Dear Friends:

This week, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into office as the 46th President and 49th Vice President of the United States, respectively. I send my best wishes to the new administration and wish them luck in their plans to help our nation build back stronger.

On Tuesday, January 19th, Governor Andrew Cuomo released the 2021-2022 Executive Budget Proposal. Click here to watch the Governor's presentation. The 2021-2022 Executive Budget Briefing Book is available here. The official Joint Budget Hearings hosted by the Senate & Assembly to receive input on the Executive Budget Proposal have been announced. Click here for a list of the upcoming hearings and information on how to request to testify.

The Coronavirus Pandemic has decimated state revenues, and it is clear that we must commit to finding new revenues to share the burden equitably with those who can most afford it. As Chair of the Senate Education Committee, my top priority is to ensure increased funding for education to—at a minimum—meet the state's constitutional obligation to provide a sound basic education. Furthermore, I believe that we must confront the inequities laid bare by the pandemic and invest in the programs, services, and infrastructure to build back stronger. In addition to increased funding for education, I am pushing for the expansion of full day Pre-K for districts outside of New York City; free broadband for every student across the state; and ensuring adequate resources for compensatory education initiatives to help students meet learning benchmarks, particularly for students with special needs. I am committed to working with my colleagues to find a path forward that meets the acute need for additional funding for schools and other essential programs and services necessary for equity in the education system.

During this week's Legislative Session, I was pleased to join the Senate Majority Conference in adopting a package of legislation to help small businesses during this terribly difficult economic period. Included in the package was my bill, S.18A, to require the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) to increase outreach efforts about the Shared Work program. This important program helps small businesses reduce payroll expenses while keeping employees on payroll, and it helps workers by allowing them to collect Unemployment Insurance benefits proportional to reduced work hours. Read more about this package of legislation in the section below.

As always, if there is anything my office can assist you with, please don't hesitate to email me at or call (914) 934-5250.
Shelley B. Mayer
State Senator
37th District
Vaccine Distribution Resources & Update
A new COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker is available to check on the status of the state's vaccine distribution. As of Friday, January 22nd, New York State has administered over 1,000,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. Over 80% of the doses allocated to the Mid-Hudson Region have been administered.

I share your frustration in the rollout of the vaccine distribution. My colleagues and I are pushing the state to improve the system. There are a number of problems including not having enough vaccine doses to supply the distribution system and confusion surrounding where and how to make an appointment. Additionally, I know many of you are trying to help eligible parents and grandparents secure an appointment, and the search for an appointment feels like a matter of life and death. We have been waiting almost a year for the vaccine to finally be available and protect us and our loved ones, and now it is finally within reach. My hopes are with the new federal administration increasing vaccine production to a level that can meet demand locally. I will keep you apprised of any new developments as they are made public.

New Yorkers can use the Am I Eligible to determine if they are eligible and make an appointment at a New York State-run vaccination site. The Westchester state-run vaccination site is currently full. Please check back daily for new appointments. The hotline number to call is 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829). I recognize that it is difficult to get through to someone during this period of pent up demand for the vaccine. There are also a limited number of pharmacies that have vaccine doses for those who are 65 years and older. I recommend you call your local pharmacy and see if appointments are available.

If you have made an appointment for the vaccine, please fill out the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Form, available here, and bring it with you to your appointment.

New Legislation Advanced to Help Small Business Build Back Stronger
Small businesses in our communities are often owned and operated by people who live, work and pay taxes locally. They are our neighbors, and small business success is pivotal to the success of our communities. On Tuesday, January 19th, I was glad to join the Senate Majority Conference in adopting a package of legislation to help small businesses during this painful time. The bills include establishing a commercial eviction and foreclosure moratorium; creating a maximum fee limit on third-party food delivery services to protect local restaurants (as Westchester County already does); and freezing unemployment insurance premiums, among other measures outlined below.

Included in the package is also my bill, S.18A, to require the NYSDOL to increase outreach efforts about the Shared Work program and have information available on the Department’s website in order to expand the number of employers who choose to participate in this unique program. In September, I was honored to work with the Westchester County Association to host an informational presentation with the NYSDOL to promote the program in Westchester, but we must get the word out around the state.

Bills Adopted by the Senate Majority to Support Small Businesses:

  • Increased Outreach From DOL on the Shared Work Program (S.18A, Mayer): Creates a requirement for the Department of Labor to increase their efforts to provide information to employers about shared work program eligibility and have information available on the Department’s website. The shared work program can help reduce layoffs and is fully funded by the federal CARES Act.
  • Small Business Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium (S.471A, Kaplan): Establishes the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Business Act to protect small businesses with COVID-19 related financial hardships from eviction and foreclosure until May 1. 
  • Third-Party Restaurant Posting (S.1630A, Savino): Prohibits any third party food delivery platform from listing, selling, or advertising products of any food service establishment without a written agreement with them.
  • Restricting Third-Party Delivery Fees (S.1554B, Kavanagh): Creates a maximum limit for the total fee that can be charged to a food service establishment by a third-party food delivery service (such as Grubhub, Seamless, Postmates, Doordash, etc.)
  • Freezing Employers' Unemployment Insurance Premiums (S.1197, Persaud): Freezes New York State’s unemployment insurance experience rating for one year for layoffs and closures that occurred due to COVID-19. This action will prevent significant increases in costs to employers who have experienced higher unemployment rates in 2020. 
  • Partial Unemployment Insurance (S.1042A, Ramos): Establishes a system of partial-unemployment. This would shift the current calculation that any day of work leads to a 25% reduction in benefits, and instead would reduce benefits by an amount proportional with the amount earned. This legislation will help incentivize part-time work by reducing the disincentive that a day of work will lead to a disproportionate reduction of benefits.

