This Week in Albany

Week ending May 26, 2017

CSEA Testifies at Child Care Hearing

This week, CSEA testified at a legislative hearing to examine the barriers to accessing quality child day care. CSEA’s testimony focused on expanding and protecting access to safe and affordable childcare for working families and investing in the childcare workforce.

Click here to read CSEA’s testimony.


Legislative Update

This week was an especially busy week in the State legislature, with multiple CSEA-supported bills moving in committee. CSEA issued support memos on the following legislation:


Pension Fund Grows

Comptroller DiNapoli announced that the New York State Common Retirement Fund posted an estimated 11.42% return on investments during fiscal year 2016-17. The total value of the fund grew from $178.6 billion at the end of 2016 to $192 billion at the end of 2017. New York continues to have one of the best funded pension systems in the country under the leadership of the Comptroller.

Special Elections

Democratic candidates won both legislative special elections this week. Brian Benjamin won the race in the 30th Senate District, replacing former Senator Bill Perkins, now a member of the New York City Council. In the State Assembly, Christine Pellegrino won the race for the 9th Assembly District, which was vacated when Assemblyman Joe Saladino was appointed Supervisor of the Town of Oyster Bay.


Trump Budget

President Trump released his 2018 budget proposal this week.

Over the next decade, the proposal would cut Medicaid spending by $800 billion, cut Social Security Disability Insurance by $72 billion, and slash the budgets of essentially every federal agency and department. Sixty-six programs would be eliminated entirely. To achieve the appearance of a balanced budget in ten years, the proposal depends on an extremely questionable assumption of $2 trillion in economic growth to be created by the President’s proposed tax cuts.

The President’s budget proposal would devastate many of the programs that CSEA members depend on in their professional and personal lives. Stay tuned for more information on the proposal as it becomes available.


At a Glance

State legislators will be in their home districts next week, and will return on June 5. There are 11 scheduled session days remaining in the 2017 legislative session.


Memorial Day

While Memorial Day weekend signals the unofficial start of the summer season for many, it is important that we remember the significance of Memorial Day. CSEA recognizes the memory of those who sacrificed their lives in service to our country so that we may enjoy our freedoms.

Enjoy a safe and happy holiday weekend.


New discount for Bronx Zoo & other NYC sites

BronxZoo

CSEA members are now eligible to receive a 20 percent off discount on pre-paid tickets to the Bronx Zoo and its sister properties across New York City!

This discount is eligible only for pre-paid tickets purchased via CSEA’s online ordering site, linked below.

The Wildlife Conservation Society is offering CSEA members this discount to its five NYC-area properties:

  • Bronx Zoo
  • New York Aquarium
  • Central Park Zoo
  • Prospect Park Zoo
  • Queens Zoo

Click here and then enter code CSEA to access our online e-store.

This Week in Albany

Legislative Update

Several of CSEA’s end of session priority bills have begun to move through the legislature, including the following bills that moved in committee this week:

  • S.2728 – Griffo: Increases penalties for assaulting an OCFS employee in a limited or secure facility.
  • S.2949 – Ritchie: Requires DOCCS to create a report on the staffing levels of both the uniformed and non-uniformed staff at DOCCS facilities.
  • S.3027 – Ranzenhofer: Prohibits sex offenders at OMH/OPWDD group homes.
  • S.4630 – Gallivan: Prohibits the collocation of the Western NY Psychiatric Center at another facility.
  • S.5681 – Ortt / A.7399A – Gunther: Codifies CSEA’s OPWDD care pilots in law.
  • A.2229 – Gunther: Requires a notice of closure to expire after one year and one month within OMH.

Additionally, the Assembly passed legislation that would give the Office of the State Comptroller authority to audit local development corporations (LDCs). Increasingly, LDCs are being used to finance the day-to-day operations of local governments. This legislation would provide critical oversight of the use of taxpayer money.

Visit the Legislative & Political Action Department’s website for more information on the legislation CSEA is supporting or opposing during the final weeks of the 2017 legislative session.

 

Comptroller Audit: Economic Development Reporting is Lacking

An audit released by Comptroller DiNapoli this week showed that the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) has failed to meet reporting requirements for its economic development programs.

