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Aug 27
Albany Update: Hochul Appoints Benjamin as LG, Big I NY and Small Biz Groups Urge Caution on Activating HERO Act

On Tuesday, Kathy Hochul was sworn in as the 57th Governor of New York, pledging civility and a departure from the tactics of the former administration. On Thursday, she appointed state senator Brian Benjamin (D, Harlem) to serve as her Lieutenant Governor, to be sworn in after Labor Day. Benjamin holds an MBA from Harvard Business school, and previously worked as an affordable housing developer and investment banker at Morgan Stanley. He was first elected to the State Senate in 2017, and ran unsuccessfully for New York City Comptroller in 2021. We look forward to working with Governor Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Benjamin to ensure a vibrant future for the state's independent insurance agencies and the customers we serve. 

Also this week, Senator Mike Gianaris (D, Queens) and Assemblywoman Karines Reyes (D, Bronx) sent a letter to Governor Hochul, urging her to activate the newly-enacted HERO Act. The HERO Act requires businesses to establish stringent safety protocols, and make potentially costly expenditures for PPE, capacity and staffing restrictions, and other measures. Big I NY, along with two dozen other business groups pushed back publicly, noting that the move would be unwarranted and extremely damaging to struggling small businesses. Said Ashley Ranslow, Assistant State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business:

“Reinstating COVID-era restrictions would be the nail in the coffin for many small businesses that have fought desperately to keep their businesses afloat and employees working. Recovery is still a long way away and small businesses and the state's economy cannot afford to take a step backward with capacity restrictions and strict and costly protocols."

Read the joint letter to Governor Hochul here.

As a reminder, employers currently have compliance obligations under the HERO Act, including the establishment of an Airborne Infectious Disease Prevention Plan and other requirements. Learn more what you are required to do here


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