This Week in Albany

Week ending June 24, 2016

Headlines include:

  • End of Session Summary
  • Congressional Primaries

Continue reading…


This Week in Albany

Week ending June 24, 2016

End of Session Summary

CSEA Priorities

In addition to the legislation included in last week’s “This Week in Albany,” CSEA was able to get several additional bills passed by both houses of the legislature, including:

S.6948A – Hannon / A.9476A – Gottfried: This bill would increase Medicaid payments to “enhanced safety-net hospitals.” These hospitals are ones that care for a disproportionate share of Medicaid and uninsured patients but could also include rural hospitals.

S.7120 – Golden / A.9715 – Abbate: This legislation would prevent the president of the New York State Civil Service Commission from denying or interfering with collectively bargained rights regarding health insurance buyouts.

A.9515 – Brennan / S.7112 – Golden: This bill would increase transparency and accountability within the $700 million Kings County Health Care Facility Demonstration Program. It would include requirements that DOH publicize how grants will be distributed and what metrics they would use.

Other Issues

Among the other issues that were addressed at the end of session were:

Pension Forfeiture

After an overly-broad constitutional amendment to strip public employees of their pensions was put forward last year, CSEA worked to ensure that public employees and their families weren’t made to suffer the loss of a constitutional right and their financial well-being in an effort to send a message about ethics reform for elected officials.

This year, each house passed a more narrow version of a pension forfeiture amendment that will focus only on elected officials, Executive appointees, managers, judges, and employees considered to be policy makers. The resolution will have to be passed by both houses again next year or in 2018 and then must be put on the ballot to be voted on by citizens before it can take effect.

Election Reforms

Legislation was passed to limit the coordination between candidates, political action committees, and independent expenditure committees. Furthermore, new provisions were put in place regarding the disposition of campaign funds when a candidate or officeholder dies, increased disclosure for lobbyists, and increased disclosure for 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) entities.

Heroin/Opioid Abuse

The legislature passed a package of bills to address the growing heroin and opioid abuse crisis in New York State. Among other things, the legislation will make it harder for insurance companies to deny coverage for required treatments and increase training for doctors and other professionals prescribing opioids.

NYC Mayoral Control

Mayoral control over New York City schools was extended for only one year. Additionally, the City will be required to publish a report on the funding allocated to each community school district twice per year.

Daily Fantasy Sports

The legislature agreed to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports, which had been determined to be a form of illegal gambling earlier this year. Companies offering daily fantasy sports games will be taxed at 15%, with the funds dedicated to an education fund.

Liquor Law Reform

Under these reforms, restaurants will be allowed to sell alcohol at 10AM on Sundays (currently restaurants can’t serve before noon), and would allow restaurants outside of New York City to apply for permits to sell from 8AM-10AM up to 12 times per year.

Congressional Primaries

Tuesday is Primary day for Congressional elections.

Democrats have Primaries in Congressional Districts 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 13, 15, 19, and 24.

Republicans have Primaries in Congressional Districts 3, 18, 19, and 22.

Click here to find out what Congressional District you live in.

End of Session Summary

CSEA was successful in advancing numerous priority bills that passed both houses of the legislature at the end of the 2016 state legislative session. Among these bills were:

S. 7160 Larkin / A. 9531 – Paulin (Chapter 41 of the Laws of 2016): This bill allows all honorably discharged military veterans who are public employees to purchase up to 3 years of additional pension credit.

S.2691 – Golden / A.10506 – Lupardo: This bill would establish workload standards for child protective services (CPS) workers.

S.426B – Marcellino / A.7763B – DenDekker: This bill would add vehicles operated by sanitation and recycling workers in the performance of their duties to the state’s “Move Over” law and/or require drivers to slow to an appropriate speed when passing such a vehicle.

S.7627 – Ortt / A.10557 – Gunther:  This bill would provide that a notice of closure or service reduction at state-operated psychiatric centers expires after 13 months so that employees and communities are not left wondering whether services will continue to be available.

S.6916C – Ortt / A.9620 – Gunther: This bill would require the Commissioner of the Office of Mental Health to provide the legislature with a quarterly report on the number of assaults on any staff member or patient in the state’s four forensic facilities.