ESDC’s audited financial statements show that it spent almost $2 billion on economic development grants and hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, tax credits, and other incentives between April 2012 and September 2016. But according to the Comptroller’s audit report, ESDC failed to complete more than half of the performance and outcome reports it was required to produce during those years.

The Comptroller’s report highlights the lack of public accountability in State tax credits and other job-creation programs. CSEA will continue to advocate for more transparency and oversight of economic development programs.

 

School District Budget Votes

Voters approved roughly 99% of school district budgets this week. With a tax cap of 1.26% for the 2017-18 fiscal year, 12 districts sought to override the cap. Three of those budgets failed to pass.

Thank you to all who supported our schools.

 

At a Glance

The legislature will be in Albany for three days next week before heading back to their home districts for a week. The legislature will then return on June 5 for the final weeks of session.


State Office Assistant/Stores & Mail Operations/Payroll Examiner Test Prep class planned

Education

Education

The CSEA WORK Institute has planned another test prep class for workers taking the upcoming NYS civil service exams for Office Assistant 3 titles, Stores & Mail Operations Supervisor, and Payroll Examiner titles.

Click here to download the flyer, which has more details on the class and contact information for enrollment. Please sign up ASAP, as classes fill up quickly.

We encourage you to print and post the flyer on your union bulletin boards, as well.

Space remains in Steward Workshop for May 23 & 24

Looking to step up in our union? One way to learn more about CSEA and work toward becoming a certified shop steward is by attending our Steward Workshop, scheduled for May 23 and 24 at the Southern Region Office in Beacon.

Space remains in this training, so please sign up ASAP. Whether you’re new to union activism or a seasoned leader, there’s good material for everyone in this training!

Click here to download a flyer with more information.

This Week in Albany

Week ending May 12, 2017

Legislative Update

The recently enacted 2017-18 State budget removed important reporting requirements for the START-UP NY program. This week, CSEA issued a memorandum in support of legislation (A.7427 – Schimminger / S.5985 – Boyle) that would reinstitute and expand those reporting requirements. CSEA has opposed the START-UP NY program since its inception, and New Yorkers should know whether their taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely.

Legislation that would give the Office of the State Comptroller oversight over local development corporations (LDCs) has made it to the floor of both houses. CSEA strongly supports this legislation (A.3047 – Magnarelli / S.4827 – Marchione), which will hold LDCs responsible to the taxpayers that fund their operations.

Legislation that would establish caseload standards for child protective services workers made it to the floor of the Assembly this week. This legislation (A.4049 – Lupardo / S.3146 – Golden), strongly supported by CSEA, has already passed the Senate.

 

Chair of Assembly Ways & Means Committee Won’t Run in 2018

Assemblyman Herman “Denny” Farrell (D-Manhattan), announced this week that he will not seek re-election in 2018. Farrell, who has served in the legislature for 42 years, chairs the Assembly’s powerful Ways and Means Committee. The Chairman has not indicated whether or not he will serve out the remainder of his term before stepping down.

 

Constitutional Convention Fact

The rights to join a union and collectively bargain are guaranteed in the state constitution. A state constitutional convention controlled by corporations and their lobbyists could eliminate this guarantee.

 

At a Glance

The state legislature will be in session for three days next week. There are 17 days remaining in the 2017 legislative session.

Southern Region One Day Conference draws new activists

Our Southern Region Education and Programs Committee members.

Our Southern Region Education and Programs Committee members.

Over 100 CSEA activists gathered Saturday, May 6, 2017 for the Southern Region One Day Conference, held this year at the Hyatt House in Fishkill.

The conference was open to CSEA members from across the Hudson Valley and Westchester. Workshops included: active shooter training, responsible social media usage, an update on the Justice Center, and an info session from the New York State and Local Retirement System. The day concluded with a plenary session featuring Southern Region President Billy Riccaldo and CSEA Legislative Director Joshua Terry, who discussed the current challenges we are facing on both the state and national levels.

Riccaldo welcomed all the first-time conference attendees, and extended thanks to the Southern Region Education and Programs Committee and CSEA staff for their help in planning the event. He said he hopes to increase the number of shorter trainings, allowing for greater accessibility for rank-and-file members.

