This Week in Albany

Week ending September 29, 2017

 

New Workers’ Compensation Proposals Would Harm Workers

The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has proposed new guidelines and regulations relating to compensation for workers injured on the job.

These new regulations would disadvantage injured workers by adding roadblocks and making it less likely that they would receive adequate compensation for on the job injuries. The changes would limit the ability of injured workers to offer evidence, allow injured workers to be interrogated outside the presence of their attorney, and would reduce awards for workers that lose the use of a body part.

CSEA has submitted comments to the Board opposing these new guidelines. Additionally, the New York State Assembly Committee on Labor held a public hearing this week where the New York State AFL-CIO raised similar concerns with legislators.

 

Another Health Care Bill Abandoned

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) announced this week that the Senate would not move forward with a vote on the latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act after the bill failed to garner the needed support among Republican lawmakers.

The bill was  officially scrapped  after several Republican senators, including John McCain (R-Arizona), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) declared their opposition. Republicans could only afford to lose two votes among their conference and still get a bill passed. The failure of this latest bill is good news for New Yorkers, as this proposal would have had a disproportionately negative impact on our state.

 

Tax Code Overhaul

President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans are shifting their focus to tax reform after their latest health care bill collapsed. This new tax reform proposal would severely reduce rates for both businesses and wealthy individuals, and would hurt the average New Yorker.

The tax overhaul plan being pushed by the White House and Congressional leaders would slash tax rates for corporations, repeal the Estate Tax, reduce the number of tax brackets, increase the rate for the lowest bracket, and double the standard deduction.

Of special importance to New Yorkers is the proposed elimination of the federal deduction for state and local taxes, including property taxes. New Yorkers account for 13.5% of all state and local tax deductions in the United States, and stand to lose billions of dollars if such deductions are eliminated. A report from Governor Cuomo estimates that the loss of these deductions would cost New Yorkers an average of $5,300 per year.

 

Con Con Fact

The Government Law Center at Albany Law School and the Rockefeller Institute of Government released a report this week titled One Hundred and Six Ideas for Constitutional Change: What Commentators, Scholars, Politicians, the Media, and Pundits Have Suggested Might Merit Consideration if New York State Holds a Constitutional Convention.

Some of the ideas that “might merit consideration” are the following:

91. Evaluate constitutional protection for public-employee pensions.

92. Examine whether pensions for State and local personnel should be capped based upon the base salary.


Southern Region endorsements for November election

The Southern Region Political Action Committee has endorsed the following candidates in the Nov. 7, 2017 election:

Dutchess:

Jim Coughlan – Dutchess County Comptroller

Pamela Kingsley – Dutchess County Legislature, District 5

Rebecca Edwards – Dutchess County Legislature, District 6

Joel Tyner – Dutchess County Legislature, District 11

Laurette Giardino – Dutchess County Legislature, District 12

John Forman – Dutchess County Legislature, District 16

Jerry Landisi – Dutchess County Legislature, District 18

 

Orange:

Steve Neuhaus – Orange County Executive

David Hoovler – Orange County District Attorney

Deborah Mulqueen – Orange County Clerk

Patricia McMillan – Orange County Legislature, District 3

Anthony Tarsio – Orange County Legislature, District 4

Stephen Hunter – Orange County Legislature, District 5

Myrna Kemnitz – Orange County Legislature, District 7

Janette McKay – Orange County Legislature, District 11

Kevin Hines – Orange County Legislature, District 12

Laurie Tautel – Orange County Legislature, District 14

Sylvia Santiago – Orange County Legislature, District 15

Mike Anagnostakis – Orange County Legislature, District 17

Roseanne Sullivan – Orange County Legislature, District 18

Michael Paduch – Orange County Legislature, District 19

James O’Donnell – Orange County Legislature, District 21

Andrew Green – Middletown Common Council, Ward 2

Sparrow Tobin – Middletown Common Council, Ward 4

Rod Winchell – Montgomery Town Supervisor

Tara Stickles – Montgomery Town Clerk

Susan Cockburn – Montgomery Town Board

David Stoudnour – Montgomery Town Board

 

Putnam:

Anthony Williams – Putnam County Legislature, District 2

Toni Addonizio – Putnam County Legislature, District 3

 

Rockland:

Maureen Porette – Rockland County Executive

Paul Piperato – Rockland County Clerk

Michael Sullivan – Clarkstown Town Supervisor

Justin Sweet – Clarkstown Town Clerk

Frank DiZenzo – Clarkstown Highway Superintendent

Frank Borelli – Clarkstown Town Board, Ward 1

Daniel Caprara – Clarkstown Town Board, Ward 2

Donald Franchino – Clarkstown Town Board, Ward 3

Patrick Carroll – Clarkstown Town Board, Ward 4

Thom Kleiner – Orangtown Town Supervisor

Dennis Troy – Orangetown Town Board

Tom Diviny – Orangetown Town Board

Michael Specht – Ramapo Town Supervisor

Yitzchok Ullman – Ramapo Town Council

David Wanounou – Ramapo Town Council

Fred Brinn – Ramapo Highway Superintendent

Alan Simon – Spring Valley Mayor

Mark Gomes – Suffern Village Council

Peter Bellin – Suffern Village Council

 

