Written by the Press-Republican on June 12, 2020

Jones co-sponsors bill to protect school funding

ALBANY — A bill co-sponsored by Assemblyman D. Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake) would provide tax relief to North Country schools and taxpayers, according to a press release.

The legislation, which has passed both the Assembly and State Senate, would help ensure that schools that have closed due to COVID-19 without the presence of a declared state of emergency will not have state aid withheld.

“Our school districts shouldn’t have to fear cuts in state funding due to circumstances beyond their control,” Jones said in a statement.

“Furthermore, our property taxpayers shouldn’t have to see their tax rates skyrocket to make up for this lost aid.

“This legislation would help provide our students with much-needed aid while also protecting North Country taxpayers from painful rate hikes during this difficult time.”

The bill was delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on June 5.

President signs Stefanik-supported bill into law

SARATOGA — Last week, President Donald Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) cosponsored, into law.

The legislation, among other things, extends the period businesses can utilize and receive forgiveness for PPP loans to 24 weeks, and allows a greater portion of the loans to be used for non-payroll expenses, a press release said.

“This was a top priority of our North Country seasonal businesses who need greater flexibility to recover and I fought hard to deliver this result,” Stefanik said in a statement.

“Our small businesses will greatly benefit from the implementation of this legislation. I will continue to advocate for real solutions for our North Country business owners as they reopen and recover from the COVID-19 crisis.”

Stefanik cosponsors Great American Outdoors Act

SARATOGA — On Monday, North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) announced she was cosponsoring the Great American Outdoors Act, which would support the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund.

According to a press release, the bill “will support the nearly $22 billion backlog of deferred maintenance projects on federal lands and also makes funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) permanent.”

In a statement, Stefanik said the legislation will restore national park and public lands, preserve the natural landscape, protect recreation areas and create jobs.

“As co-chair of the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, I have been a longtime advocate for permanently authorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund as well as the Restore Our Parks Act, which are both included in this bill.

“President Trump has called on Congress to pass this legislation, and I am very encouraged by the Senate moving this forward and a House companion bill gaining strong bipartisan support.”

Little/Jones bill passes both houses

ALBANY — On Thursday, State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) and Assemblyman D. Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake) announced that a bill they had sponsored to identify the St. Regis River as an inland waterway had passed both the Assembly and State senate.

The designation allows for grant opportunities so that North Country communities can develop a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.

“Our waterfronts are tremendous assets,” Little said in a statement.

“Well-planned stewardship of this natural resource can create a real ‘win-win’ by helping communities find the best balance of environmental protection with maximum economic opportunity.”

“Revitalized waterfronts will allow our communities to showcase their natural beauty, helping boost tourism efforts and attract new investment,” Jones said in a statement.

“This designation is a huge win for our communities, and will open up grant opportunities for the several neighborhoods that surround the St. Regis River.”

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