On June 8th, in the final week of legislative session, the New York State 250th Commemoration Act, passed both the New York Senate and Assembly.
The bill, which passed unanimously in both houses and now awaits the signature of Governor Andrew Cuomo, would create the New York State 250th Commemoration Commission to create a plan to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution and founding of the United States (the Semiquincentennial, July 4, 2026), and establish a 250th Commemoration Commission Fund.
The act was sponsored by Senator Shelley B. Mayer and Assemblymember Carrie Woerner, and is part of a national effort to commemorate the founding of the United States.
The bill creates a thirteen-member commission co-chaired by the Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Commissioner of the Department of Education, or their designees, and includes the New York State Historian as well as stakeholders from across the state with knowledge of history, historic preservation and tourism. The commission is expected to support and facilitate local efforts by heritage organizations, municipalities and others in commemorative planning and programs.
There is a focus on the narratives and ensuing struggles of women, people of African descent and indigenous people, whose freedoms and rights after the American Revolution were far from complete.
The fund’s creation is necessary for the state to be eligible to receive funds from the federal Semiquincentennial Commission, created in 2016, and the America250 Foundation, the official nonprofit partner and operational arm of the United States Semiquincentennial Commission.
Earlier this year, Senator Mayer secured $50,000 in the 2021-2022 New York State budget for a commission to commemorate the 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution.
The legislation also includes a commitment to economic development through active support for heritage tourism and other local business initiatives.
The full text of the 250th Commemoration Act is available online here.
Photo of Senator Shelley B. Mayer and Assemblymember Carrie Woerner provided.
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