A photo album from the event can be viewed on the Southern Region Facebook page.

This Week in Albany

Week ending May 5, 2017

Legislative Update

The Legislative & Political Action Department is actively advocating for legislation to benefit CSEA members while fighting against potentially harmful proposals.While there are only 20 days remaining in the 2017 legislative session, CSEA is hopeful that many of our legislative priorities will be addressed.

To see a list of the legislation CSEA has supported or opposed this legislative session, please visit our website. 

American Health Care Act Passes House

On Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), legislation intended to replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The bill passed by a vote of 217-213. All New York Democrats voted against the bill, while all Republicans with the exception of Dan Donovan (CD11) and John Katko (CD24) voted for it.

The bill will now be sent to the U.S. Senate, where its future is very uncertain. Any changes made to the bill will require it to be sent back to the House for concurrence. Depending on the changes made in the Senate, it could be difficult for the House to re-pass the bill.

If the AHCA were to become law, it would have a significant negative impact on health care delivery and financing in New York State. It is estimated that the AHCA would leave 2.7 million New Yorkers without health care, would cut $4.7 billion from the state’s Medicaid budget, and would cost the state at least $6.9 billion over the next four years. More specifically, payments to nursing homes would be cut by $401 million, home care payments would be cut by $360 million, and hospital payments would be cut by $355 million. Further, the bill passed by the House contains a provision that would allow states to allow insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums.

While the vote in the House is over, we are asking you to call your member of the House of Representatives.

If your representative  voted NO on the legislation, thank them for their vote. If your House member voted YES, call and express your disappointment that they voted in favor of stripping billions of dollars in Medicaid funding from New York State, and making it nearly impossible for people with pre-existing conditions to obtain affordable health insurance.

At a Glance

The State legislature will be in Albany for three days next week. June 21 is the last scheduled day of the legislative session.


2017 Legislative Memos

SUPPORTWorker Safety Issues

A.1532 – Gunther / S.3330 – Hannon: This bill would improve the quality of care in healthcare facilities by establishing basic staffing ratios for nurses and other direct care staff employed in acute care facilities, including all public and private hospitals, mental health facilities, nursing homes and correctional facilities.

S.1023 – Funke / A.1207 – Zebrowski: This bill would increase penalties for passing a stopped school bus.

Civil Service Bills

S.2516 – Gallivan / A.473 – Paulin: This bill would allow all counties the option of providing full pay and benefits for county probation officers who are injured on the job.

S.1850 – Ortt / A.6277 – Abbate: This bill would allow counties the option of providing employees who are engaged in correction officer duties a special 20 year retirement plan which would provide a benefit of one-half of final average salary upon retirement.  Counties could also elect to provide an additional benefit of one sixtieth of final average salary for each year of service in excess of 20 years, not to exceed 15 such years.

S.5593 – Golden / A.7602 – Abbate: This bill would eliminate the lifetime reduction of a pension payment when an outstanding loan is repaid in full.

State Workforce Bills

A.7396A – Gunther / S.5680 – Ortt: This bill would prohibit a state agency from decreasing full time equivalent (FTE) positions if more than 25% of their employees worked overtime the previous year.

Office of Mental Health (OMH) and
Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPDWD) Bills

S.4630 – Gallivan / A.6505 – Kearns: This bill would maintain the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center as a separate and distinct entity that cannot be collocated with another Office of Mental Health facility.

S.5681 – Ortt / A.7399A – Gunther: This bill would codify CSEA’s community-based care pilot programs that are operated by OPWDD.

A.2229 – Gunther / S.2836 – Ortt: This bill would limit the length of time that a notice of closure or significant service reduction is in effect. Currently law requires OMH to give 12 months notice, but there is no maximum amount of time that the notice can be in effect.

S.3027 – Ranzenhofer / A.3027 – Kearns: This bill would prohibit sex offenders from residing in a community residence operated or licensed by OMH or OPWDD.

Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) Bills

S.4574 – Marchione / A.6309 – Brindisi: This legislation would require OCFS to annually report the ratio of non-administrative staff to facility residents. In addition, this report must detail the number of employees who are out of work on workers’ compensation.

S.2728 – Griffo / A.2136 – Brindisi: This bill would make the assault of an OCFS secure or limited secure residential facility a class D felony.