S.7677A – Ortt / A.10409 – Gunther: This bill would require that the Commissioner of Health and the Commissioner of OPWDD develop and issue a report identifying the causes of the increasingly high vacancy and turnover rates for direct support professionals (DSPs) working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

A.10614 – Abbate / S.8071 – Murphy: This bill would create a performance of duty disability retirement for airport firefighters employed by the Division of Military and Naval Affairs who contract various ailments of the heart, lung or cancer and can no longer perform their duty.

S.6948A – Hannon / A.9476A – Gottfried: This bill would increase Medicaid payments to “enhanced safety-net hospitals.” These hospitals are ones that care for a disproportionate share of Medicaid and uninsured patients but could also include rural hospitals.

S.7120 – Golden / A.9715 – Abbate: This legislation would prevent the president of the New York State Civil Service Commission from denying or interfering with collectively bargained rights regarding health insurance buyouts.

A.9515 – Brennan / S.7112 – Golden: This bill would increase transparency and accountability within the $700 million Kings County Health Care Facility Demonstration Program. It would include requirements that DOH publicize how grants will be distributed and what metrics they would use.

Stay tuned for updates on these important bills as they become available.

Other Issues

Among the other issues that were addressed at the end of session were:

Pension Forfeiture

After an overly-broad constitutional amendment to strip public employees of their pensions was put forward last year, CSEA worked to ensure that public employees and their families weren’t made to suffer the loss of a constitutional right and their financial well-being in an effort to send a message about ethics reform for elected officials.

This year, each house passed a more narrow version of a pension forfeiture amendment that will focus only on elected officials, Executive appointees, managers, judges, and employees considered to be policy makers. The resolution will have to be passed by both houses again next year or in 2018 and then must be put on the ballot to be voted on by citizens before it can take effect.

Election Reforms

Legislation was passed to limit the coordination between candidates, political action committees, and independent expenditure committees. Furthermore, new provisions were put in place regarding the disposition of campaign funds when a candidate or officeholder dies, increased disclosure for lobbyists, and increased disclosure for 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) entities.

Heroin/Opioid Abuse

The legislature passed a package of bills to address the growing heroin and opioid abuse crisis in New York State. Among other things, the legislation will make it harder for insurance companies to deny coverage for required treatments and increase training for doctors and other professionals prescribing opioids.

NYC Mayoral Control

Mayoral control over New York City schools was extended for only one year. Additionally, the City will be required to publish a report on the funding allocated to each community school district twice per year.

Daily Fantasy Sports

The legislature agreed to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports, which had been determined to be a form of illegal gambling earlier this year. Companies offering daily fantasy sports games will be taxed at 15%, with the funds dedicated to an education fund.

Liquor Law Reform

Under these reforms, restaurants will be allowed to sell alcohol at 10AM on Sundays (currently restaurants can’t serve before noon), and would allow restaurants outside of New York City to apply for permits to sell from 8AM-10AM up to 12 times per year.


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This Week in Albany

Week ending June 17, 2016

Legislative Update

At the time of this writing, end of session negotiations were still ongoing.

Despite these ongoing negotiations, CSEA was very successful in getting multiple legislative priorities passed by both houses of the legislature this week. These bills include:

S.2691 – Golden / A.10506 – Lupardo: This bill would establish workload standards for child protective services (CPS) workers.

S.426B – Marcellino / A.7763B – DenDekker: This bill would add vehicles operated by sanitation and recycling workers in the performance of their duties to the state’s “Move Over” law and/or require drivers to slow to an appropriate speed when passing such a vehicle.

S.7627 – Ortt / A.10557 – Gunther:  This bill would provide that a notice of closure or service reduction at state-operated psychiatric centers expires after 13 months so that employees and communities are not left wondering whether services will continue to be available.

S.6916C – Ortt / A.9620 – Gunther: This bill would require the Commissioner of the Office of Mental Health to provide the legislature with a quarterly report on the number of assaults on any staff member or patient in the state’s four forensic facilities.

