This Week in Albany

Week ending October 30, 2015

Veterans’ Pension Buyback Bill Vetoed

For the second year in a row, Governor Cuomo has vetoed a CSEA priority bill that would allow all public employees with active duty military service to purchase up to three years of pension credit for their service.

CSEA will continue to look for ways to reduce the inequity in state law that only allows this benefit to veterans who served at certain times and in certain theaters of operation.

Federal Budget Agreement Reached

President Obama and Congress have reached an agreement on a two year budget deal. The agreement will:

  • Increase discretionary spending by $80 billion over the next two years, split evenly between defense and non-defense spending;
  • Raise the debt ceiling until March 2017;
  • Keep the Social Security Disability Insurance fund solvent through 2022; and
  • Prevent a drastic increase in Medicare Part B premiums that was anticipated for some enrollees.

The budget deal has passed through Congress and is expected to be signed by the President.

Paul Ryan Elected Speaker

Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) was elected as the 54th Speaker of the House on Thursday, replacing John Boehner (R-Ohio). Mr. Boehner will resign his House seat at the end of the month.

Election Day is Tuesday

Election Day is this coming Tuesday, November 3. Don’t forget to get out and vote for candidates who support our values.

A list of CSEA-endorsed candidates can be found here.

Flex Spending Account:

2016 Open Enrollment Now Through November 9, 2015

13 Days Remaining

If you are a NYS Executive Branch State employee and have been thinking about enrolling in the NYS Flex Spending Account to save on your eligible dependent care and unreimbursed health care expenses, NOW is the time to do something about it. The paperless enrollment process is quick and easy. Make sure you have your most recent pay stub available since you will need your NYS EMPLID, Department ID and Negotiating Unit code to apply. You have until midnight on November 9, 2015 to apply for enrollment for 2016.

If you need assistance with the enrollment process, please call 1-800-358-7202 and (press 1) or visit their website http://www.flexspend.ny.gov/.  Representatives are available from 7 am to 10 pm daily, and will be available until midnight on November 9, 2015.

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NYSHIP OPTION TRANSFER PERIOD

Dates to be determined:

Benefits eligible employees will have the ability to change their health insurance plan for the 2016 plan year. The annual Option Transfer Period will begin once the 2016 health insurance premium rates are approved. Please watch your mailbox and the Workforce for additional rate information.

FLEX SPENDING ACCOUNT

The 2016 open enrollment period will run from October 5, 2015 through November 9, 2015

“Health Care Spending Account” (HCSAccount – allows you to set aside up to $4,000 in pre-tax salary to pay for health-related expenses not reimbursed by your health insurance). Please note: Recent changes to federal law have affected some of the rules under which the HCSAccount operates. Before you enroll, carefully review the information on the Flex Spending Account website concerning restrictions on over-the-counter drug reimbursement, as this may affect the amount of money you wish to contribute to your account.

“Dependent Care Advantage Account” (DCAAccount – allows you to set aside up to $5,000 in pre-tax salary for eligible child care, elder care or disabled dependent care expenses)

If you are currently enrolled in one of the flexible spending accounts, you must re-enroll to continue your participation in 2016. For more information visit the following website http://www.flexspend.ny.gov or call 1-800-358-7202.

Mark your calendar! The Region One Holiday Party is approaching

This year’s Region One Holiday Party will be held at Chateau La Mer on December 3, 2015. If you’d like to attend, RSVP by November 20, 2015.

Holiday Party Flier

 

East Hampton Protest Demonstration

Local 852’s East Hampton Unit were joined by CSEA officers and local politicians as they demonstrated in front of East Hampton Town Hall. After a year of negotiations, talks between the town and the unit have broken down. CSEA members need and deserve a wage that coincides with the increase in the cost of living!

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Visit our facebook page to see more: https://www.facebook.com/csealongisland

 

 

Watch video from the 2015 ADM

CSEA will be “Freezin’ for a Reason” on November 21st

Join the Town of Brookhaven on November 21st for their 6th Annual, “Freezin For A Reason” Polar Plunge at Cedar Beach-Mount Sinai. Proceeds are going to raise funds and awareness for New York Special Olympics athletes.

plunge flyer - 2015

Federal Issues Report

AFSCME Legislative Weekly Report
Week ending October 23, 2015

Headlines include:

  • Debt Ceiling Must be Raised as Budget Talks Continue
  • House Votes (Again) to Guy Affordable Health Care Act
  • House Panel Advances Six-Year Highway Bill
  • House Passes Bill to Extend D.C. School Voucher Program
  • Senate Panel Explores Solutions to Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Crisis
  • Senate Rejects Anti-Immigrant Bill that Undermines Local Law Enforcement
  • New Bill to Improve Training for School Food Service Workers
  • Senate Committee Approves Smarter Sentencing Act

Continue reading…


This Week in Albany

Week ending October 23, 2015

OPWDD/OMH Hearings

CSEA testified at two legislative hearings held by the Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities this week.

The first hearing addressed the adequacy of supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities. The second hearing focused on the transition of behavioral health supports, including services provided by the Office of Mental Health and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, into managed care.

CSEA’s testimony focused on the need to maintain services as state facilities are closed, including ensuring that dedicated state employees continue to have a role in caring for these vulnerable populations. CSEA thanked legislators for fighting to keep psychiatric and developmental centers open, but stressed that there is still much work to be done.

Copies of CSEA’s testimony can here.

Elections

CSEA-endorsed State Senate candidate Fred Akshar is among those fighting against the state’s plan to close state facilities for people with developmental disabilities. Mr. Akshar has stressed the failure of the state to provide any real plan for needed services following the planned closure of Broome Developmental Center in 2016. The candidate has stressed that the doors of facilities cannot be closed until a plan is put in place.

Election Day in Tuesday, November 3. Click here for a list of CSEA-endorsed candidates and don’t forget to get out and vote for candidates who support our values.

Race for Speaker

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) has announced that he will seek to replace John Boehner (R-Ohio) as House speaker after many of his Republican colleagues agreed to support him. It is expected that the Republican conference will hold their vote for speaker next Wednesday, with a vote on the House floor expected on Thursday.

More Candidates Added to the CSEA Endorsed Candidate List

CSEA has been busy interviewing candidates, before the next election. From that, comes this new endorsed candidate list.

Region One Endorsements As of 10_21_15 2)Region One Endorsements As of 10_21_15