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Today marks the first day of the New York State legislative session. With Covid-19 cases soaring and many still struggling to make ends meet, New York needs to take swift and long-term action to put the health and safety of workers and communities over corporate profit.

Black and Latinx New Yorkers have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Our state leaders need to protect frontline workers and communities by setting enforceable health and safety standards and making sure that everyone has access to PPE through the HERO Act.

The very same communities and workers hit hardest by the pandemic are also on the frontlines of another deadly crisis: climate change. This legislative session, New York’s leaders have the opportunity to tackle climate change while fixing our broken economy and acting on systemic racial injustice.

Here’s how New York can lead on building a long-term, just recovery from the pandemic:

  1. By passing the Green Transit, Green Jobs bills, New York will invest our public dollars in clean air and good jobs in Black and Brown communities. The bills would electrify our state’s bus fleets to reduce emissions and make sure that the transition creates good manufacturing jobs in communities that need them most.
  2. Our friends at New York Renews have been leading the charge on climate action for years. This session, NY Renews is working to pass the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA), which will create good climate jobs through funding by a polluter penalty fee. Passing the CCIA would also help New York lead on electrifying our school bus fleets so kids and communities can breathe clean air — and create good, green jobs, too.

To recover from the pandemic, we need to invest every public dollar to do the most public good for workers and communities. That means putting good jobs, clean air, and racial equity at the core of this legislative session’s agenda.

Image: MTA/Flickr

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