Wednesday, January 10, 2024

2024 legislative session

A senator and assemblyman


Lawmakers are back in Albany for a busy session before November’s elections. We have a round-up of some of the bills and other forest preserve-related business we are watching here.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is set to deliver her State of the State address [Jan. 9] in the Assembly chambers. She revealed some of her priority initiatives in press conferences over the last couple of weeks. Some of them include more state investment in swimming opportunities, establishing paid prenatal leave, addressing how literacy is taught in schools and protecting consumers from unfair business practices.

In case you missed it, in her last days of 2023 the governor signed legislation protecting pollinators from certain pesticides, with amendments made to appease the farming lobby. She also passed legislation banning some wildlife hunting contests. Read more here.

swallowtail butterfly on a flower

A swallowtail butterfly on a coneflower. Photo by Mike Lynch.

Adirondack Park Agency:

The APA will meet at 9 a.m. on Thursday. You can view the full agenda and learn how to attend virtually or in-person here: Of note, the agency will recap its state land classification package proposal with plans to forward it to Hochul for her approval. The agency will also hear from the state Department of Environmental Conservation on proposed changes to the Lake George Beach and Battlefield Park unit management plan to address the reinterment of 18th-century human remains. We wrote about their discovery in 2020:


View all APA public comment and hearing opportunities at:

  • Applicant Richard Finley is proposing a four-lot subdivision
    on 13 Badger Road in the town of Saranac. It would create a 30±-acre lot improved by an existing single family dwelling and three vacant building lots sized approximately 36 acres, 26 acres and 54 acres, respectively. No new development is proposed, according to the APA’s project description. Comments are due by Jan. 11. To submit comments and review the site plans, go to


Environmental Notice Bulletin:

View all the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s weekly environmental notice bulletin projects. The latest in the Adirondacks include the following:

  • The DEC is proposing to adopt a draft recreation management plan for the Big Moose Tract Conservation Easement in the town of Webb. The project includes “continued public hiking access to the Stillwater Mountain Fire Tower except for the period from the second Tuesday in October through December 20th each year, selective clearing of trees around the Stillwater Mountain Fire Tower to enhance scenic views, the conduction of a survey to inform NYS DEC of visitor experience on the Stillwater Mountain Trail and summit, the retention of current snowmobile trails on the property, the construction of the Stillwater Mountain Spur Trail (0.7 miles), designation of alternative snowmobile trails to be used when trail closures occur due to winter timber harvesting, and the installation of an interpretive panel focused on forestry on the Big Moose Tract,” according to the bulletin. View a presentation on the proposed changes here: Public comments are due by Feb. 2 to or mailed to Matthew Nowak, Environmental Program Specialist, NYS DEC, 7327 State Route 812, Lowville, NY 13367.


Local government:

The New York State Association of County Board Chairs appointed Mark Henry, chairman of Clinton County, to be its president. Henry has served in a number of governmental roles including as a Chazy Central Board of Education member, town supervisor, county legislator and county chairman. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, a former police officer in Alexandria Bay and a former U.S. Border Patrol deputy chief.

Clinton County Chairman Mark Henry at a meeting of the NYS Association of County Board Chairs

Clinton County Chairman Mark Henry at a meeting of the NYS Association of County Board Chairs in September 2023. Photo courtesy of NYSAC.


“Chairman Henry brings a wealth of experience and leadership at various levels of local government and law enforcement to this new role and we’re very excited to work with him and all the county board chairs to further strengthen New York’s counties,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario, in a news release.

Photo at top: State Sen. Dan Stec, R-Queensbury and state Assemblyman Matthew Simpson, R-Horicon, at the 2023 State of the State address in the Assembly chamber. Photo by Gwendolyn Craig.

This first appeared in Gwen’s weekly “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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