Sullivan:

Nancy Buck – Sullivan County Treasurer

Jim Farrell – Sullivan County District Attorney

Michael Schiff – Sullivan County Sheriff

 

Ulster:

Teryl Mickens – Kingston Common Council, Ward 5

Patrick O’Reilly – Kingston Common Council, Ward 7

James Rodden – Kingston Common Council, Ward 8

Deb Brown – Kingston Common Council, Ward 9

Paul Hansut – Lloyd Town Supervisor

 

Westchester:

George Latimer – Westchester County Executive

Tim Idoni – Westchester County Clerk

Nancy Vann – Westchester County Legislature, District 1

Kitley Covill – Westchester County Legislature, District 2

Daren Tolz – Westchester County Legislature, District 3

Ben Boykin – Westchester County Legislature, District 5

Nancy Barr – Westchester County Legislature, District 6

Catherine Parker – Westchester County Legislature, District 7

Alfreda Williams – Westchester County Legislature, District 8

Catherine Borgia – Westchester County Legislature, District 9

Damon Maher – Westchester County Legislature, District 10

Mary Jane Shimsky – Westchester County Legislature, District 12

London Williams – Westchester County Legislature, District 13

Gwen Dean – Westchester County Legislature, District 14

Ruth Walters – Westchester County Legislature, District 15

Mike Khader – Yonkers City Council President

Anthony Pagano – Yonkers City Council, Ward 6

Corazon Pineda – Yonkers City Council, Ward 2

Maeve Scott – Yonkers City Council, Ward 4

Dave Pagnelli – Yorktown Highway Superintendent

Veterans Day ceremony

Join the Long Island Region Veterans Committee at their annual Veterans Day ceremony on November 11. Take the time to honor those that have sacrificed so much for our freedom.

 

Veterans Day Ceremony 2017

This Week in Albany

Week ending September 22, 2017

Obamacare Repeal Resurrected

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has indicated that he will put a new health care overhaul bill up for a vote before the end of the month.

The new bill, sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) would potentially be even more devastating to New York than any of the other health care proposals put forward by this Congress.

The bill would dismantle most of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare/ACA) and turn large portions of health care funding into block grants to states while significantly reducing funding levels. Part of the changes to federal funding would be a redistribution of funds currently going to states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA to states that didn’t. This would hit New York especially hard, with the state expected to lose $45 billion in funding between 2020 and 2026, a 10% cut.

The bill would also allow states to significantly change what benefits must be provided on the individual marketplace and could allow states to opt out of the requirement that people with pre-existing conditions be covered.

CSEA has joined with a coalition of health care providers, unions, and others urging the New York Congressional delegation to reject this potentially devastating legislation.

 

Con Con Fact

While ballots will vary from municipality to municipality on November 7th, the constitutional convention ballot question will be Proposition Number One on the back of everyone’s ballot.

When you turn your ballot over, you will see:

“Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?”

 

Absentee Ballots

If you have a child in college, or will yourself be away from home on election day, don’t forget to apply for an absentee ballot so that your vote can be counted on Election Day.

October 31 is the last day to mail an application for an absentee ballot, or you can apply in person until November 6. Ballots must be postmarked by November 6.

Click here to download an absentee ballot application from the State Board of Elections.


Plans to Help Save on 2018 Health Insurance Expenses

Enrollees should start thinking about their expenses for next year.  Do you currently participate in the Flex Spending Account?  Do you currently participate in the Productivity Enhancement Program (PEP)?   If you don’t, now is the ideal time to obtain additional information about these cost-saving benefits as enrollment begins October 2, 2017.

The Flex Spending Account is a negotiated employee benefit for State employees.  There are two parts to the FSA; the Health Care Spending Account (HCSAccount) (medical, hospital, laboratory, prescription, dental, vision, hearing expenses, etc. not reimbursed by insurance or benefit plan) and the Dependent Care Advantage Account (DCAAccount) (childcare, eldercare or disabled dependent care, required for an employee or spouse to work).  Both are types of flexible spending accounts that give you a way to pay for your health care expenses or dependent care with pre-tax dollars.  Enrollment in the flexible spending account is voluntary – you decide how much to have taken out of your paycheck.

