Senate Bill S614B spells joy for families with loved ones in nursing homes. It's the Essential Caregiver Act, which the governor has now signed into law. One of the loudest voices calling for its passage, came from Utica.
"I'm overjoyed. It came a little too late for my family and myself, but it's here and nobody else has to die," says Karla Abraham-Conley. Karla's mother died after spending several months in a nursing home, unable to see her family. Her family saw her every day prior to the pandemic.
"It does allow one to two essential caregivers to get in there and take care of their loved ones," says Karla. "So now we can feed them, we can help change them, we can socialize them. It is a great step."
The governor recently relaxed nursing home visitation guidelines, but Karla says the Essential Caregiver Act is different, and very much needed.
"So if another pandemic happens in a couple years from now, too bad. We're still essential caregivers. We're still gettin' in," says Karla. "It gives us some rights."
Karla has formed facebook groups, connecting hundreds of families. She's rallied in Albany, and helped create legislation. Soon, she hopes to make her voice heard in Washington, D.C.
"I've had members of Congress reach out to me," says Karla. "This isn't just about New York. New York suffered a lot but so did every ot her state across America. They've all suffered. They've all had deaths that were very unnecessary."