Ag initiatives, caregivers among topics at Buttenschon virtual town hall

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UTICA — Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119, Marcy, recently hosted a virtual town hall meeting to address a number of constituent concerns, which included funding for agriculture initiatives, the appointing of essential caregivers and school funding, among other topics.

The assemblywoman also discussed two bills she is co-sponsoring, both of which relate to COVID-19 relief.

“To be effective, I need to know what the people I represent care about and support legislation that will help our community,” Buttenschon said. “One of the biggest concerns expressed in the meeting was the Cuomo’s administration’s undercounting and dismissal of COVID-19 deaths and the essential caregivers act.”

“Last April, my colleague Sen. (Joseph) Griffo and I called on the State to protect nursing home residents,” Buttenschon added. “At the time we called out the governor’s dangerous plan of ordering nursing homes and long-term care facilities to accept patients and residents who had tested positive – or who were suspected of being positive – into their care.”

“I also introduced legislation which would establish limits on the governor’s emergency powers by establishing a 30-day limit on disaster declarations and to provide for greater legislative authority over the granting of a disaster declaration to the governor,” she said. “The governor’s actions constitute a blatant betrayal of public trust for which my thoughts have already been made clear.”

Buttenschon said she was also one of the first supporters of a bill (A.3162/S.2067) that would establish a state commission to independently study and investigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic response on deaths in nursing homes.  

Another bill brought up in the town hall would authorize the state Department of Health (DOH) to develop regulations and allow family members and legal guardians of nursing home residents to provide them with “compassionate caregiving visitation,” Buttenschon said. The bill (A.1052-B) is designed to ease the mental and emotional burden that prolonged isolation has caused for nursing home and long-term care facility residents.

In addition, the assemblywoman said, the state budget and the state budget process were also discussed at length in the virtual event.

Buttenschon’s virtual town hall has been recorded, the assemblywoman said, and is available for public viewing on her on her website at: www.nyassembly.gov/mem/Marianne-Buttenschon.

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