For more detailed information regarding the Flexible Spending Account programs, including eligibility, enrolling online and calculating your out-of-pocket expenses, please visit www.flexspend.ny.gov or call 1-800-358-7202.

Another program that helps to save enrollees money is the Productivity Enhancement Program (PEP).  PEP allows eligible full and part-time State employees to exchange previously accrued vacation leave and/or personal leave, in return for a biweekly credit, which reduces their share of the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) premium.

Eligible CSEA active State members can receive up to a $500 credit ($19.23 biweekly) or $1,000 credit ($38.46 biweekly), determined by salary grade and number of days forfeited.

Review the Planning for Option Transfer documentation and contact your Health Benefits Administrator, usually located in your personnel office, or, if applicable, the Business Service Center if you have questions or to confirm your eligibility for this benefit.

Choosing Your Health Insurance Option for 2018

New York State Active Employees:  It’s that time of year to start thinking about your 2018 health insurance options.

New York State typically mails the Planning for Option Transfer flyers to enrollees in late September.  The flyer describes the requirements and enrollment procedures for several benefits and programs, including NYSHIP health benefits, the Pre-Tax Contribution Program (PTCP) and the Opt-Out Program, if applicable.  This document is an important reminder and contains benefit and program deadlines.

If you are thinking of changing health insurance plans during the Open Enrollment Period, the NYSHIP Plan Comparison tool, available on NYSHIP online, generates an actual side-by-side comparison of Empire Plan and HMO benefits.  This tool can help you easily compare and contrast services, copayments, coinsurance amounts and special programs for The Empire Plan and NYSHIP HMOs.

The Comparison tool will be updated with 2018 benefits this fall, at the same time the 2018 Option Transfer Period begins.  To access this tool, visit the NYSHIP Online homepage at www.cs.ny.gov/employee-benefits.  Select your group and plan, if prompted, and then choose Health Benefits & Option Transfer; click on Rates and Health Plan Choices and the NYSHIP Plan Comparison.  Select your group (CSEA) and the counties in which you live and work.  Check the box next to the plans you want to compare, and click on Compare Plans to generate the comparison table.

Please watch for additional information in the Work Force as the option transfer period draws near.

“Freezin’ for a Reason” with the CSEA Crazies

It’s that time again! CSEA is preparing for another polar plunge at Cedar Beach, Mount Sinai. All proceeds from this annual event go to Special Olympics athletes. Even if you don’t want to plunge, you can always donate.

Cedar Beach polar plunge 2017

This Week in Albany

Week ending September 15, 2017

Legislative Update

Governor Cuomo signed 59 bills into law this week, but the vast majority of CSEA’s priority legislation has not yet been sent to the Governor. There are still 271 bills that passed both houses but have not been sent to the Governor.

 

Election Update

Primary elections for local government races were held throughout the state this week.

There may be multiple openings in the state legislature after several legislators won their Primaries, though none have resigned from their state legislative seats at this time. The list of possible vacancies includes:

  • Senate District 32, where Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. won a Democratic Primary for the New York City Council;
  • Senate District 37, where Senator George Latimer won a Democratic Primary for Westchester County Executive;
  • Assembly District 39, where Assemblyman Francisco Moya won a Democratic Primary for the New York City Council;
  • Assembly District 80, where Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj won a Democratic Primary for the New York City Council; and
  • Assembly District 107, where Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin won a Republican Primary for Rensselaer County Executive.

Additionally, Senator Phil Boyle (R-Suffolk County) and Assemblymembers Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) and Robert Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) ran in local races but appear to have been defeated.

The deadline to register to vote in the November 7th General Election is October 13.

 

Con Con Fact

The state constitution protects injured workers through the Worker’s compensation system. A constitutional convention could put worker protections at risk.


Hurricane Relief Concert

CSEA’s Long Beach unit is working in conjunction with the City of Long Beach to hold a hurricane relief concert on Sunday, September 24, 2017. Join them as they raise money for people that have been effected by the most recent weather events.

 

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Buffalo Bills offers CSEA members discounted tickets

Bills_Discount

WNY– Attention statewide CSEA members! CSEA and the Buffalo Bills are offering discounted tickets to all remaining home games for the 2017 season. The Buffalo Bills have implemented a new dynamic ticket pricing model for all Bills home games in the 2017 regular season that will adjust ticket prices to better reflect demand throughout the season.

As CSEA members and fans purchase tickets, the price of each individual game can rise or fall to better reflect the demand for tickets. Ticket prices may increase or decrease.

Use Promo Code: GPCSEA (case sensitive).  To buy tickets, you will need to have your CSEA membership ID handy and log onto our webpage here.

Games subject to flex scheduling
All games are currently scheduled for 1pm
All dates & times subject to change
Tickets subject to availability

For club seating, questions, season tickets, or to purchase over the phone please contact Mike Carroll at 716-312-8944.