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2024 CSEA Legislative Report

The 2024 New York State legislative session was a successful one for CSEA. In addition to achieving a significant reform to Tier 6 and new investments in the state and local government workforce in the FY2025 state budget, we also achieved several legislative successes prior to the Senate and Assembly’s adjournment for the year.

Below is a summary of key legislation passed by both houses, as well as a few bills that we successfully opposed. All the passed bills await Gov. Kathy Hochul’s action, which will happen before the end of the year.

If you have specific questions about these bills, please contact the CSEA Legislative & Political Action Department at (518) 436-8622.

Legislation Successfully Passed


The Legislative Oversight of Automated Decision-making in Government (LOADing) Act
S.7543 (Gonzalez) / A.9430 (Otis)
This first of its kind legislation aims to regulate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) within the public sector. Specifically, this bill includes groundbreaking employee protection language that will prohibit the displacement of state employees when a state agency uses an AI program or system. No other state has similar protections. In addition, this legislation would ban the use of AI for the delivery of public assistance benefits, which ensures that the delivery of these benefits remains subject to human review and oversight. The bill also requires impact studies be conducted before AI systems can be used to make consequential decisions.

Crediting Provisional Time for Promotional Exams
S.8557 (Jackson) / A.9386 (Pheffer Amato)
This legislation allows time spent by an employee in provisional status to count towards time required for a promotional exam if the employee becomes competitive in the same title without a break. This legislation will give CSEA members who were provisional the ability to take promotional examinations faster than they currently are able and grow their career in the public sector.

Age & Education Requirements for Civil Service Exams
S.8216 (Jackson) / A.8876 (Pheffer Amato)
This legislation allows individuals who are within 12 months of meeting the age or education requirements of a given civil service job to take an exam for that position. Current law requires a person to be within 6 months of meeting the age requirement. This legislation will allow prospective employees to get their foot in the door early, reducing the time they need to wait between meeting the job requirements and beginning a career in the public sector. Public employers will better be able to recruit students who are in their final year of a degree or education program and help fill the pipeline for critical public sector jobs.

Updating Civil Service Exams
S.8551 (Jackson) / A.9349 (Pheffer Amato)
This legislation requires the New York State Department of Civil Service to review and update civil service exams every five years. This will help ensure that exams remain relevant to the jobs for which they are seeking candidates.

§72 Hearings – Independent Hearing Officer
S.8960 (Jackson) / A.9932 (Pheffer Amato)
This legislation requires that the decision issued by an independent hearing officer for section 72 hearings be binding on the employer and employee. Section 72 hearings determine whether an employee can perform their job duties due to a physical or mental disability, not including one resulting from an occupational injury or disease. Current law allows an independent hearing officer to issue an opinion, but it does not require the employer to abide by the decision. This legislation will ensure that employers cannot cherry pick favorable decisions and follow all decisions from an independent hearing officer.

§72 Hearings – Information Sharing
S.8948 (Jackson) / A.9935 (Pheffer Amato)
This legislation requires that any communications from an employer to a medical officer conducting a §72 medical examination be provided to the employee and the employee’s authorized representative. Current law requires that employees receive written notice of the facts outlining the basis that the employee is deemed physically or mentally unfit for service by their employer. However, they are not required to be provided with any records sent by the employer to the medical officer charged with evaluating the disability claim against the employee.

30/55 Retirement for Uniformed Court Officers
S.5653 (Jackson) / A.5679 (Pheffer Amato)
This legislation would authorize Tier 6 peace officers employed by the Unified Court System to retire after 30 years of service if they are at least 55 years of age. This legislation has been vetoed previously.

Virtual Training for CPS Workers
S.6357B (Mannion) / A.7341B (Hevesi)
This legislation allows Child Protective Services caseworkers to complete certain training requirements, excluding the annual in-service training requirement, virtually, rather than in-person. This removes a costly and time-consuming burden on both case workers and their employers. In addition, permitting virtual trainings increases flexibility for caseworkers, allowing them to complete training at a time and pace that fits their demanding schedules.

Maximum Temperature in School Buildings and Indoor Facilities
S.3397A(Skoufis) / A.9011A (Eachus)
This legislation sets maximum temperature thresholds in K-12 classrooms. Under this legislation, if a classroom reaches 82 degrees, school administration must reduce the room temperature by turning on fans, windows, and doors to increase circulation, and turning off unused electronics and lights, among other actions. If a classroom reaches 88 degrees, the room can no longer be occupied for educational and support services.

Bullying Training for Public Sector Employees
S.3065B (Ramos) / A.8934A (Bronson)
This legislation amends the state’s workplace violence prevention law to require a risk evaluation and determination for abusive conduct and bullying in the workplace. In addition, it would require employees to receive training on how to identify and report workplace bullying and abusive conduct.

Employee Disciplinary File Notifications
S.5500B (Skoufis) / A.6146B (Buttenschon)
This legislation requires that public employers notify an employee if they receive a request for the employee’s disciplinary record pursuant to the state’s freedom of information act law (FOIL). While this legislation does not alter what documents are subject to a FOIL request, it will ensure that employees are at least aware when an employer is responding to such a request.

Expanded Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Mental Injury
S.6635 (Ramos) / A.5745 (Reyes)
This legislation prohibits the Workers’ Compensation Board from dismissing an employees’ claim of mental health injury caused by work-related stress solely because the injuries arose from “normal work” conditions. Under current practice, the Workers’ Compensation Board can dismiss an employee’s claim if it determines that the mental health injury was the result of normal work-related stress. This means that an employee may only access benefits if their otherwise legitimate mental health injuries are related to extraordinary conditions and stressors. However, for many CSEA-represented jobs, including emergency dispatchers, first responders, and others, “normal work” conditions are extraordinarily stressful. This bill will ensure that all employees can access workers’ compensation for legitimate work-related mental health claims and receive the treatment and care that they require.

IDA Labor Representative
S.4040 (Mayer) / A.7532 (Solages)
This legislation requires that every Industrial Development Agency (IDA) board include at least one representative of a local labor organization and one member of the local school board. This bill aims to make IDAs more transparent and responsive to the needs of the local community and workers.

Legislation Successfully Opposed


The Empire Act
S.541B (Hoylman-Sigal) / A.9012 (Simon)
This legislation outsources wage theft enforcement actions to private organizations. This work is performed by staff at the Department of Labor (DOL). Advocates of this legislation claim that it is necessary because the DOL does not have sufficient staff. We agree that the staffing levels must increase. However, the solution is not the privatization of this function, rather, it is for the state to hire additional staff to enforce these laws.

Removes Minimum Staffing Requirements for Local Jails
S.8438 (Bailey) / A.8444 (Fahy)
This legislation removes minimum staffing requirements in local jails and instead, allow sheriffs to determine each jail’s staffing needs. This would make staffing decisions more political and create unsafe staffing levels within local correctional facilities.

Oversight of OCFS Facilities by the Correctional Association
S.600 (Salazar) / A.7261 (Aubry)
This legislation authorizes the Correctional Association, a not-for-profit entity, to inspect Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) residential juvenile justice facilities and create a hotline for reporting abuse. The Correctional Association has a published legislative goal of closing juvenile correctional facilities, which compromises their ability to provide fair and unbiased oversight. Further, there are several organizations that currently monitor OCFS facilities, and reports of abuse and complaints can already be filed to the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs. Authorizing additional oversight and another reporting mechanism is duplicative, burdensome, and unnecessary.