The year 2021 was another busy one for the Nassau County Legislature. As we enter 2022, I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the key initiatives from last year that were passed by the Legislature and signed into law.
—We approved millions in Covid-19 relief funds to provide financial assistance to our residents and small businesses. We also passed emergency funding measures to ensure that our first responders, health professionals, economic development agencies and other organizations had the necessary resources required to address the ongoing hardships faced by our families and communities in battling the pandemic.
—In response to New York state legalizing the recreational use and sale of cannabis products for individuals 21 and older wherever smoking is allowed under the Clean Air Act, we created a law that prohibits the smoking or vaping of cannabis at all county-owned facilities. Currently, the smoking of tobacco is prohibited at county-owned properties. This legislation helps clear up any confusion by the public and reinforces that smoking of any kind is not permitted at county properties along with the vaping of cannabis as well. In addition, we passed a bill amending Nassau County’s Social Host Law to help prevent the consumption of cannabis by minors in private homes.
—We passed a bill creating a new school bus camera program that will impose fines on drivers who illegally go around or pass school buses with their stop sign out and lights flashing. These cameras will help make sure our students are safe when boarding and exiting buses, by hopefully prompting more drivers to follow the law and putting our children less at risk.
—After hearing reports of members of the law enforcement community and first responders being refused service at restaurants, fast food establishments, coffee shops, food trucks and retail stores, we passed a law that that prohibits such businesses or their employees from refusing to serve these individuals based on that criteria.
—The Legislature established a special revenue fund that will ensure every dollar received from millions of dollars in settlements resulting from a class action lawsuit against several opioid manufacturers and pharmacies will go toward prevention, treatment and education programs specifically targeting the opioid epidemic. Without the special fund, the settlement proceeds would be placed into the county’s general fund, where they could be spent for purposes wholly unrelated to the opioid crisis.
—As vice chairman of the Veteran & Senior Affairs Committee and to help veterans that are part of the Nassau County government employee workforce and need medical help, especially those suffering from post-traumatic stress, I introduced a bill that provides up to an additional five paid days off. This time can be used for VA appointments, physical therapy or psychological or stress-related treatment.
As your legislator, I am grateful for the support you continue to provide, and I look forward to taking on the challenges that lie ahead in 2022. I hope your holiday season was filled with joy and happiness along with good health that will remain throughout the New Year.
Gaylor is a county legislator for Legislative District 6, which comprises Malverne, Lynbrook, North Lynbrook, Valley Stream and portions of Rockville Centre, Hewlett, Franklin Square and Woodmere.