2021 State of the State Proposals
During Governor Cuomo’s press conference today he announced that he plans to include a proposal to “legalize and create an equitable adult-use cannabis program as part of the 2021 State of the State” address. The proposal would include the creation of a new Office of Cannabis Management that would regulate State medical and adult-use cannabis and cannabinoid programs as well as work to create an equitable market structure for the investment in individuals and communities disproportionately impacted by prohibition.
In addition to the proposed adult-use cannabis program the Governor also announced a second proposal that would enable online sports wagering as part of his State of the State address. The online sport wagering proposal would instruct the New York State Gaming Commission to issue an RFP to select and license a sports operator or platform to offer mobile sports wagering in the State. This operator or platform would be required to have an existing partnership with one of the currently licensed commercial casinos.
Full details for both proposals should become available with the publishing of the Governor’s full 2021 State of the State address set to start on Monday January 11th.
Governor Cuomo indicated this week the roll out of COVID vaccinations by hospitals in the State has been greatly increased from an average of just over 10,800 per day for the previous three weeks to now over 31,000 per day in the first two days of this week. With this increase in tier 1A priority participants being vaccinated, the State will still be limited by the estimated 300,000 vaccine dosages it is currently supplied with weekly.
Once all healthcare workers and tier 1A priority individuals have been vaccinated the State will move to tier 1B, including:
- Education Workers – 870,000* people
- First Responders (Police and Firefighters) – 207,000* people
- Public Safety Workers – 100,000* people
- Public Transit Workers – 100,000* people
- Individuals 75 and older – 1,300,000* people
*New York State issued estimates
With the hope for approval of additional vaccines from other manufacturers on top of what the State is currently receiving the Governor estimated that “March and April” could be when the general public will be able to start receiving the vaccine. To accommodate the public the State plans to have in place a distribution system that includes pharmacies, doctor networks, hospitals, federally-qualified health centers, and State-run drive-thru immunization centers at various locations, including SUNY and CUNY campuses.
Federal Stimulus Relief
With the presumed projection for the U.S. Senate to be flipped to Democratic control, Governor Cuomo stated that New York would no longer be a “victim” of the federal government. It is his hope that this could clear the way for the State to more easily deal with the projected $15 billion deficit in this year’s budget as well as assist in dealing with the looming housing crisis of “tenants that can’t pay back rent, landlords who can’t pay their mortgages.” The Governor continued that “we have small businesses that need loans to reopen because they’ve been devastated, we have restaurants that need to be refinanced” in addition to dealing with the “post-COVID world,” all of which needs to be considered moving forward.
New York State COVID-19 Numbers
The statewide positivity rate yesterday was 8.41% with 8,665 hospitalizations, an increase of 75 people over the previous day. There were 161 COVID-19 deaths in New York State yesterday.