In January, Gov. Kathy Hochul vetoed a bill that proponents said would protect tropical rainforests against deforestation and degradation. 

Along with Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, Sen. Liz Krueger sponsored the "New York’s Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act,” which would have closed loopholes in an existing ban on the use of tropical hardwoods by New York state’s agencies and authorities. 

After the governor vetoed the bill, Krueger and Zebrowski went back to the drawing board, retooling the legislature as well as renaming it. 

The new version is the “Tropical Rainforest Economic & Environmental Sustainability Act,” also known as the TREEs Act. 

“This bill, which has already been passed by the European Union – so it’s perfect that New York state follow its footsteps and hopefully will be the first in this nation to go down this road, says we don’t want to buy products that come from the destruction of these tropical and boreal rainforests throughout the planet,” Krueger told Capital Tonight. 

The new version of the bill has been tweaked, Krueger explained, to address some of the governor’s concerns. For example, there is now an exemption for certification if the state has put out RFPs looking for certain products and there are no bids. The bill also creates a stakeholder advisory group and offers explicit exemptions for the Staten Island Ferry.

“(If the bill passes) we are very sure that other states will follow in our footsteps,” Krueger said.