Health Care Bills

A.3126 – Gottfried / S.2546 – Hannon: This bill would ensure that SUNY hospitals continue to receive Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) funding.

S.4536 – Helming / A.6234 – Skartados: This bill would increase payments to critical access hospitals.

S.5661B – Little / A.7763 – Gottfried: This bill would create the enhanced safety-net hospital program.

A.934A – Glick / S.1596A – LaValle: This bill would clarify that the State University Health Science Centers are included in the SUNY maintenance of effort provision.

Social Service Bills

S.3146 – Golden / A.4049 – Lupardo: This bill would establish caseload standards for child protective services (CPS) workers.

Child Care Bills

A.7726A – Jaffee / S.5929 – Avella: This bill would establish a Child Care Availability Taskforce. This taskforce will evaluate the cost, accessibility, availability, quality, and impact of childcare subsidies.

Corrections Bills

S.2949A – Ritchie / A.4064B – Jones: This bill would require the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) to develop a staffing plan to ensure that all correctional facilities are adequately staffed.

Local Government Bills

S.3632 – Phillips / A.4117 – Lentol: This bill would grant peace officer status to Nassau County Police Department Ambulance Medical Technicians (AMTs).

S.5704 – Phillips / A.7135 – Abbate: This bill would provide for a performance of duty disability retirement benefit for ambulance medical technician supervisors, ambulance medical technician coordinators, and ambulance medical technicians (AMTs) employed by Nassau County.

S.5778 – Alcantara / A.7601 – Abbate: This bill would codify and streamline existing practices regarding membership in public sector labor unions.

Retiree Bills

S.4324 – Tedisco / A.5210 – Abinanti: This bill would require municipalities to notify retirees at least 45 days prior to changing their health benefits.

Education / Library Bills

S.3021 – Ritchie / A.5811 – Quart: This bill would enable public libraries to access Employment Preparation Education (EPE) funds to provide adult literacy instruction.

Veteran Bills

A.3198A – Paulin / S.2911A – Croci: This bill would authorize paid time off for state employees that are combat veterans in order to obtain health care services related to their military service.

A.6416A – Abbate / S.5877A – Golden: This bill would allow all honorably discharged veterans to be eligible for civil service credits for appointments and promotions. Current law provides that only veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty during specific times or in specific theatres of war may receive civil service credits for their service.

Other Bills

S.3990 – Ranzenhofer / A.1311 – Rosenthal: This bill would expand the scope of public authority contracts subject to State Comptroller approval.

S.3984 – DeFrancisco / A.6355 – Peoples-Stokes: This bill would improve transparency and accountability in the State’s procurement process.

S.4827 – Marchione / A.3047 – Magnarelli: This bill would grant the State Comptroller statutory authority to audit local development corporations (LDCs).

A.7427 – Schimminger: This legislation would restore and expand reporting requirements for the START-UP NY program.

A.4083 – Abinanti: This legislation would ensure that the meetings of the Design and Construction Corporation within the Dormitory Authority are subject to the open meetings law.

 


OPPOSE

OMH/OPWDD Bills

S.4736A – Lanza / A.6830 – Weprin: This bill would require all mandated reporters covered by the Justice Center to call 911, the local county district attorney’s office, and the Justice Center to report all reportable incidents. CSEA does not defend the current operations of the Justice Center but this legislation would only make a bad situation worse and could lead to diminished oversight and protections for those with a developmental disability.

A.745 – Gunther / S.2941 – Hamilton: This bill would require all OPWDD facilities to install cameras at each of their entrances and exits. This is an unfunded mandate and would undermine residents’ privacy protections under HIPAA.

Insurance Bills

S.3484 – Golden / A.4786 – Joyner: This bill would prohibit prescription benefit plans from requiring that certain prescriptions be filled by a network mail order pharmacy.

Other Bills

A.1656 – Mosley: This bill would prohibit smoking on SUNY property. CSEA opposes this bill because smoking bans are a mandatory subject of negotiation for public employees.

S.2308 – Brooks: This legislation would require that a state monitor be appointed in the Town of Oyster Bay that would be authorized to unilaterally reject the implementation of collective bargaining agreements.