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Cuomo issues executive order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees

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Wed, Jun 17th 2020 04:00 pm

Governor will advance legislation to make Juneteenth an official state holiday next year

Cuomo announces lowest percentage of positive COVID-19 test results since pandemic began

Governor signs legislation prohibiting health care employers from penalizing employees for making complaints of employer violations

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday issued an executive order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees, in recognition of the official emancipation of African Americans throughout the United States. The governor will also advance legislation to make Juneteenth an official state holiday next year.

"Friday is Juneteenth – a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States – and it's a day that is especially relevant in this moment in history," Cuomo said. "Although slavery ended over 150 years ago, there has still been rampant, systemic discrimination and injustice in this state and this nation, and we have been working to enact real reforms to address these inequalities. I am going to issue an executive order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees, and I'll propose legislation next year to make it an official state holiday so New Yorkers can use this day to reflect on all the changes we still need to make to create a more fair, just and equal society."

Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman said, " ‘When peace come they read the Emancipation law to the slaves people, they spent that night singin’ and shoutin.’ They wasn't slaves no more.’ Former slave Pierce Harper, 1937 WPA Slave Narratives of Texas, speaking about hearing he was free two-and-half years after his given freedom in Texas, New York. Black Emancipation Day, June 19, 1865, also known as Juneteenth, is pivotal in the joy, congregation, and spiritual wellbeing of black people in America. I am pleased that the work I have done to solidify Juneteenth as a holiday in the state of New York is coming to fruition. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the governor to ensure black history and liberation stays at the forefront of progress."

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when the news of liberation came to Texas more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on Jan. 1, 1863. African Americans across the state were made aware of their right to freedom on this day when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with federal troops to read General Order No. 3 announcing the end of the Civil War and that all enslaved were now free, as well as to maintain a presence in Texas for the purpose of enforcement of emancipation among slave-owners throughout the state.

•Cuomo announced the state reached the lowest percentage of positive COVID-19 tests since the pandemic began. Out of the 59,341 tests conducted in New York on Tuesday, only 567, or less than 1%, were positive.

•The governor also signed legislation (S.8397-A/A.10326-A) prohibiting health care employers from penalizing employees for making complaints of employer violations. This new law will provide medical professionals with greater protections and allow them to speak more freely about their working conditions and employee or patient safety in the workplace.

Senator Diane J. Savino said, "I'm glad that Gov. Cuomo took swift action to sign this bill into law, particularly as we continue to reopen. Employees should not have to work in an unsafe environment as we come out of a pandemic, especially those in the health care field. We must ensure all protections are given to individuals if they sound the alarm on unsafe worksites in order to guarantee the numbers infected are kept to an absolute minimum."

Assembly Member Karines Reyes said, "Leading the fight for the Healthcare Whistleblower Protection Bill is a great source of pride for me. COVID has given the public a glimpse into common hazardous situations we providers know all too well. It is the duty of health care workers to protect the lives of our patients, even to the detriment of our own. We take an oath and swear to do no harm. By strengthening these protections, we secure the wellbeing of all medical staff, patients, and visitors by not limiting the right to speak against unsafe working conditions and patient care standards."

•Cuomo said the New York State Department of Financial Services has reached an agreement with New York's credit reporting industry to help New York consumers facing hardship caused by COVID-19 to avoid unjustified negative impacts on consumers' credit reports. DFS also urges New York state-regulated financial institutions to furnish credit information in ways that minimizes negative impacts on consumers.

Credit reporting agencies will:

√ Provide one free credit report each month through November 2020;

√ Inform financial institutions of procedures that allow institutions to report missed or delinquent payments in ways that minimize the impact on consumers' credit histories and credit scores;

√ Apprise financial institutions of their credit reporting obligations under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides relief for consumers; and

√ Communicate with financial institutions about credit reporting that may not comply with the requirements of the CARES Act.

•Cuomo also announced the state has reached the lowest number of deaths since the pandemic began. Seventeen people in New York passed away yesterday due to COVID-19, down from a record-high of 800 just nine weeks ago.

Each region's percentage of positive tests over the past three days is as follows:

 

REGION

SUNDAY

MONDAY

TUESDAY

New York City

1.30%

1.20%

1.20%

Capital Region

0.70%

0.70%

0.30%

Central New York

1.30%

1.40%

1.10%

Finger Lakes

0.40%

0.60%

0.60%

Long Island

0.90%

1.00%

0.70%

Hudson Valley

1.00%

1.00%

0.90%

Mohawk Valley

0.70%

1.40%

0.60%

North Country

0.00%

0.20%

0.30%

Southern Tier

0.50%

0.20%

0.10%

Western New York

1.40%

1.00%

1.00%

 

The governor also confirmed 567 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 385,142 confirmed cases.

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