. Tobacco-related issues.

a. Ban on the sale of menthol-flavored tobacco products (other flavors are already banned).   
The Senate and Assembly bills prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products S.84 (Hoylman) / A.3499 (Bichotte Hermelyn)have been reintroduced for the 2021 Legislative SessionNY
SPHA is working with a coalition of partners including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the NAACP. 

Opponents say a ban would be discriminatory to African Americans; however, it is actually the tobacco industry that has historically targeted menthol cigarettes to that community and are responsible for the health disparities that this community suffers as a result.

b. Tobacco-free college campuses in New York.       This is especially important now that it’s known it’s a risk for worsening COVID-19 outcomes in smokers. All CUNY campuses, NYU and perhaps others are now tobacco free.

Current bills in the NYS Assembly and Senate A08199 (Glick)/S05788A (Stavisky) would amend the public health law to prohibit smoking and vaping on the grounds or other outdoor areas of public colleges and universities. Current list of Smoke-free and Tobacco-Free U.S. and Tribal Colleges and Universities. Access the PDF here.

c. Clean Indoor Air Act amendments. 

NYSPHA is supporting the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO) in seeking the following amendments:

i. Amend definition of indoor air spaces

ii. Repeal provision that forbids DOH from promulgating regulations

iii. Smoking ban in public places such as parks.

A.2299/S.2655 (Dinowitz/Stavisky): AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to prohibiting smoking in certain outdoor areas.

d. NYSPHA is seeking opportunities to implement the recommendations of the report supported by a consortium of public health organizations titled Tobacco Control Enforcement for Racial Equity: Decriminalizing Commercial Tobacco Addressing Systemic Racism in the Enforcement of Commercial Tobacco Control. Oct 2020 (co-authored by NYSPHA-PAC member Sean Haley) in New York State.

2. Allow pharmacists to provide all recommended adult immunizations

For the second year in a row, Governor Cuomo included a provision in proposed 2021-2022 executive budget to expand pharmacists’ authority to administer all immunizations recommended for adults by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Sections 3-4 of Part P of the Health and Mental Hygiene 2021- 2022 proposed Executive Budget, (S.2507/A.3007). Although this provision was not included in the final budget, similar legislation has been proposed (S. 4807 Stavisky/A.6476 Hyndman ). This legislation would allow pharmacists to provide vaccines for human papilloma virus (the cause of cervical cancer), hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps and rubella, in addition to COVID-19. 

At this time of great stress on the healthcare system due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative to have all components of the system able to provide life-saving vaccines. We strongly urge the Legislature to pass S. 4807 Stavisky/A.6476 Hyndman this session to proactively address this public health imperative.

Read the memo of support here.

The NYSPHA Policy and Advocacy Committee will continue to update the 2021 State Budgetary and Legislative Goals as new issues arise. The current version of the full 2021 NYSPHA State Budgetary and Legislative Goals can be viewed here

Read NYSPHA's 2021 budget recommendations letter to Governor Cuomo here.

To read last year's (2020) Legislative Agenda, click here

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