I recognize the pain that small business owners have had to endure during the pandemic. My colleagues and I are committed to doing all we can to support small businesses during this difficult time and secure the resources and policies they need to build back stronger.

New "Hours-Based" Rule for Calculating Unemployment Insurance Benefits
The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) is implementing a new "hours-based" rule for calculating Unemployment Insurance benefits. The new rule applies to traditional unemployment and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

Previously, workers could lose a quarter of their weekly unemployment benefit for each day they worked, regardless of how few hours they may have worked.

The new "hours-based" rule dictates that benefits are reduced in increments depending on the number of hours worked per week.

New "hours-based" rule for calculating unemployment benefits:
  • Worked 0 to 4 hours in a week: entitled to receive 100% of benefit;
  • Worked 5-10 hours in a week: entitled to receive 75% of benefit;
  • Worked 11-20 hours in a week: entitled to receive 50% of benefit;
  • Worked 21-30 hours in a week: entitled to receive 25% of benefit.

According to NYSDOL’s guidance, if you work more than 10 hours in one day, you should only report the first 10 hours from that day in your weekly total. Workers do not qualify for Unemployment Insurance benefits if they work more than 31 hours or receive more than $504 in gross earnings in a week. The new "hours-based" rule applies to the work week ending on Sunday, January 24th, and indefinitely thereafter. Click here to learn more about the new “hours-based” rule.

COVID Rent Relief: February 1, 2021 Deadline to Apply
The COVID Rent Relief Program can provide up to 4 months of rental assistance to NYS tenants who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The deadline to apply is February 1, 2021. To find out more about the program, eligibility, and how to apply, visit the Homes and Community Renewal website here. Applications are available in multiple languages including Spanish.

First Senate Education Committee Meeting of the Year
On Wednesday, January 20th, I was pleased to Chair the first Senate Education Committee meeting of the year. There is no higher responsibility for our state than to provide a quality education for every student. Click here to watch the meeting and read about the bills advanced by the committee.

Honoring Assemblyman David Buchwald for His Service
Pictured: Assemblyman David Buchwald and his wife Lara, Senator Shelley B. Mayer, and President of the Westchester-Putnam Central Labor Body Tom Carey.
On Thursday, January 21st, I co-hosted a tribute to Assemblyman David Buchwald with Senator Pete Harckham. Assemblyman Buchwald served in the NY State Assembly for eight years where he championed integrity in government and fought tirelessly on behalf of his constituents. Among Assemblyman Buchwald’s major achievements include an amendment to the New York State Constitution to enable courts to strip taxpayer-funded government pensions from officials who have been found guilty of corruption related to their public duties. Thank you to the many elected officials and organizational advocates who joined us for the tribute. Click here to watch the tribute.

Zoom Training for Seniors
The pandemic forced much of our lives to go virtual. Meetings, events, and community gatherings are now happening online, and this can end up excluding seniors and others who lack the digital means or familiarity with the new platform to join. Volunteer New York! is offering Zoom Training for Seniors for those who would like to become more familiar with the platform. Learn Zoom with a one-on-one training in the comfort of your home via phone and on your computer or cellphone. The training lasts about 30 minutes, and it is scheduled at a time of your convenience. To schedule a training, email or call (914) 227-9311.

January 30: Coat & Toiletries Drive
Sponsored by Senator Shelley Mayer's Youth Advisory Council
In honor of the MLK Day of Service, my Youth Advisory Council is organizing a Coat & Toiletries Drive on Saturday, January 30th from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester, 515 North Street, White Plains, NY 10605.

Suggested Donations:
Coats (adult sized, new or gently used)
Soap, Toothpaste, & Toothbrushes
Socks, Gloves, & Cloth Face Masks

Collection will take place in the rear parking lot of the YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester. Volunteers wearing face masks and gloves will collect donations from the car. No need for donors to step out of their vehicles. All donations will benefit people in need working with the Westchester Labor Alliance (WLA), a coalition of 5 community-based worker centers. WLA is committed to defending workers and fighting wage theft. Click here for a flyer to share with interested friends and family. If you have any questions about this event or are interested in joining the Youth Advisory Council, please email my staff member Perla Arellano at or call (914) 934-5250.
222 Grace Church Street, Suite 300
Port Chester, NY 10573
Phone: (914) 934-5250 --- Email: