Wednesday, March 3, 2021

A different kind of lobby day

lobby day 2020It’s hard to believe it’s already March 2021. One year ago I was getting my feet wet at the state Capitol, setting up shop at a table in the Legislative Correspondent’s Association offices on the third floor. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was beginning to hold more “Red Rooms,” meaning press conferences, about the coronavirus.

As of mid-March, I had stopped going to the Capitol. Since then, as with so many other folks, I have made home my workshop. While I am lucky to be able to conduct my job over email, the phone, Zoom and a few distanced in-person visits, I noticed just how different things are when advocacy groups posted on Twitter about the Adirondack Park lobbying day last week. 

Last year during lobbying day, dozens and dozens of people gathered to talk about issues that mattered most to them around the Adirondacks. They wore matching scarves to identify themselves as Adirondack advocates while they traversed the halls and offices in the Capitol’s complex. This year, like most everything else, the lobbying was done on video chat.

My lead to that story last year appears to include nearly the same messages advocates brought to legislators this year, “calling for more forest rangers, more funding to protect the area from overuse, bolstering of the Adirondack Park Agency and strengthening laws to protect Adirondack waters.”

The Adirondack Council, one of the nonprofits leading lobbying day, said it was a great virtual turnout this year and more than 100 people registered.

We’ll see how policy in the Adirondacks unfolds over the next several months when the state Legislature passes the budget (by April 1) and legislation is taken up in committee and possibly to the floor.

We are also keeping track of things in Ray Brook where the Adirondack Park Agency is housed. There are a slew of projects and permits up for public comment, which you can get a short overview of here in case you missed it. We also had news that Chad Dawson, the APA board member who resigned at the end of the year, is now on the board for Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve. And finally, we followed up with an APA enforcement case from Warren County. We’ll continue to follow the court records.

Photo by Gwen Craig

This first appeared in Gwen’s “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Gwen is the environmental policy reporter for Adirondack Explorer.

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