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Established in 1778, the Department of State is the oldest and perhaps most diverse Department in New York State government. Long known as the “keeper of records,” it continues today to serve as the official compiler of state agency rules and regulations and publisher of information on the State Constitution, the Great Seal of New York and other official state documents. But, today, the Department has been re-imagined in the Cuomo Administration as a vehicle to help reinvigorate the State’s economy and make our communities more livable.

As the State’s planning agency, the Department is playing an important role in designing and managing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council process and is laying the groundwork for our communities to become more resilient in the face of future natural disasters.

The Department also makes strategic investments to revitalize communities and spur economic growth. Whether it is contributing to the development and remediation of the Gowanus Canal in New York City through our Brownfield Opportunities Areas program, maintaining the pristine nature of Lake George in upstate Warren County through our Local Waterfront Revitalization program, or expanding broadband in rural parts of New York through our Regional Commissions, the Department of State’s work benefits communities, assists local tourism efforts and the protects the State’s environment.

Strategic investments are also made to create opportunities for all New Yorkers. The Department oversees the State’s Community Action Agencies that provide services to address the causes of poverty. In 2012, the Department created the New York State Office for New Americans, which helps immigrants fully participate in the State’s civic and economic life.

Along with its role in economic development, the Department assists our many counties, cities, towns and villages. Whether it’s supporting a county unified Emergency 911 dispatch center, training local building code officials, or financing a dissolution plan of a village, the Department provides financial and expert technical assistance to local government to improve services and become more efficient. The Department also sets the State’s building construction and energy conservation standards and oversees the enforcement of the standards by local jurisdictions.

While the Department continues its traditional responsibility to promote business growth by facilitating business formation, the processes have been modernized and re-engineered to make it easier and faster for businesses to get off the ground. Meanwhile, applying for the more than 30 occupations the Department regulates, such as real estate professionals, security guards, and home inspectors, has been made easier to enable more of our New Yorkers to engage in these occupations.

The Department’s regulatory responsibility extends to boxing and cemeteries. The Department is home to the New York State Athletic Commission, which regulates professional boxing and wrestling contests. The Department also regulates the establishment and maintenance of burial grounds for the about 1,800 not-for-profit cemeteries and crematories in New York State.

From educating the public on marketplace scams prevention to advocating consumer’s interest before legislative and regulatory bodies, the Department of State protects the interest of New York State consumers. The Department also resolves thousands of consumer complaints through voluntary mediation between the public and businesses.

More recently, at Governor Cuomo’s request, the Department created the Empire State Fellows Program, which is a full-time leadership training program that prepares the next generation of talented professionals for careers as New York State policy-makers.