S.7677A – Ortt / A.10409 – Gunther: This bill would require that the Commissioner of Health and the Commissioner of OPWDD develop and issue a report identifying the causes of the increasingly high vacancy and turnover rates for direct support professionals (DSPs) working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

A.10614 – Abbate / S.8071 – Murphy: This bill would create a performance of duty disability retirement for airport firefighters employed by the Division of Military and Naval Affairs who contract various ailments of the heart, lung or cancer and can no longer perform their duty.

Stay tuned for more information on end of session legislation as it becomes available.

CSEA mourns Debbie Downey, longtime local president

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Debbie Downey, joining CSEA brothers and sisters in protesting the closure of the Hudson River Psychiatric Center.

CSEA is mourning the sudden loss of Debbie Downey, former longtime Taconic DDSO Local president, who died Monday, June 13.

Debbie, who retired in 2013, served on the statewide negotiating committee, on the CSEA Board of Directors and on the Southern Region Executive Board. She was active for many years on Southern Region committees, helping to plan CSEA region conferences and other events. Debbie was currently recording secretary for the Dutchess-Putnam Retiree Local.

Debbie was also an active community volunteer in her hometown of Amenia, working with the American Legion and the VFW. She is survived by her husband, children and five grandchildren. Visitation will be held Friday, June 17, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Hufcut Funeral Home, 3159 Route 22, Dover Plains. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place Saturday, June 18 at 11 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, 4 Lavelle Road, Amenia.

For more information, click here for Debbie’s obituary.

Westchester rallies for contract fairness

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CSEA members rally on Martine Ave. in White Plains outside the Michaelian Office Building.

CSEA members and labor supporters converged on downtown White Plains June 7 for two rallies highlighting Westchester County Unit members’ four years working under an expired contract.

Activists called on County Executive Rob Astorino to reach a fair contract with CSEA. Union leaders have said Astorino’s proposals would result in members bringing in less money, which they said is unacceptable in times of increased housing and utility costs.

Joining county unit members were CSEA activists from other units — including the City of White Plains, White Plains School District, Yonkers School District and Westchester Community College — and supporters from the Westchester-Putnam Central Labor Body and Communications Workers of America.

See more rally photos here.

Contract Update for week of June 6

Your CSEA team this week negotiated with the Governor’s staff on the following topics:             

• Article 14 – Employee Development and Training
• Article 15 – Safety and Health
• Article 33/34 – Discipline & Grievance and Arbitration Procedure
• Administrative Service Unit (ASU)
• Less than Full-time and Seasonal Subcommittee

The good news is that your team made progress in some of the subject areas referenced above with the state, but that progress is in the context of a full agreement.


Your team will be back next week fighting for a fair contract and ensuring that your rights are protected.


Thank you again for standing with us.

This Week in Albany

Week ending June 10, 2016

Legislative Update

There are only three scheduled session days remaining in the 2016 state legislative session.

CSEA’s priority bills have been advancing through the legislature over the past several weeks, and we will continue to fight for good legislation that will help CSEA members.

Please visit the Legislative & Political Action Department’s website for more information on some of our priority bills. 

Additional issues under discussion include addressing the state’s heroin/opioid crises, legalizing daily fantasy sports and/or online gaming, allowing for ridesharing (like Uber and Lyft) upstate, and ethics reforms.

Presidential Primaries

Hillary Clinton became the presumptive Democratic nominee for President this week, becoming the first woman to ever secure a major party’s nomination for the country’s highest office.

While Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has not yet dropped out of the race, the only Democratic Primary that remains is that of Washington, D.C., which will award a total of only 20 delegates.

CSEA has endorsed Mrs. Clinton in a race that will have two New Yorkers vying to become President, an office that no one from this state has held since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Legislative Retirements

In recent weeks, Assemblymembers Jim Brennan (D-Brooklyn) and Phil Goldfeder (D- Rockaway Park) have announced that they will not seek re-election in 2016.

Additionally, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville) has announced that he will run for the 49th State Senate District seat being vacated by retiring Senator Hugh Farley (R-Niskayuna).

This Week in Albany

Week ending June 10, 2016

Headlines include:

  • Legislative Update
  • Presidential Primaries
  • Legislative Retirements

Continue reading…