Legislation Will Ensure Local Control, Protect Vulnerable Populations From Being Displaced
Albany, NY – Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, along with Senators Rob Rolison, Bill Weber and members of the Senate Republican conference today blasted the lack of leadership and transparency from state officials that has left New York communities in crisis dealing with an influx of migrants following the expiration of the Title 42 Order by the Biden Administration.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who indicated the City is struggling to keep up with the incoming flow of migrants, announced he would begin bussing migrants to Rockland and Orange Counties, despite the counties not being properly equipped with resources to handle it. One Orange County hotel even forced homeless veterans to leave to make room for the migrants.
“The outrageous refusal of the federal government to secure our southern border has hit home. This crisis of competence has been deepened and prolonged by Governor Hochul's failure to communicate and to lead when local governments are crying out for help. Stuck in the middle of this emergency are homeless veterans, victims of domestic violence, and other groups of the vulnerable and voiceless who stand to lose access to shelter and critical services thanks to New York City's misguided migrant busing policy. Residents of Orange County and our Hudson Valley region don't deserve this,” said Senator Rob Rolison (39th District).
“For too long, Albany has been about top down, we know better, one size fits all solutions to complex and diverse problems. Enough. It is time to increase local control, return power back to our county, city, town and village officials to allow them to make decisions about what is best for their communities without interference from the state,” said Senator Bill Weber (38th District).
“New York City and New York State declared themselves a sanctuary, and now that it is creating a problem, they are pushing that problem to other communities with no transparency, no communication, and no resources. The lack of leadership on this issue has been shameful – the public deserves answers, municipalities deserve the right to make decisions in the best interests of their communities, and our most vulnerable populations – including our veterans – deserve to be assured that they will not be displaced in order to house migrants,” said Senator Ortt.
The Senators wrote a letter to the Governor in the wake of her Executive Order last week that declared a State of Emergency due to the expected surge of migrants into New York State following the expiration of the Title 42 Order by the Biden Administration.
In the letter, the Senators ask for greater transparency as to where migrants will be housed, where monies are being spent, and better communication between the administration and local municipalities where migrants might be relocated.
“With that, local elected officials should have the option to decline hosting migrants in their communities should they not have the necessary accommodations and other resources. This local option is imperative to ensuring local municipalities are held harmless and are adequately prepared,” the Senators wrote.
In addition, Senators Rolison and Weber announced the introduction of two pieces of legislation to help alleviate the ongoing crisis and prevent similar chaos in the future. A bill (S.6995), sponsored by Senator Weber, would clarify that a local state of emergency supersedes a state of emergency issued by the Governor when the two are in conflict. This would restore local control, and allow municipalities to make decisions in the best interests of their communities.
Another piece of legislation (S.7009), sponsored by Senator Rolison, would protect vulnerable populations – including veterans, victims of domestic violence, and the disabled – by prohibiting them from being ejected from a hotel, motel or shelter in order to make room for migrants.
A copy of the letter to the Governor, signed by every member of the Senate Republican Conference, is attached.