ALBANY—The state of our state is "perilous," Governor David Paterson said during his first such speech to a joint gathering of the legislature, as he outlined programs to improve public health and the environment.
– Paterson unveiled a new goal of having 45 percent of the electricity generated in the state from "clean and renewable sources" by 2015. He said the measure would produce 50,000 jobs. "We are going to have to make New York a more energy efficient and more energy independent state," he said. This would be done by converting public buildings to alternative energy sources, and providing incentives for homeowners. He also hoped that upstate New York could be the home of the development and manufacture of renewable energy sources.
– Building on his budget proposal to tax sugary drinks to fight childhood obesity, Paterson proposed banning trans fats in restaurants, requiring calorie postings in chain restaurants, and banning junk food sales in schools.
– He formally unveiled a program, leaked yesterday, to require private insurers to offer an extension of family health benefits to people as old as 29.
– He called for the creation of a statewide school-based curriculum reinforcing the message of acceptance and tolerance, in the wake of hate crimes in Syracuse, Brooklyn and Suffolk County.
Many of the policy priorities were released last month when Paterson unveiled his 2009 budget proposals. As expected, the State of the State contained some optimistic rhetoric, including a poem at the beginning.
"This is no time for fear, this is a time for courage. This is a time for action," Paterson said. "Throughout the centuries, New Yorkers have come together time and time again and learned to rise to the occasion."